KISS (Paul Stanley)

Not an autocelebrative book, not a sequel of Gene's, Ace's and Peter's autobiography: Paul Stanley tells us why he felt the urge to wrte "Face The Music", and what are the messages he wants to leave to his readers. Having a chat with Mr Stanley is a dream for experienced music journalists as well as it is for beginners. Our director Gaetano Loffredo made it: the article below, being the result of a 22 minutes-long conversation in which the uncontested KISS leader exposes himself as much as he does in his own book (it has been published some days ago by Tsunami Edizioni: you can order it following this link), is an importan milestone for the history of our magazine. We hope you enjoy your read!

Article by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 01/12/14

Hi Paul, this is Gaetano. I would like to ask you if there was something you did not want to talk about in your book.


Oh gosh, no. The book is very much a centered story. If you want to tell the truth, you have to tell the whole truth. If you don't tell the whole truth, then you lie. You lie by omission. So the book is everything, is my story, and if anything is not in there is because it wasn't important. Everything is in there because I wanted to make the point to people that in many ways we are very much alike, and we all have the same challenges in life, maybe a bit different, but each one has his things to overcome. I surely had nothing to hide, and I wanted to tell everything, I wouldn't hold back anything. For me an autobiography must tell a story that somebody would get something out of, it can't just be a vehicole for somebody to brag and tell stories that make him look good. There is a great author, George Orwell: he said that autobiography is the most outrageous form of fiction. And he's right, because you write whatever you want. My goal was not to write a book that boosted me up by speaking of supposed accomplishments and achievements. I wanted to write a book that pushed me up by telling a real story, a real story about challenges, not a story about bragging of incidents in my life that happened or didn't happen. What is importanto to me is knowing that the book is inspirational for people, that it gives people a light, maybe a flashlight that help them on their journey, or a little bit of hope. The hope to know that we are not so different: all people struggle with the same things, many of us feel we are alone and in struggle. I think that is great when somebody thinks that Paul Stanley's is someone just like you.
I have seen enough autobiographies that really are worth the paper they are written on: you have to help somebody with your book... if not, why to write a book?


stanleyitw01In your opinion the life of a public person, like you, is more or less difficult than a normal one?


It depends, you know. For me, getting on stage in front of eighty-thousand people is easy. For me being a bricklayer would be very difficult, but I think the bricklayer would rather do that than going on stage in front of eighty-thousand people. Everyone has to do something that they love, and be passioned about it. I have no complaints, I am blessed to be able to do what I do. I am doing the same thing that I did when I was at school: I played guitar and I designed things, I designed stages, I designed album covers, I created. So, for me, my life is blessed. Sometimes somebody says that touring is difficult... difficult is digging ditches! There are things that are far far more difficult than the ones I do, and I'm payed very well for what I do.



But your life before KISS was hard, with a lot of problems. How did you find the strength to face the troubles?


There are two things you can do in life. One is: you can be a victim and blame your situation, your past and incidents and things that happened in your life. Or you can roll up your sleeves and change your life. The only person who suffers from you being a victim is you. So your choice in life is either live the life of a victim, which compromise your potential, or you say "I'm going to fight through this". We can live a whole life with the problems or we can go through some pain to come to the other side.

But I would say that it's no easy to become a rock star. Do you agree?


Well, that's a difficult question. I accomplished it. Everybody can become a rockstar in their own way, if you find something you're passionate about, and work hard. You can be a rockstar wheter that means to be a teacher, or being a garbage man. Whatever you say it's the goal of your life, it can be accomplished, if it's possible. No matter how hard I try, I will never fly, you can say I will become Superman but that's ridiculous. But if you look at yourself and see what your potential and possibilities are, there's nothing you can't accomplish if only it's a matter of hard work. How hard you want to work for something will make you know how important it's to you. I became a rockstar, anyone else can become a president, a doctor.


I totally agree. But how does it feel to soundtrack so many generations?


It's rewarding, it's an honour to do what I love doing and to continue with passion about it, and also see that multigenerations are also connected. You know, I love KISS concerts because they are not about looking a one-age group. When you go to most rock bands shows you don't want to see your younger brother there, you don't want to see your father there, but at a KISS concert you see everybody there. We have lasted four decades, and it's very rewarding, it's a very fullfilling thing.

paulstanley_intervista_book_itaThe KISS brand became part of the worldwide culture. Have you ever said "I can't believe what I've done"?


Of course. Anybody who've said otherwise I'd say it's not telling the truth. There's a difference between believing you can do something and the reality of completing it. There's a big difference, between having faith in yourself and believing in yourself, and winning the race, experiencing the victory. I wanted to do this, but to be able to taste the wine, to be able to smell the roses is very different.



What's your opinion about the words of Mr Gene Simmons, who said that "rock is finally dead"?


If tomorrow Gene says "the sky is green", you can choose to believe it or not. Gene likes to get a reaction, but I will leave the reaction to others.

Paul I'd like to have an opinion about the talent show phenomenon.


I think that it's a form of entertainment. We should not look at it as much more than that. Most of the show have become of the judges. Many of the contentants are forgotten as soon as the show is over. It's fun perhaps to watch it on television, but the idea that long term success would come from a talent show on television is foolish to believe. With few exceptions, most of those people are forgotten quickly, because music like many other of the other arts is a craft and you work at it, and there's no substitute for putting in your time doing it. You can be an eighteen year old, a twenty year old teen sensation, but the clock is ticking, to learn your craft takes time, and there's no shortcut to that. Of course there are exceptions to that, but for every Carrie Underwood and for every Kelly Clarkson there are one hundred, two hundreds contestans and winners of talent shows that don't survive after one album.

So you definitely think that the future of the music industry is not in the talent shows.


I think the future of the music industry, the future of music would be based on people taking their music to the population, to the people on the streets. They are the one who build your success or not. You don't need to be in a national television, and you don't even need a record deal. What you need is to go play in tour, and one person who comes to see you to tell another, and to tell another, and that's how you build yourself, you build it from the ground up.



Have you listened to the brand new Ace Frehley's album? Did you like it?


I've not, pretty honestly. I've probably heard a song of it, I did hear a song, but I've no idea what I've heard. If he's happy doing what he's doing then it's good.

Would you leave a message to your Italian fans?


Oh, sure: my heart is always in Italy, my soul is in Tuscany, and I live to return.

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