KISS Frontman Paul Stanley Is A Big Fan Of Beethoven. Who Knew?
By Jim Clash / Forbes
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview series with Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, we covered a lot: his painting, his relationship with bandmate Gene Simmons, the band’s extensive use of makeup, why this past tour was Kiss’ final, his childhood bullying and more. Here, in this final part, we drill into Stanley’s musical influences, among other things. Following are edited excerpts from a longer phone conversation. (By the way today, January 20, is Stanley’s 72nd birthday. Happy birthday, Starchild!)
Jim Clash: We touched a bit upon you being bullied as a child because of your hearing birth defect (Stanley was missing a right ear). But you were pretty smart as a kid, no?
Paul Stanley: I was always in the most intellectually gifted classes, the ones where I actually belonged, but it was more because they knew I belonged there, whether it was IQ testing, what have you. Because of my hearing difficulty, and some learning disabilities, I just never lived up to any of it, though. Today, thankfully, our school systems and the people running them, are aware of dyslexia and other learning problems. I was in school at a time where they thought kids like me were just lazy.
Clash: I want to play word association with a few of your contemporary musicians. I knew you listened relentlessly to Beethoven’s Fifth early on, but how about later? Say, Dion DiMucci?
Stanley: Dion, initially with the Belmonts, had swagger. He clearly knew how to sing. His phrasing was steeped in an earlier generation. The guy could certainly swing the melody with a lyric. I thought he was terrific, and what he went on to do later was really steeped in blues and traditional music. I’ve always admired him.