Thursday, February 22, 2018

KISS hit Victoria, journalist eyes Paul Stanley from audience

July 6, 2013 by Greg Pratt, editor-in-chief

When KISS played the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena recently, what I really wanted was to get some time to sit down and talk face to face with singer/guitarist Paul Stanley. I even went so far as to jokingly put together a moderately successful online petition (hey, 57 people signed, not bad, if you’re asking me) to help make it happen. But it didn’t happen; management said no, and I was left watching the show, dreams thwarted, still having the time of my life.

KISS know what they’re doing. They played the hits. They played a few new songs that people pretended to enjoy; they pulled out “War Machine,” a killer kinda-deep cut. They’ve been doing this for so long it’s impossible to think of anything negative to say about it that isn’t glowingly obvious. They know what they’re doing, and they did it perfectly this night, just like the night before, and the night after. KISS put on one of the best, most fun and enjoyable concerts in rock music; they did in Victoria and they will continue to.

But, to you, Paul Stanley, I say this: I really wanted to sit down and look you in the eye, and I wanted to have a conversation as two grown men. I wanted to ask what you think of the fact that other grown men consider you a god when you sing kinda buffoon-ish rock songs while wearing funny makeup for a living. I wanted to ask what it’s like living in the shadow of a man like Gene Simmons.

Paul Stanley, I wanted to ask about your art, about your musicals; I find this fascinating, that a rock star has this side to him but it’s so rarely discussed.

Paul Stanley, I wanted to talk about the dark spots in KISS’ past, but I know you don’t like talking about that too much. I’m sorry, but I find it extremely interesting; I wanted to ask about how you’re so proud about the current incarnation of KISS but how I don’t really think many people really have too much interest in the current incarnation of KISS. I understand that line of questioning makes you a bit upset, but it’s what would have happened.

You see, Paul Stanley, when I was a kid I was one of those guys who thought you were a god. I don’t anymore. You seem nice, and you seem down to earth, and I kinda feel bad that you have to deal with being in a band with Gene Simmons. I wanted to talk about that.

KISS - green 2011

Paul Stanley, I would have liked to have told you about the kinda embarrassing collection of KISS stuff I had as a kid. I would have liked to have told you about how listening to your records when I was a kid totally informed my music listening choices for the rest of my life. I would have liked to have told you about how I spent hours wondering why the spines of some of the lesser-loved albums in my KISS cassette collection were yellow (imports, I guess, because no one in North America wanted stuff like Unmasked).

When it all comes down to it, Paul, I’m not really a KISS guy anymore. I mean, some great albums back in the day, yes. And some very underrated ones later (I actually kinda love Unmasked). Saw you play once, when you were touring Revenge, which was the last album you made that had any songs on it that I could actually remember. It was a really good album, and I would have liked to have talked about that briefly. But, yeah, I’m not really a KISS guy anymore. You know, the makeup, Gene Simmons, the endless selling of absolutely anything you guys can possibly think of selling (I would have asked about how you can sleep at night, and that would have been awkward)… it’s all a bit much for a 36-year-old man to handle. But, man, if it wasn’t for KISS, my life would be drastically different than it is today, so I wanted to thank you for that.

I wanted to ask about how you’re actually transcending being a rock band and how one of you said once that when you’re all dead and gone you want four other dudes to be behind the make-up, being KISS (at least I think one of you said that; maybe I made that up, feel free to use that). It’s like you’re almost immortal, and you’re just a guy who sings rock songs about being in a rock band.

And, Paul Stanley, I wanted to ask you what it is I really ask all wildly successful rock stars: are you happy?

Maybe next time. Until then, thanks for finally coming to Victoria and putting on a kick-ass, classic rock show, filled with insane pyro, silly stunts, and timeless tunes. Come back any time.

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6 Responses to “KISS hit Victoria, journalist eyes Paul Stanley from audience”
  1. GEORGIE DOLL says:


  2. Boogie says:

    Well, thats 4 minutes of my life I’ll never get back…

  3. Darryl says:

    Greg, I really liked your article. The few comments found here are just the tip of the iceberg as to the response on some KISS fan-sites; you’re really getting put in the grinder. I, on the other hand, related to your letter. I found your letter sincere. I thought it brave. Really, I think our KISS experience has some similar qualities. Been a fan since ’76 myself. Guess I was a part of the KISS Army expansion after “Alive!”. I was six years old. You will remember, KISS wasn’t presented to us at that time as simply a band,…no KISS were positioned as Super Heroes. Accepting KISS and being a fan in the ’70’s meant going against the grain. To be a KISS fan meant being prepared to be ridiculed, outcast, left alone by people at large. Within the KISS Army we were strong, outside of it, we were the joke. KISS wasn’t one dimensional, it wasn’t about the music, it wasn’t about anyone thing. KISS was delivered to us as a package. It affected many parts of our life, and you had to accept them all or none at that time. I think your words stem from being one part of this period of KISStory. I think only fans who were also one part of this period understand where your words originate from. It’s obvious you continued to follow KISS in the ’80’s outside of the make-up years. This puts you again in a select category many KISS fans today don’t understand. I understand Greg why you feel you could have a conversation with Paul Stanley, we the remaining diehards, after the KISS peak were called upon by the band to remain and to remain loyal at that. It was almost like we were asked personally to stay, we were after all ‘family’. In most music books, KISS simply didn’t exist after the make-up came off or the original group broke up. It only existed to the ‘family’, the remaining KISS Army ‘members’. Your words tell me you were one part of this group. Your words echo words I have heard and thought about. Somehow and in some strange way, being a KISS fan become something more then it should’ve been. It’s what the band demanded from us. It’s a twisted hero worship that doesn’t exist anywhere else I’m aware. It appears you’re trying to find a boundary as to where KISS stands in your life, I know because I’m at that same place. It’s almost of if, we were hooked on KISS young enough to not understand what being an addict was. You almost couldn’t be a KISS fan you had to be a fanatic. I think the band has forgotten how they built their army. It’s almost like we’ve been turned against or they don’t want to address anyone from that period, because we know just a little too much. We could ask the questions that nobody wants to address. We have the power to expose a truth that is hidden to the new wave. It’s like we’ve been left at the front. I could probably ramble on for hours, but perhaps we’ll meet at theS tour and discuss further. In any event, I was happy that your article spoke from a place that I recognized; from one KISS Army member to another.

  4. Dave says:

    This sounds more like a whiny child complaining that he didn’t get his way. You say you really “aren’t a Kiss guy anymore”, yet you complain about being told you aren’t important enough to talk to Paul. Neither am I. Neither are a LOT of other people. A nice review of the show would have been good, but instead you just sound bitter for the whole article. Why WOULD Paul want to talk to a guy who can’t remember the names of songs on ANY of the albums they put out in the last 21 years? Revenge is seriously the last album you paid attention to? You’ve missed out on a lot of good stuff since then.

    Sorry you didn’t get to talk to Paul. Neither did thousands of other fans who were there (though I hesitate to call you a fan). But your article comes off more as a rant from a bratty toddler who didn’t get his way than from someone who is supposed to be a professional writer.

  5. Derek says:

    Boy, this sounds so whiney, angry, entitled and hurt. You sound like a girlfriend trying to find out why your boyfriend dumped you…20 years ago. Move on, man. You want to sit down and “look him in the eye” and have a conversation “as two grown men” and find out if he’s happy? You want to ask if he can sleep at night? lol. Oh boy. This is like reading a jilted girlfriend’s diary after her boyfriend has not only dumped her, but moved on and thrived…with 20 other girlfriends.

  6. frank says:

    you are me. i´m a bit scared now…