06/19/2014

UTAH CONCERT PREVIEW: KISS, DEF LEPPARD

Excerpted from an article by David Burger | Special to The Salt Lake Tribune

KISS, opening its national tour at Usana Amphitheatre on Monday, has become known as much for its music as the characters its members embody with black-and-white faces: Starchild, The Demon, Spaceman and Catman.

Paul Stanley (KISS’ Starchild, lead singer and guitarist) & Vivian Campbell (guitarist for KISS’ opening act, Def Leppard) talked to The Tribune about the past and the future, including something deathly serious.

KISS and Def Leppard

This has been an important year for KISS, which is celebrating its 40th year as a band and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. KISS perhaps claimed the distinction of being one of the most unimpressed members of the feted club.
Excerpted from an article by David Burger | Special to The Salt Lake Tribune

KISS, opening its national tour at Usana Amphitheatre on Monday, has become known as much for its music as the characters its members embody with black-and-white faces: Starchild, The Demon, Spaceman and Catman.

Paul Stanley (KISS’ Starchild, lead singer and guitarist) & Vivian Campbell (guitarist for KISS’ opening act, Def Leppard) talked to The Tribune about the past and the future, including something deathly serious.

KISS and Def Leppard

This has been an important year for KISS, which is celebrating its 40th year as a band and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. KISS perhaps claimed the distinction of being one of the most unimpressed members of the feted club.

Stanley, in a conference call with other media outlets, called the Hall of Fame "a mosquito buzzing around my ear," in part because for so long the so-called rock establishment (led by critics) disrespected KISS for being a cotton-candy diversion. And once KISS was inducted, the Hall of Fame insisted that Stanley and fellow founding member Gene Simmons play with co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, who have left the band. Stanley and Simmons refused, and KISS ended up not performing at the ceremony, though all four original members were on hand to collect their kudos.

"We stick to our guns and do what we believe in," Stanley said.

Stanley said sticking it to the critics by being inducted into the Hall of Fame has its rewards, though. "It was vindicating, and it was vindicating for the fans," he said of his beloved KISS Army. "There’s no army like a volunteer army."

Unlike fellow makeup-wearing Mötley Crüe, KISS isn’t planning on retiring any time soon. "We are here to do a victory lap, but the race isn’t over," said Stanley. "There are many more races."

He added: "Nobody can be KISS."

For Vivian Campbell, 51, celebrating his 22nd year as guitarist in Def Leppard, this summer tour also marks a significant time in his career.

Campbell battled cancer into remission last year, but the disease recently reappeared. He has restarted chemotherapy and will be enduring treatments that will overlap with the tour with KISS.

He said last year, when he was first told he had cancer, his bandmates offered to cancel their 2013 tour. "I said, ‘Stop that s---.’ "

Despite the grueling treatment, he never missed a show.

He said he felt the same way this time around. "There is nothing worse than sitting around the house when you have cancer," he said. "I try to keep positive."

If this round of chemotherapy does what it is supposed to do, Campbell will undergo a stem-cell transplant this fall.

In the meantime, he said his mission this summer is to win over KISS fans as the opener, an unaccustomed spot in the lineup for Def Leppard. But Campbell said, "There’s no way we could follow up that spectacle [if KISS opened for us]."
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