Paul Stanley: Boom Times
GW It sounds like you studied the original recordings very carefully.
STANLEY Totally. We really went back and matched the tempos, keys…everything. It’s interesting, because a lot of those songs were slower than we remembered, because the live versions of them tend to be much more high energy. So to listen to them and cut them again was a real challenge at times. We captured the sounds of the guitars and everything, but vocals are something where you really want to match the inflection, cadence and tone of the original. Over the years, though, you start to sing differently. Tonally, your approach to a melody may be different. So getting it back to that was really interesting. There were times when I’d have to listen to a vocal line by line in order to nail it.
GW It was that obsessive?
STANLEY Oh yeah. We wanted the re-cut versions to be virtually interchangeable with the originals.
GW What are some of your personal favorite songs among the Kiss catalog?
STANLEY Oh, “Love Gun.” I think that’s a great song to this day. “Detroit Rock City,” “I Want You.” I’m a big fan of “God of Thunder,” because I always like the idea that Gene’s signature song was written by me.
GW And now you’re back on the road, celebrating the 35th anniversary of Alive!
STANLEY Yes. The show is built around the songs on Alive! And then there’s a big chunk of other classics thrown in. And here we have Sonic Boom coming out, so some of those songs will find their way into the show. So it’s very much a celebration of everything we’ve done, but focusing particularly on the 35th anniversary of Alive!
GW Are you still seeing the old fans? People who have been with Kiss since day one?
STANLEY There are some of them still there, sure. But Kiss has become multigenerational. Some of the original fans are bringing their kids, almost as a rite of passage, so their kids can experience what they did. And we see teenagers, too. I think Kiss connects with that part of everybody that wants freedom and to live as they choose. It’s a night for everybody. You know, if you can’t look like Kiss, at least you can feel like Kiss.
GW And plenty of people try to look like Kiss.
STANLEY You know, that’s a great compliment. Because it’s not easy.
GW I think that by fictionalizing the band, by becoming characters, you’ve kind of sidestepped the problem that so many bands face: the problem of growing old.
STANLEY I think the band has become iconic in that the identities of our four characters transcend the music. We’re certainly a band first and foremost, and that’s what’s important to me. Yet, just on a purely visual level, you can bring a photo of Kiss anywhere in the world, show it to someone and they’ll tell you it’s Kiss, whether or not they’re familiar with the music. We seem to have diversified in so many ways. But still, to me, the core of it is about the music. And that’s what Sonic Boom gets back to—the music.
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