Tuesday, August 31, 2010

KISS' Stanley: Current Tour Is Rock N' Roll 'With Full Guns Blazing'

By Jon Waterhouse- For the AJC

Don’t tell KISS co-founder Paul Stanley he’s too old to be dressing up in war paint, singing “Love Gun” and ripping power chords. At 58 years old, Stanley continues serving as ringmaster for the band’s live rock ‘n' roll circus. And he does so while pulling off feats such as one-handed pushups and flying over the crowd on a zip line-like apparatus.
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Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley (far right) serves as ringmaster for the band's live rock 'n' roll circus, which rolls into Atlanta on August 31.
Glenn La Ferman Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley (far right) serves as ringmaster for the band's live rock 'n' roll circus, which rolls into Atlanta on August 31.

Stanley and company will attempt to wow an Atlanta audience for the second time in less than a year. And in an effort to attract a new generation, the band is offering as many as four free children’s lawn tickets for every adult lawn ticket sold.

Q.: Pound for pound, you have the best between-song banter in the history of rock ‘n' roll.

A.: There are people who would agree, and there are people who would say it’s the most absurd banter. But either way it’s memorable.

Q.: Although everyone shares vocal duties, you’ve always been the mouthpiece. How did that come about?

A.: I think early on we kind of realized that the idea of everyone talking when they feel like talking is insanity. You just wind up with chaos. It just seemed like, “Gee, Paul seems to be the best at doing this. So maybe we’ll all shut up.” And that’s how it came about. I try to make hosting the show and pacing the show part of the show. ... The show is so high-energy, the connection has to be that high-energy. ... I’m somewhere between a preacher and a game show host or somebody leading the troops. The KISS Army needs somebody to say “forward,” and I guess that’s my job.

Q.: KISS was just in Atlanta last October. What’s new this time around?

A.: The show is billed as the Hottest Show on Earth, and that’s really because it is. It’s not because of the weather. It’s the best set list. The stage is incredible. It’s rock ‘n' roll with full guns blazing. ... And the tour’s been phenomenal. I couldn’t have expected a better response. We’ve used technology to make the show bigger and powerful as opposed to using technology to have a bunch of guys ... lip-synching. It’s not about that. It’s about taking rock ‘n' roll and making those weapons of mass destruction that much bigger. ... The stage now has some huge video walls, and we also have video screens built into our amplifiers. There are all kinds of amazingly coordinated visuals. And there’s a great guitar solo that Tommy [Thayer] does with [drummer] Eric [Singer]. There’s a much broader set list covering the entire history of the band. And with [the band’s most recent album] “Sonic Boom,” it not only gives us a chance to celebrate what we’ve done, but it also gives us a chance to pound our chest and celebrate who we are today and where we’re going tomorrow.

Q.: Explain the band’s involvement in the Wounded Warrior Care Project.

A.: That’s really taking off tremendously. It’s everybody’s job and obligation to give back and not just to get. You’ve got all of these brave men and women going overseas to fight for our freedom, and some of them make the ultimate sacrifice and lose their lives. Others come back and have all sorts of problems: physical, psychological. And the government isn’t taking care of them. Augusta, Georgia, has an incredible rehabilitation facility, and all of these great soldiers deserve to be treated like heroes when they return. And we’re making sure we don’t let the government get in the way of helping these people. ... We’re doing our part by giving $1 from each ticket to the Wounded Warrior Care Project. And at this point we’re closing in at $200,000.

6:30 p.m. Aug. 31. $36.50-$149.50. Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Way, Atlanta. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com