"When you are uncomfortable with somebody’s intentions, motivations, or integrity, it will eat away at the very thing you were trying to build." - Paul Stanley

Posted: April 26, 2024
A band member that we all have come to admire is Paul Stanley. An artist, that doesn’t need an introduction. Over the decades of interviews, and documentaries is there anything left to be said about how Paul Stanley became an instrumental part of the band KISS? Gene Simmons has expressed sincere admiration for the lead singer and guitarist Paul Stanley. At the end of the day, it is important for your bandmates to recognize who the key element was to the band’s success.

Photo credit: Keith Leroux

The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way you can make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him. - Henry L. Stimson

Not many will disagree that trust is a key element to succeeding. No matter what you do in life, trust is an asset. Think of the times, that you had to keep your eye on a person, because your concern for your health and well-being. It is an uncomfortably feeling. Especially if you are concerned about someone that is close to you. Like a family member, or best friend. Confidentiality is extremely important among business relationships. If you are an artist, or in a band, trust among those that you work with is essential. Bands will vanish, due to distrust. Those that represent artists, such as Booking, Publicists, Managers and Labels must establish trust as the between their clients and the agency. Otherwise, how will an effective relationship be built upon mistrust? The foundation of all successful relationships is trust. There is way too much at stake for a break-down of trust and confidentiality.

There are many arguments that can be made, that trust and confidentiality is a two-way street. There is no disputing this. In my opinion, it is the most important elements of a partnership or business relationship of any-kind. I have talked to too many artists, that felt compelled to end contracts due to trust. That is why contracts should be written with a clause for artists to terminate agents, or organizations where confidentiality and trust are concerns. Recall, this applies to all parties involved. Legally binding contracts are created around “trust” or a lack thereof. There are other key factors that go into creating a contract. However, protection of one’s assets is extremely important, and cannot be left to a handshake or verbal agreement. The purpose behind this topic, is to stress the importance of trust and confidentiality. Despite having a prior or existing relationship with an agency, or band members. Everyone wants to feel safe, and secure with those they interact with daily. Even more when it comes to your career.

A band member that we all have come to admire is Paul Stanley. An artist, that doesn’t need an introduction. Over the decades of interviews, and documentaries is there anything left to be said about how Paul Stanley became an instrumental part of the band KISS? Gene Simmons has expressed sincere admiration for the lead singer and guitarist Paul Stanley. At the end of the day, it is important for your bandmates to recognize who the key element was to the band’s success.

Would there have been KISS without Paul Stanley? Most likely not. It isn’t because there weren’t highly skilled players other than Paul. However, it takes more than just one person to make a band work cohesively. Bands need a leader, sometimes two. AKA Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

The roles of the other band members were conducive to the “makeup” of the band’s success. However, the stakes were always high. Tense and dangerous to the longevity of the band. We can thank today’s guest for his dedication and focus for the results of hard work and dedication. KISS continues to shape artists in our modern day. Metal and Heavy Metal bands alike, continue to follow in the footsteps of KISS. Though, they never measure up.



For more than 45 years, Paul Stanley has reigned supreme as one of the single-most recognizable front men in the history of rock and roll. Although preferring to live his off-stage life out of the media spotlight he continues to be thechief songwriter, driving force and unwavering voice of KISS. A visionary and trendsetter since the early 1970s, Stanley’s passion for both the musical and visual arts has perhaps been the key to the astonishing ongoing worldwide phenomenon known as KISS.

Stanley single-handedly penned such escapist anthems as “Love Gun,” “God of Thunder”, “Black Diamond” and wrote the timeless celebratory battle cry “I Want To Rock and Roll All Night And Party Everyday”. He was the golden throat that throttled “Detroit Rock City,” the charismatic swagger behind “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” and stripped of makeup, was the unmasked troubadour that breathed vocal life into the ballads “Reason to Live,” “Forever” and “Every Time I Look At You.”

Stanley designed and created the iconic KISS logo which 40 years on remains universally recognized as one of the greatest logos of the 20th century. His artistic and visual input has been and continues to be seen in his designs of KISS album covers, stages and apparel.

Over the last 30 years Stanley has channeled his musical vision designing and developing signature musical instruments including guitars that continue to be marketed by numerous musical instrument companies with sales now standing at well over $25 million.

Stanley also returned to his passion for painting ten years ago by creating portraits and abstracts that are emotionally charged compositions. His tremendous success has translated into well over $10 million in sales. He aims to maximize the direct, physical impact of his paintings through scale, texture, color, and simplicity of images. In a few short years of exhibiting, Stanley’s works have been acquired by numerous art collectors and he has been commissioned to create large works to be displayed internationally.

Stanley has also been hands on in overseeing the band’s development and expansion into a worldwide brand with more than 2,000 licensees.

Stanley also produced KISS’s 2009 acclaimed release Sonic Boom that debuted at number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Chart and the most recent equally successful follow up Monster.

In addition to the concert stage, Stanley has also played to theatrical audiences in the title role of The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera”.  Paul was chosen to be the final Phantom in the 10-year run of the Toronto production.  The show posted million-dollar weekly ticket sales during his historic 6 month run in which he performed 8 shows a week to nightly standing ovations.

During his time in Toronto Paul became spokesman for the Canadian based About Face organization which deals with children with facial differences and its impact on them.  In this role Stanley met and spoke with both parents and children about his own personal experience with the birth defect know as microtia which is a deformity of the outer ear and an additional loss of hearing on his right side.  In that role he also spoke to school classes teaching them to understand and embrace those with differences.

As an accomplished solo performer, Stanley released Live to Win [New Door Records/ Universal Music Enterprises], his first solo album in more than 25 years, and second overall. In Live to Win, Stanley strips his emotions to the bone and adorns them with a melodic sheen, with songs about the power of the human spirit and commitment to not compromising ideals. In 2008, Stanley released the heavily awaiting concert DVD, “One Live Kiss,” that quickly went to the top of the music video charts.

A believer in reciprocity and calling attention to those less fortunate including the numerous hardships faced by soldiers returning from duty overseas KISS donated a dollar from every ticket sold on the “Sonic Boom Tour” to The Wounded Warriors Care Project based out of Augusta, GA. Additionally Paul brought members of our military out on stage nightly, explaining their plight. He then led the audience in saying The Pledge Of Allegiance.

After being contacted by the prestigious HOUSE Research Institute, Stanley accepted the opportunity to become the Ambassador Spokesperson educating the public to the risks of unprotected exposure to loud sounds and music, which has resulted in an epidemic of hearing loss among teens.  Stanley now travels lecturing and advocating on the dangers of exposure to high volumes.

Paul is a partner in the Rock & Brews franchise with an aggressive expansion plan that will see 50 restaurants operating worldwide in the next 5 years. In addition to serving great food and 80 craft beers in a family friendly atmosphere Rock & Brews aims to help the communities by bringing in local produce, supporting Wound Warriors organizations and local educational school programs.

Paul has spent the last few years developing a project close to his heart.  Soul Station is a band gathering some of today’s leading musicians to pay tribute to the greatest artists and songs from the R&B and soul catalog in addition to new original songs to keep this vital music current.  While a surprise to many, Stanley’s early pivotal roots in this music has quietly turned this passion into a celebrated touring and recording band.  Stanley’s 15-piece ensemble group has toured the U.S. and Japan, as well as spending recent time in the studio recording songs for the forthcoming NOW AND THEN album.

He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife Erin and their 3 children: Emily, Sarah, and Colin. Paul’s oldest son Evan is a music major graduate of the Tisch Music Program at NYU.


Guitar Thrills: I am stoked that I get the opportunity to interview “Paul Stanley”. I enjoy your aggressive sound. I am a fan of rock, and some heavy metal. You have surpassed the sounds of GT: The topic of trust and confidentiality has become unconditional. This is a requirement from the band/artist and the agencies that represent them. Without focusing on experiences, we want to shed light on the demand for both. No band of relationship can succeed without both traits. There may be small successes here and there, but without each person buying into trust and confidentiality, there can’t be long-term successes. What are your thoughts regarding this?

Paul Stanley: As in any relationship, band or otherwise, trust is key to building a strong foundation. When you are uncomfortable with somebody’s intentions, motivations, or integrity, it will eat away at the very thing you were trying to build. Trust is not something to be given out randomly. It’s something that is built as you see how somebody reacts to different situations. Without trust in your bandmates a band’s lineup is on borrowed time.

Guitar Thrills: When Kiss was first formed, was this a consideration to you? Did you already have the band members in place, where trust was not an issue?

Paul Stanley: We weren’t much more than kids when Gene and I started planning our career. Making music together and trading ideas I think we both realized quickly that we each brought something unique to the partnership. You don’t have to always agree but you must know that who you work with has honest motivations in their opinions. Ultimately that built the bond and the trust we have.

Guitar Thrills: Do you believe that a successful relationship can be built upon other character traits?

Paul Stanley: Trust is everything, but the expectations you have of someone else must be realistic. If you don’t expect something from someone that they maybe aren’t equipped to give you, you won’t ever be disappointed. So, it’s about setting expectations.

Guitar Thrills: Regardless of age, culture, nationality, and experience, trust and confidentiality remains to be the most important aspect of a business relationship. After all, you want to question the motives of someone that is representing you. Is this something that you discussed with the agencies that represent you, or KISS? If so, what was the outcome?

Paul Stanley: When you have good people around you, you don’t really need to have those conversations. In some ways someone’s motivation is irrelevant. It’s in action not words that we find out if everyone is with us.

Guitar Thrills: I know that they’re other characteristics and traits that define those that you work with. Example, patience and courage. These are things that can be developed over time. They also are essential in communication between bandmates and professionals that you work with daily. Are there other elements that you looked for, from those that you worked with?

Paul Stanley: I think people who work with me see firsthand that that the level of dedication and pride I expect from them is the same as I expect from myself. You’re only as good as your team. I’m not a slacker, so I don’t like to be around other slackers. We work hard. We like to work with other people who work hard and are committed to putting out quality that they can be proud of. I think that’s been the key for keeping the train running for so long.

Guitar Thrills: I believe you have set yourself up for long-term success early on. Before KISS became popular. You always had the talent, and you also had idea of what you need on the business end as well. What was the deciding factor for the KISS End Of The Road tour?

Paul Stanley: The band has been most of my life, and it’s been the greatest thing in the world, but now I want to have time to enjoy other parts of my life before it all comes to an end.There’s this connection to the audience I have and the adrenaline from every show that I wish would never end, but everything including life does end eventually.I’ve always said if we were onstage in T-shirts and jeans, I could do this into my 90s, but it’s physically demanding, running around with 30 pounds of gear and 8-inch heels on. Not to mention wanting to spend time with my family. Bands call it quits when they can’t stand each other. It’s happening as we speak. The difference is we love being together and playing together with great pride in our history and legacy. This feels like the right time to end while we can still end it smiling. It feels right to end the tour in New York, where it all started.

Guitar Thrills: Your fan base loves KISS. It was a “brand” that was built for a lifetime. How does that make you feel?

Paul Stanley: Nothing will replace that two-plus hours on stage. Nothing can come close to the exhilaration, the rush, the sense of gratitude and appreciation. But again, I’ve experienced it. I’ve had it. And that’s what I’m thankful for. I won’t mourn the loss or yearn for it. I’m so grateful for the past but if you live wanting the past, you’re doing something wrong in the present. I’ve had it and that is amazing enough.

Guitar Thrills: If you could name one specific trait, that made KISS successful what would it be?

Paul Stanley: The key to success is always hard work and trying to remain true to yourself and your motivation. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Guitar Thrills: I have interviewed several artists that were invited to the KISS Kruise, how did that get its start, and do you continue to get inquiries about the next one?

Paul Stanley: Anyone inquiring at the next one should have been at the last one! Everyone keeps asking “was that really the last one?” I can honestly say I don’t know. So much is going on right now in KISSWORLD

Guitar Thrills: I have viewed your artwork. I was impressed. Is this a hobby, or do you plan on making it another successful venture?

Paul Stanley: I never began painting with the idea of anyone ever seeing it. It was really a private, personal experience. I remember I hung a few paintings in my house and people would ask me who did them and for a long time I never said, me. A friend of mine suggested I do a gallery and I was very doubtful it would be successful, but I decided well, why not. I exhibited a bunch of pieces at his gallery in Maui and I am still shocked people took them home! So that’s how my painting started, as a passion, and I guess you could say it’s become a professional venture now. There’s something very satisfying about getting a work of art out and then also being able to see it, which I don’t always get to do with a live performance. I can’t watch myself on stage.

Guitar Thrills: I must get your input on the bands of our modern day. What are your thoughts regarding the today’s talent? Is there any comparison to the rock bands that influenced you?

Paul Stanley: I keep up with today’s music because of my kids and because that communication with them is also important. Billie Eilish makes some very sophisticated music. Taylor Swift is a force of nature. Sza… Post Malone, Foo Fighters. I think they’re all doing great. I say when people go, ‘I only listen to one kind of music,’ that’s like saying, ‘I only eat hamburgers” which will leave you malnourished whether it’s food or music. I never understood that mentality, it’s very limiting. Variety is key to making art and enjoying it. The more you embrace variety, the more exciting things are. I don’t care if it isn’t what I would make. If it sounds good, it’s good. If you like it, then it’s good. There is no good or bad. There’s a lot of great music out there.

Guitar Thrills: We kind of plans do you have moving forward? Do you have any projects with Gene and the other members in the works?

Paul Stanley: I think people need to remember that Gene and I started this thing a lifetime ago. We’ve lived amazing lives and made so much possible for each other. We have families and children we want to spend time with, but we will always be a huge, huge part of each of our lives.

Guitar Thrills: We will continue to keep our eyes and ears open for anything that you are involved in. We are always willing to promote it through Guitar Thrills Magazine. Trust me it was a huge pleasure to interview you. We would like to set up another opportunity for the future. Does that work for you?

Paul Stanley: Anytime.

Guitar Thrills: Nice. Thank you again for your time.

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