Just A Minute With Kiss Guitarist Paul Stanley


January 3, 2008

NEW YORK – Paul Stanley, singer and guitarist with hard rock band Kiss, has found a different form of therapy than the typical rock ‘n roll staples keeps him grounded — art.

Stanley, 55, an art major and graduate, returned to painting about seven years ago, finding a strong demand for his work which goes on show at the Wentworth Gallery Garden City in New York on Jan 4.

Stanley spoke to Reuters about his art and music, speaking softly and pausing to think through his answers in stark contrast to his brash, on-stage persona “The Starchild:”

Q: Your art has become quite a business, selling for $2 million last year?

A: “It is incredible. For me the dollar figure is more of an acknowledgment of how people are embracing the art. If I became enamored or taken with the number I think it would take away from the creative spirit or what I am doing. The fact I started this phase of my life in art as a very personal and solitary pursuit has borne success because of its integrity.”

Q: Have you been surprising by the reaction to your art?

A: “Totally. I have been humbled and staggered by the acceptance of my art. I started it as something therapeutic and cathartic for me without the intention of ever showing anything but from the first time I hung a piece in my house people were drawn to it.”

Q: You said it was therapeutic during your divorce in 2000?

A: “Yes. It is way for me to purge. It is almost a stream of consciousness where you use color and texture as opposed to words. Once a piece is done it is almost a mirror, a time capsule, of me at a certain point.”

Q: Is it addictive?

A: “Very much so. Not to minimize the pursuit of art but in the same way as going to the gym makes you feel good, you find yourself craving it. I had my left rotator cuff replaced a few weeks ago and my concern at that point was not if I could play guitar but if I could still paint.”

Q: How do balance your art with your music?

A: “I don’t bring paint brushes on the stage and I don’t bring a guitar into the studio. You can compartmentalize and prioritize and there is time for everything.”

Q: Some of your paintings feature the Kiss faces in their well-known make-up. Are those the top sellers?

A: “I did the four portraits of the band as a tip of the hat to our fans and believed they would be extremely popular. I have to say I found it really gratifying that those pieces are probably the least popular. I think it is great. It shows that the people acquiring the art are not acquiring it because of its Kiss content. That kind of blind adulation would be money poorly spent as far as I am concerned.”

Q: You had to leave some shows last year due to a rapid heartbeat. Are you OK now?

A: “I am fine. That problem is something I have had my whole life. It won’t kill me. It is a condition where my heart will spontaneously speed up but it is really not an issue unless you are about to go on stage. I saw quite a few doctors in my travels around the world and other than it being disruptive it is nothing more than that.”

Q: So back on the road next year?

A: “We’re heading to Australia and New Zealand in March. They are rumors of a European tour and perhaps a U.S. tour. We are one of those fortunate exceptions because our fan base is always broadening. We have had the advantage of being around for 35 years. We are always gaining new fans and some old fans come along with their kids. It is the young Kiss army.”

Q: Has the band’s off-stage act cleaned up over the years?

A: “Well, I am certainly not dead. I guess in some ways you might say if you sit at a banquet long enough you may have your fill and this has been one long banquet. You get to value home, family and friends more and more.”

Q: You remarried in 2005 and have a second child, a young son. Any chance of a reality show about your family?

A: “I would rather have glass under my finger nails.”

Courtesy of www.reuters.com