INTERVIEW: KISS Talk About Their Rise From The Streets Of New York To The Stages Of The World

by (@BHSmithNYC)

Backstage at Capitol Theatre, NJ, 1975. [Photo: Fin Costello/KISS Catalog Ltd.]

Backstage at Capitol Theatre, NJ, 1975. [Photo: Fin Costello/KISS Catalog Ltd.]

VH1: There’s a new documentary in the works. Will that again be about the early days?

Paul Stanley: Hopefully it will be the definitive documentary about the band. Others have done great pieces like The Clash documentary. Alan Parker, who’s doing ours, did that. We’ve amassed an incredible amount of footage. A lot of it, nobody’s seen yet. There are things in there that will be a real surprise and a real joy for all of us to see. What we’re really trying to do is really the definitive Kiss documentary. Not selling Kiss. Not an advertisement which is what a lot of times things come off as but really something that will tell the tale.

VH1: You also have a new AFL football team, the L.A. Kiss. 

Gene Simmons: We have four partners; we have Brett Bouchy, who has been in the Arena Football League for awhile, (famed music manager) Doc McGhee and Paul and myself. Those are the only partners in it. Instead of being passive celebrity guys who lend their name, we’re actively involved. Paul worked with designers on the team outfits. We’re doing the media and we’re involved right at the ground level talking with the corporate guys and making sure it’s legitimate. We’re involved from beginning to end. We don’t intend on being these celebrity guys that lend their names and then go back to Beverly Hills. It’s real football. To our season ticket holders to show you how grateful we are we’re going to give you a special free Kiss concert. All the bells and whistles. We have more firepower than most Third World countries and we’ll bring the full thing as a thank you.

Paul Stanley: AFL sometimes gets maligned as being second rate football. The fact is that all the players are of the first order, the top 1% of football. The rules are different but every seat at the game is a great seat. When you go to an NFL game you may have to mortgage your house to get tickets at this point. We have tickets that are $99 for a season plus other tickets. These are great, great athletes. We’re putting together a team that’s really is based on quality from the coach up. AFL is faceless in the sense that you really don’t know the players. That’s going to change. We will become the model for what every AFL team is going to want to be. We’re bringing football back. Anaheim is the second largest media market in California and Los Angeles is dying for a team and we’re bringing it.

VH1: What would a world without Kiss be like?

Gene Simmons: We can be self-serving and say “Boring,” but it’s pretty accurate (laughter). Somebody made an assessment that without Kiss wrestling would just be wrestling, McCartney would sing the great Beatles songs, Garth Brooks would sing the great country songs, political parties would talk the way the usually do, but they wouldn’t have fireworks and bombast. Where did they get all that stuff? Air Supply?

Paul Stanley: I think we serve a great service in that we have been the wake up call to Kiss fans and rock fans of what can be done. What is possible. A lot of fans I think were taking less than they deserved. A lot of bands were giving less than they should. We were a wake up call to America and the world of what you should expect from a band. If we weren’t here? It would be more boring. Life would continue. Somebody at some point would come along and be Kiss but we’re it, and we’re the real deal.

Gene Simmons, live in California, 1974. [Photo: Jeffrey Mayer]

Gene Simmons, live in California, 1974. [Photo: Jeffrey Mayer]