Paul Stanley, ahead of Saturday NJ visit, talks KISS, art, music and pizza
You may know him as the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and superstar frontman of KISS, but along with rocking, Paul Stanley has had tremendous success as a painter and visual artist with sales reaching into 8 figures — and shows no signs of slowing.
Thousands routinely flock to see his work on display, and his art often sells out during his 3-hour appearances at shows. He's coming to town for an event at the Wentworth Gallery in Short Hills on Dec. 17, before moving on to shows in Florida and Washington, D.C.
When I spoke to him on my New Jersey 101.5 show, he was eating a pizza that he made himself, and asked those who come to give him some recommendations for great Jersey pizza. We also talked about:
How do you compare the joy you get painting to the joy you get out of making music?
You know, I'm so blessed. Between writing a couple of New York Times bestsellers, books, and doing Phantom of the Opera, and painting and music. It's all so gratifying. but all different.
They're all ways for me to express myself and getting accolades and getting people to love what I do is really the bonus. But it's a different thing, You know, when you're writing songs, you have structure, a key, you have to play and then write verses and choruses and rhyme.
And, you know, there's a lot that goes into it, that's structured, whereas I, for one, have liked the idea and in painting is that I have no rules, I use the colors that I like, or that seemed to fit the piece by painting as big as I want, or as little as I want.
I'm just thrilled to have the kind of success that I've had with art. And it's not just KISS fans to be quite honest. There are collectors who have my pieces in their collections. And I'm thrilled, I get to do things that I love doing, and the bonuses other people love them.
What would you say is your favorite KISS memory?
I would have to say getting our first gold album. Obviously, they went on to become platinum afterward. But having grown up in a different era, a gold album was considered, you know, the high point of a career.
So when 'KISS ALIVE' first went gold. It meant more to me than when it went platinum. Platinum wasn't anything that I aspired to as a youngster, really was wired to have a gold album.
Elvis has gold. You don't have a gold album. For me, it was wow, we have a gold album. That was probably the real high point. Look, you know, in a career that's lasted, going on 50 years, there's been a whole lot of high points. That was pivotal.
Any upcoming bands you'd recommend?
I think that that's a tough one. And it's also a trap. Because if I was going to start pointing to bands, naturally, people would expect me to point to things that are more similar to what we've done or the roots of where we come from; and I'm not sure that that's as important as it touches a nerve in the general population today.
Quite honestly, there's a lot of bands that are trying to recreate the past. And most of them fall on deaf ears because it's a different time. And honestly, you can never be as good. You can't be as good as the original. You can only be as good as you can be.
I tend to listen to a lot of things that are on the radio now," says Stanley ."Some of them I might go, 'well that that's good songwriting,' you know, some of it is too mechanical and to put together.
To me, great music has to come from human beings. And what we love so much about Zeppelin, what we love so much about the Four Tops. What we loved so much about the music of an earlier era is that it was, well... what made all that music great is that it's not perfect.
I think today with the advent of technology it's being misused. I think we're always in danger of replacing passion with perfection. And things like Pro Tools are terrific. It's a tool and it should be used to enhance what you do, and not create what you do.
To see Paul Stanley this Saturday at the Wentworth Gallery, click here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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