09/01/2012

INTERVIEW WITH PAUL STANLEY

INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA AND PETTERI LIMNELL

Legendary rock icons KISS are back with their new album MONSTER. The album, the 20th studio release in their long lasting career, is set for release in the middle of October through Universal Music. The follow up for the 2009 release SONIC BOOM includes 12 straight-ahead rock íní roll tracks and it features collaborations of all four band members: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. The band landed in Europe in early July for a brief promotional tour which included live shows in Oslo and London. We met a very cheerful Stanley in London prior to the bands sold out performance at the HMV Forum and discussed about MONSTER, Kiss Kruise, future plans, as well as many other interesting topicsÖ Read on!

THIS INTERVIEW IS RELEASED BY THE COURTESY OF THIS IS ROCK -MAGAZINE

THE MONSTER IS HERE

First of all, the MONSTER is finished and itís ready to roll, itís ready to go. How do you like the results at this point?

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís terrific. I mean I have said it so many time already, you know, the idea wasnít to make an album that sounded like we once sounded. It was to make an album that sound like we have never sounded. The idea of making of an album that is a retro albumÖ I wasnít interested of that. I wanted to make an album that has vitality and passion and thatís a great rock album. I donít want to make a great KISS album. I donít want to be judged by other KISS albums. Itís ok to judge KISS by KISS but itís also nice to open up the gates and say not how good is this compared to KISS albums but how good is this comparing to the albums that I love.

Actually, I got an advance copy of the album a while ago and now after several listens I would say that it really is all fresh, itís all new, it rocks, itís energetic and kicks major ass.

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís all we wanted it to be. Itís not a great KISS album, its great rock album. I think this is a great album. I didnít want us to make an album, some bands remember saying, ďOh, they are making an album that sounds like they didĒ. I wanted to do an album that sounds like we never did. Something thatís new.
INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA AND PETTERI LIMNELL

Legendary rock icons KISS are back with their new album MONSTER. The album, the 20th studio release in their long lasting career, is set for release in the middle of October through Universal Music. The follow up for the 2009 release SONIC BOOM includes 12 straight-ahead rock íní roll tracks and it features collaborations of all four band members: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. The band landed in Europe in early July for a brief promotional tour which included live shows in Oslo and London. We met a very cheerful Stanley in London prior to the bands sold out performance at the HMV Forum and discussed about MONSTER, Kiss Kruise, future plans, as well as many other interesting topicsÖ Read on!

THIS INTERVIEW IS RELEASED BY THE COURTESY OF THIS IS ROCK -MAGAZINE

THE MONSTER IS HERE

First of all, the MONSTER is finished and itís ready to roll, itís ready to go. How do you like the results at this point?

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís terrific. I mean I have said it so many time already, you know, the idea wasnít to make an album that sounded like we once sounded. It was to make an album that sound like we have never sounded. The idea of making of an album that is a retro albumÖ I wasnít interested of that. I wanted to make an album that has vitality and passion and thatís a great rock album. I donít want to make a great KISS album. I donít want to be judged by other KISS albums. Itís ok to judge KISS by KISS but itís also nice to open up the gates and say not how good is this compared to KISS albums but how good is this comparing to the albums that I love.

Actually, I got an advance copy of the album a while ago and now after several listens I would say that it really is all fresh, itís all new, it rocks, itís energetic and kicks major ass.

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís all we wanted it to be. Itís not a great KISS album, its great rock album. I think this is a great album. I didnít want us to make an album, some bands remember saying, ďOh, they are making an album that sounds like they didĒ. I wanted to do an album that sounds like we never did. Something thatís new.

I totally agree with you but I disagree with Gene who said that MONSTER is like ďmeat and potatoesĒ type of album because I think that this is the most versatile album you have ever doneÖ

PAUL STANLEY: I donít know. Everybody has an opinion about it. I just know itís a very, I would say a cohesive album. It feels like an album, it feels like every song thatís on there, belongs on there. It got a focus and a point of view. Thatís what I wanted the albumÖ I didnít want it to be a scattered... I wanted something that felt like a work, a body of work

Gene also said (again) that the album does sound like a mix of CREATURES OF THE NIGHT and REVENGE but I do honestly think that the album does sound different to anything youíve done so far.

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, I think thatís such a trap when we start going on ďOh, itís this one mixed with... itís notÖĒ thatís crazy. How could it be this mixed with that or whatever album it is? Itís MONSTER and it is its own thing. Itís the next step and itís a result of everything else we have done but Iím lost when, you know, someone starts saying itís REVENGE cross with this or LOVE GUN crossÖ thatís crazy.

I would say I 100 % agree with that and Iím really happy about how the new album sounds.

PAUL STANLEY: Good, good, good.

MONSTER is the number twenty in the KISS studio album catalog. At this point of your career, when youíve already reached almost everything, what kind of goals do you have with that album?

PAUL STANLEY: I would be lying if I say I donít want it to be successful. But I donít expect success. I succeeded because of the album I wanted to make. Would I like the other people to like it? Sure. Everybody wants validation. But if you try to second guess people ďWhat kind of album do they wantĒ and then you fail, you kick yourself and say ďI should have done it my wayĒ. I did it my way and whatever is going to happen is going to happen but I stand behind the album.

I bet that it would be a great thing for you to make it number one on Billboard since you got so close with SONIC BOOM three years ago, right?

PAUL STANLEY: That would be terrific. That would make me happy. Absolutely!

What does it need to get it done?

PAUL STANLEY: All it needs is for everybody to buy it at the same time. You know, thatís how youíll get the number one album.

This is a kind of old question but since SONIC BOOM was a great success, why did you have a ten year recording break between that and PSYCHO CIRCUS?

PAUL STANLEY: Because the band wasnít healthy for a while and we had to wait for the band to heal and get in to a good shape.

But you already had Tommy and Eric in the band for years?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, we were great and we got stronger and stronger and when we felt that it was time we went back in to the studio.

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THE DELAY OF THE ALBUM AND COMMENTS ABOUT NEW TRACKS

The album is now coming in October although itís been ready for a long time. Originally it was supposed to come out earlier, like in May. Whatís the reason for that delay?

PAUL STANLEY: The reason it didnít come out I mean it has been done for a while we wanted to have a different type of set up in terms of a distribution. We wanted to go with a label this time. So the legalities of working out a contract take a long time. So, you know, by going back to Universal with a company that has our whole catalogue so for a lot of reasons it made a lot of sense. Plus they were very ďCome homeĒ, very committed to the album. So had we wanted to do it a different way, we would had it out in May. But this made more sense and will make more sense. You know doing the Wal-Mart deal was great in one way but in another way if you didnít have a Wal-Mart near you or if you didnít have iTunes if you couldnít get it from iTunes so it was very limited how you could get the album. So, we tried that once and now we said letís do it this route. But Universal they very much wanted us back. And they have all these other albums so itís a good agreement.

I have now picked up few of my favorite tracks from the album. Would you say a brief comment about those ones?

PAUL STANLEY: Alright.

The first in my list isÖ ďTake Me Down BelowĒ.

PAUL STANLEY: A good tongue in cheek kind of a tune, you know, I tough that the album could use something of a little bit of humor in it but I wouldnít wanted the whole album of that I think itís a really cool relentless kind of a fun track.

For me, it kind of reminded ma about the SONIC BOOM track ďStandĒ in a way?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, itís nice to sometimes have a track where Gene and I both sing.

Right and next my list is ďShout MercyĒ.

PAUL STANLEY: I like ďShout MercyĒ a lot. I like a lot of what that song is, I like the passion of it, the pulse of it, the relentlessness. For me thereís like a tribal quality. I like it a lot.

How about ďEat Your Heart OutĒ? Thatís really a different KISS song, I would say!

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís a really good Gene track. You know, itís got a great chorus and the groove of it, the feel of it is really good.

And then thereís ďFreakĒ. Would you tell the meaning behind those lyrics on it?

PAUL STANLEY: You know, being a freak is like a state of mind, and in some ways itís no different than ďStandĒ. Itís a song about saying I am what I am. And standing up for what you are. Whether you have stripes in your hair, or your clothes are different you know this is all that I am and Iím proud of it. You know, one way or another we have always sing about that, believing yourself and being who you are. ďShout MercyĒ is just a really relentless, almost tribal sounding song. There are no week tracks on the album. Somebody might like one track more than the other, but hereís not any track on the album, when I listen the album, that shouldnít be on the album.

Does the songs somehow reflect your own personal life, your state of mind, mind settings or alike?

PAUL STANLEY: Well, itís certainly at the point where Iím very sure where I am and very comfortable where the band is. KISS is like an animal and at some point the animal may be sic and then you realize you must go to the doctor and doctor says this part needs to come out, this part is sic and you take this part out and it gets better.

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WRITING THE NEW ALBUM

Can you tell me something about the creating process of the album, how long did it actually take this time?

PAUL STANLEY: It really didnít take that much time at all. The funny thing is that the album has been done for a quite a while. Itís just that we decided to go with a major label and it took a long time to negotiate the contract. The album has been done a long time ago and it didnít take any longer than SONIC BOOM. So we had the album done for a long time. I think that if you spend too much time on something it loses its emotion and its passion. If it comes out perfect, thatís nice, but Rock n Roll album? I donít know whether it should be perfect?

So you should not necessarily ďover thinkĒ it. If it sounds good, it probably is good?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, exactly. It probably is good then.

Like SONIC BOOM, this album is a real team effort from you guys. I learned that even Eric Singer took part for the writing process this time, if he was, then it was his first time to do writing for the album?

PAUL STANLEY: I donít know. He had some great ideas and this was very much a team album, you know, we did very much us rehearsing together, playing together taking each otherís ideas. The band is better because everybody is contributing.

I learned that Tommy was co-writing something like eleven songs or something for this album?

PAUL STANLEY: I would have to look, I have no idea.

During the 80ís and 90ís you did most of the writing with outside people like Desmond Child, Diane Warren, Adam Mitchell etc. How it was different to work on within the band members only for this album and SONIC BOOM as well?

PAUL STANLEY: I think itís important that the band stay within the band to write. And one of my rules, when I said I would produce the album and everybody went along with the idea, no outside writers. Itís very easy to in some cases to have somebody to write a song for you and you put your name on it and you have very little to do with it or maybe youíre doing something else instead of writing songs. And, you know, you come up with the songs that really are not yours. I wanted to make sure that every song was worked on by the band. I have always included the band. I love Desmond, I love writing with him I love Diane, I love all those people. But the band is also different now the band has the ability to be completely self-contained. Maybe thatís why itís important that we do it like that.

You donít rule it out Ö to work with outside people in the future?

PAUL STANLEY: I think I do rule it out.

You have produced the latest KISS albums and your solo album by yourself. Is it easier to work when youíre having the full control for everything?

PAUL STANLEY: Yes. I didnít take that role on lightly. You know, I did it because I knew I could do it and because I didnít think anybody else could do it as well. I knew that the answer wasnít for the band to do it because there is no focus. Then everybody is doing it the way they think it should be. And then you have people getting songs on albums that may not belong on the album but just because they like them. So there is a responsibility but it makes it easier for the band. The band will tell you that the last two albums were just fun to make. Itís not a matter of being a dictator in a studio. Itís a matter being a coach, a captain, the leader, not telling everybody what to do but being the person that keeps the eye on the ball and the vision.

This current situation within the band must be very different compared to the 80ís when you were producing a couple of KISS albums as well?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, those albums wereÖ That wasnít fun because I was making KISS albums without KISS. Thatís not fun, itís not fair and I certainly would not do it again. Thatís why one of the rules was we will write as a band we will rehears as a band and we will record as a band.

Is all of the material on MONSTER brand new, or is there some old material used as well?

PAUL STANLEY: Itís all new. Iím a big believer that left overs are left overs for a reason. If it wasnít good enough for the last album why would it be good enough for this album?

I totally agree with you. However, it seems that there are bands which do use the old stuff on their new albums, like Van Halen?

PAUL STANLEY: Well, what other bands are doing I canít say, but for me, I want to know who you are today, I want you to write something today, from your experiences today.

I would like to ask about your writing methods. When youíre going to start working on new album, do you need some sort of special mental mode, mindset or something like that, or how you work it out?

PAUL STANLEY: No. Itís a project. Itís a task, so you do it. People who wait for an inspiration can wait a long time. The trick is to create an inspiration. You know, I have a job to do, it should inspire me.

Creativity is overrated, in certain sense?

PAUL STANLEY: Oh, Iím not going to wait to get inspired. Iím inspired every day.

So probably you are living the right kind of a life?

PAUL STANLEY: Absolutely, Yeah. I think so.

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THE ALBUM TITLE AND COVER

Whatís the idea behind the album title, MONSTER?

PAUL STANLEY: The album is powerful, itís monstrous, itís big and itís relentless. Itís a Monster in terms of its power and size.

I just found out that youíre going to use a band photo on the album cover. I heard that you originally had an artist painting the cover, was it Ken Kelly? Whatever happened to that project?

PAUL STANLEY: No. I didnít want the cover that looks like a cover from 30 years ago. This isnít 30 years ago. I didnít want somebody to thing that we are re-creating the past. And to make a cover like that is to make that kind of a statement. You know, we are not super heroes, weíre not fantasy, we are flesh and blood. We wear war paint, we wear makeup. That is part of our identity but to have us with swords or something crazy on the cover itís not us now, itís not (us) today.

Perhaps it goes well with the new album because itís all new and fresh?

PAUL STANLEY: Yes, I believe so.


PROMOTION, MONSTER BOOK AND MORE

You have now started the promotion of the album. Thereís a ďHell or HallelujahĒ single out, comic books, the MONSTER book, this promotional show, and tons of interviews to do here in U.K. Do you have plans to do some more promotional activities for the album in the near future?

PAUL STANLEY: I donít think so. We will do ďThe TourĒ that starts in two weeks, I think, with Motley Crue on board but there is really not much more promotion that I know of?

What is the state of KISSOLOGY 4.... Is it coming out this year?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, yeah.

Do you have plans to shoot a promotional video for ďHell or HallelujahĒ?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, there is. Thereís been a talk about it butÖ there will be a video although I donít know when or what the approach will be, but there will be a video.

How about making a conceptual video this time? Itís been a long time since you last time did something like that?

PAUL STANLEY: I donít know but hopefully you donít see us in a fireman outfits or spacesuits, you know! ďLaughsĒ

Donít say that, it would be a lot of fun. Well, I canít hesitate to ask about the MONSTER book. Why on Earth you decide to release a ďlarger than lifeĒ size book which a way too expensive for any regular people to have?

PAUL STANLEY: Because itís not for everybody. Itís not for all the regular people, I know that. I know Rolls Royceís are not for everybody. Itís strange if the idea is that we can only put out of things that everybody can have. That reduces our ability to explore and do things we feel like doing. This book, this book couldnít be for everybody. Itís hand-bounded, itís 30 pounds, you know, you not going to go to a local book store and pick it up. Itís a specialty item, itís a collectorís item and those who can afford it and want it will buy it. Some people who cannot afford it wonít buy it. But thatís just the nature of things. At some other point of things, could there be another version of it? Sure, but it would be unfair for us to say oh no, if everybody canít afford it you shouldnít do it.

You did release the book with ten different covers with selected countries flags on it. How did you actual decide which flags to use and which were left off?

PAUL STANLEY: Actually I think that the company that we work with suggested these. So it wasnít anything from us. These are the ones that they suggested.

Right, I was actually thinking that maybe you just would choose the top 10 countries which had the greatest number of people in KISS KRUISEÖ ďLaughsĒ

PAUL STANLEY: Oh my goshÖ That wouldíve been interesting way to do it.

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NEW TOUR AND SET LIST

The new single has been doing extremely well on iTunes and it was the most downloaded song in the latest Amazon. I heard that youíre going to play it tonight at the Forum?

PAUL STANLEY: Aha, yes.

Once ďThe TourĒ starts in two weeks, do you have plans to add some more MONSTER tracks on the set then?

PAUL STANLEY: No, because the album wonít be out. We have been in enough trouble to figure out what to play, you know, from our old tunes, so if we were to add something we would have to take something out. How come we could add something people donít know?

With MŲtley Crue, are you going to do a full set or a shortened one since itís a co-headline tour?

PAUL STANLEY: It will be the same thing we did with KISS/Aerosmith. It will be a full show like we did with Aerosmith.

So you both are doing something like 75 minute shows?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah

When will the actual ďMonsterĒ tour start?

PAUL STANLEY: Well, ďMonsterĒ tour will not happen for a while. First we will do our 40 plus shows in America. Weíll have Motley Crue with us and we have a whole new stage, you know, we have been using the same stage for a while although it has been modified and updated for a quite a while so itís a brand new stage.

Would you tell something about the new stage?

PAUL STANLEY: Itís pretty cool. Itís just a pretty cool stage and doesnít look like the one we have had for a quite some time. And you know, lots of new technology, but you know its KISS, itís our point of view, itís how we do things.

Will you use that new one on ďThe TourĒ already?

PAUL STANLEY: In some form yeah.

But there be further modifications when the actual ďMonsterĒ tour starts?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah.

Back in the day when e.g. CREATURES OF THE NIGHT and LICK IT UP came out you played like 4-5 songs out of them. At this stage, do you already have an idea about how many MONSTER songs you are going to play?

PAUL STANLEY: I donít know. We havenít even started to think about it and the album is not going to be out for a while. Let us see? Itís very difficult because people also want to hear the songs they love. You can only play for so long. Itís always a challenge to figure out what to play. And also, the bigger the album is the more you play from it.

But nowadays when records do not really sell like they sold back in the good old days, how can you tell whether the album is great or not? I mean, if the numbers are the only thing that mattersÖ itís just not fair, I think?

PAUL STANLEY: Ok, thatís a good point and thatís I guess where we get feedback from the fans.

When you did the ďAlive 35Ē tour, were you sure that the majority of the fans were familiar with the songs that you played, like ďSheĒ, ďWatching YouĒ and ďRock BottomĒ? Some might consider songs like these obscure?

PAUL STANLEY: But those are not obscure songs. Those are from KISS ALIVE! and KISS ALIVE! is the biggest album of ours.

So you were happy to go out with this whole theme?

PAUL STANLEY: Sure.

Well, are we going to hear more of the 80ís songs in the Monster tour? Iím asking this because last time you added ďCrazy, Crazy NightsĒ and ďGod Gave Rock ín Roll to YouĒ to set list and people went nuts.

PAUL STANLEY: I donít know. Itís hard to talk about it yet. You know, tell me about the tour after this tour, we are two tours awayÖ But, yeah, Iím not quite sure what. But we will figure it out.

KISS was extremely popular in Europe in 80ís and especially in Scandinavia, say, between 1984 and 1988. How well you were aware of your popularity in here back then?

PAUL STANLEY: Sure I was aware. And I love Scandinavia. I love Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen.. Scandinavia is terrific.

Scandinavia has always been very good for KISS.

PAUL STANLEY: Yes, thatís true.

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THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF KISS

On the January of 2013, which is like six months away, the band will celebrate its 40th anniversary. What are you going to do then?

PAUL STANLEY: Wow. We will do what we do; play. ďLaughsĒ

Do you have any special things or shows etc planned to celebrate the anniversary?

PAUL STANLEY: I donít believe so, although... In matter of a fact there is some talk about some special shows for the 40th anniversary.

But thereís nothing in the paper yet?

PAUL STANLEY: Well, it would involve Tommy, Eric, me and Gene and it will be the celebration of the band, our survival and our history. Thatís all. We will be celebrating for the 40th year of the band.

WellÖ That was the answer for the questionÖ

PAUL STANLEY: Absolutely, yeah. We would be celebrating 40 years of KISS, not 40 years of any particular people, the band is the celebration.

So at this stage, thereís nothing more to tell about it yet?

PAUL STANLEY: I canít say more yet.

KISS KRUISE

In late October, thereís going to be the second KISS KRUISE. How did you like the first KRUISE and what can fans expect from this one?

PAUL STANLEY: It was great. This year itís going to be more fun. There will be more things going on. Last year was the first one so we didnít know quite what to expect but it was terrific. This time it will be so much better.

The first KISS CRUISE, which was by the way amazing, the fans loved that you shook up the set list the way you did!

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah, but you have to remember that when we play for a bigger places we play for the bigger crowds and the people on the Kruise are die-hards. You can do something special for the die-hards that would not be appreciated by the masses. You can do things in a KISS Kruise we canít do in an arena because those people wouldnít appreciate what we are doing.

So there be more surprises on the set list to come on next KRUISE?

PAUL STANLEY: Iím sure, yes, but I canít tell you what.

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THE END OF STORY

Paul, it has been 40 years of KISS soon. Youíve done 20 studio albums and you have been doing pretty much everything there is to do in music business. You have seen it all, ďbeen thereĒ and ďdone thatĒ. You have done some acting, youíve done opera, you do paint, you are a father of four kids and so onÖ so what makes Paul Stanley going on?

PAUL STANLEY: I love life. Every day is an adventure. We donít know what life holds for us, we donít know what the future is and as much as we may like to plan, life happens. And while we are making plans life is happening. So Iím just waking up every day to my plans, but Iím also open to see what the other day holds for me.

Itís been a great life so far.

PAUL STANLEY: It has been amazing.

Have you ever been considered to write a book about your life?

PAUL STANLEY: Yes, there will be an autobiography out next year.

Wow! Thatís big news and the fans are looking forward to it. This is a bit personal question but if someone would say that you are nowadays a very private person how would you comment?

PAUL STANLEY: I have always been a very private person and havenít change in that sense.

There are lots of good things coming from KISS camp but thereís different news as well since Gene last week announced that this album and upcoming tour will definitely be the last ones by the bandÖ

PAUL STANLEY: Who said that?

Gene did say that.

PAUL STANLEY: If Gene told you your skin is green itís up to you... I never heard that?

That was in the newspapers in Norway last week, I think?

PAUL STANLEY: Really? Thatís news to me.

Maybe it was just a rumor or then something had been taken out of context?

PAUL STANLEY: Yeah.

But itís still great hear that itís not true?

PAUL STANLEY: No.

Itís time of the last question, here and it goesÖ how about the KISS version number 2? Will there ever be such a thing or have you given up for that idea?

PAUL STANLEY: There wonít be KISS number 2. There will just be a continuation of KISS, and should. KISS will continue forever.
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