KISS frontman Paul Stanley spoke to “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon” about the band’s recent announcement that it will embark on its “farewell” tour, dubbed “One Last Kiss: End Of The Road World Tour”, in 2019. As most fans remember, back in 2000 and 2001, KISS already performed a “Farewell Tour”. The trek, which was the last to feature drummer Peter Criss, played 142 shows over five legs, covering North America, Japan, and Australia.
“For the people who say, ‘Well, you already did a farewell tour,’ that tour was 19 years ago — 19 years ago!” Stanley said. “Bands don’t last 19 years. And when we did that tour, it really was because the members of the band were miserable, [and] I was miserable. It seemed like the best thing to do was to put the horse down, so to speak. It wasn’t till afterwards that it became clear to me, and should have been all along, that the band should continue. It was just the misery of being with the members at that time was just overwhelming and turned it into drudgery. The difference this time [is] the band gets along great — we see each other, we spend time together, we look forward to being together. It’s just reached a point where we needed to have an endgame in place.”
He continued: “If we were on stage in track shoes and jeans playing rock and roll songs, that would be… yeah, we could do that into our… forget about 70s; we could do that into our 80s. But we’re carrying around 30-, 40-plus pounds of equipment, whether it’s boots and guitars and what have you, and running around, and making it look pretty easy. So I think the elephant in the room became bigger and bigger, and we just needed to look at each other and say, ‘How are we going to put a cap on this?’ So I think this made a lot of sense. And the ‘End Of The Road’is absolutely the end of the band touring, doing anything with that kind of regularity. We wanna go out and do the greatest show we can, and we virtually have thrown out everything that has been on stage for the past 10 years, at least, and created a whole new stage an a whole new show. So this really is the best show we could under the best circumstances. We’re not crawling to the finish line; we’re celebrating.”
Stanley also touched upon the reasons for why the original KISS lineup decided to call it quits in 2001 after completing what, at the time, was supposed to be the band’s last-ever tour. “It fell back to all the things that were wrong to begin with, and a lot of animosity, a lot of resentment,” he said. “There is that old adage, ‘If you don’t learn from the past, you’re doomed to repeat it.’ And it was horrible — it was horrible to try to get people… forget about onstage; how about trying to get ’em to the lobby? It wasn’t fun, and there was certainly an anger and resentment about finances and why we weren’t equals. And I’ll tell you why we weren’t equals — because two of us kept the band alive after the original two had gone, and we toured relentlessly and worked at our craft. And you can’t come back in and [expect that] everything goes back to what it was. But it’s short-sighted when somebody is more concerned with how much I’m making rather than how much they’re making, especially when it’s really just a matter… it’s degrees of wealth. And there are certainly people who are wealthier than I am, and I don’t lose any sleep over it; I’m not envious.”
He continued: “We were all blessed, and for whatever reason, family members, friends just poisoned the well again. And from having people come back swearing that they would never make the same mistakes again and how grateful they were to be back, it turned into the same situation. And short-sighted… I think I certainly looked at it and thought, ‘We have to end this.’ But it didn’t mean, as they say, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and that’s basically what we were doing. And once that tour was over, it wasn’t too long before someone came to me and said, ‘I loved the ‘farewell’ tour. When are you going out on the 40th-anniversary [tour]?’, or whatever it was. So that’s when the light went off and I realized that we didn’t really have to adhere to something just because we believed it when we did it.”
Asked if he is open to the idea of releasing solo music in the future once KISS is done touring or if he will find other ways to satisfy himself creatively, Stanley said: “Well, doing solo albums… Doing [2006’s] ‘Live To Win’ was an interesting one, because I don’t know that everybody embraced that album. I did an album that I thought was almost the opposite of my first solo album — on purpose. I wanted to avoid doing that album again. Would I possibly wanna do an album like that in the future? If I did another album, would it be guitar driven? Absolutely. That being said, I spend five days a week now doing art. The success of my art, at last count, was over 10 million dollars. So I love being creative in that way.
“For me, life is about finding outlets for my creativity, and that’s how I define myself,” he continued. “So what will I do when there’s no more KISS? Well, there’s loads of things to do. I’m not a believer in bucket lists. The whole idea that you cross things off your bucket list and you want to get them all done, I believe that every time you cross something off, you should be at a point where something else comes on the horizon. So, for me, art is a big part of it.
“I’m in Vegas now for the launch of my Puma shoes, which are already sold out — you can’t get ’em; there’s wait lists. So life’s exciting. It may sound corny, but, for me, every day I wake up is a new challenge and new possibilities.
“So, what am I gonna do after this?” Stanley added. “There won’t be a vacuum. There are bands out there who tour incessantly, because they have no lives, because they’re nobody when they go home, because they don’t think they’re anybody to begin with. So, really, I bask in the spotlight, I love being onstage, I love doing my best to give everybody what they came for, but it’s not everything. I have a great life and terrific family and great friends. And that’s not my drug. And for a lot of people who are out there on tour non-stop, it’s because they have nothing else going on. I’ve got loads of things going on.”