Paul Stanley Says Kiss Had No Other Choice Than To Go Unmasked
Paul Stanley feels that Kiss had no other option than to go "unmasked" in 1983 with the release of their Lick It Up album. Stanley, who will be inducted along with Kiss into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month, has come under attack along with Gene Simmons for deciding that no lineup of Kiss would be performing at the celebrations -- in essence robbing fans of one last time to see the band's founders, including Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, play together.
Over 30 years ago, on September 18th, 1983, Kiss -- then featuring guitarist Vinnie Vincent and drummer Eric Carr -- unveiled themselves without makeup for the first time live on MTV. Paul Stanley told Guitar World that it had come to a point where Kiss needed to make a drastic change, recalling, "I didn’t see any other choice at that point. And I take my hat off to Gene that, although he was uncertain about it and maybe less comfortable with it, he came to realize that it was the right move. Or at least he saw that I was very committed to the idea."
Stanley went on to say, "I felt that we had diluted everything the band was to the point where it was becoming a farce. What happened was, we kicked Peter out of the band -- 'we' meaning Ace, Gene and myself. But rather than saying, 'We’ve built these iconic figures together and we’re going to continue on with what we built,' we bought into the idea of, 'We have to have a new character.' That watered it down. Some people may argue with me, but I feel that Batman is Batman whether he’s played by George Clooney, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer and on and on."
When asked about Kiss finally getting inducted and being arguably the most successful band to be passed over year after year by the Hall, Stanley said: "To ignore somebody with the kind of fervor that we’ve been ignored, that’s clearly a conscious decision. For better or worse, that’s not being ignored at all. When it happens year after year, that’s a choice. But on the other side of it, to me rock and roll has always been about doing what you want to do and ignoring not only your critics but also your peers. For 40 years, we’ve rarely wavered from that. So I would have to say that the same criteria that has kept us out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the same criteria that now has gotten us inducted into it."
Paul Stanley, who turned 62 in January, told us that the things that spurred him and Kiss to super-stardom still drives the band to carry on: "There's no substitute for the enormous crowds, or the response or the mania that we see and that's directed at us. There's no substitute for me getting up onstage and having 15,000 people calling my name -- y'know, all the accouterment, all the stuff that goes along with it. . . the women, everything."
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