Over the weekend, HBO aired this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which included the long-awaited induction of KISS. There was a lot of speculation as to how that would go down in the weeks leading up to the event given that there was lots of sniping in the press between founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons (who are both still in the band) and Ace Frehley and Peter Criss (who are not).
It turned out that, although the band declined to perform, the induction was pretty civil and even a bit sweet. Gene Simmons shocked the audience by saying the words “We are humbled.”
Paul Stanley, however, used the opportunity to speak out against the Rock Hall, saying, “I believe that the spirit of Rock and Roll means you follow your own path regardless of critics, and regardless of your peers. I think we’ve done that for forty years. Here we are tonight, basically inducted for the same things that we were kept out for. The people, I believe we’re speaking to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what they’re saying is, ‘We want more.’ They deserve more. They want to be apart of the induction. They want to be apart of the nomination. They don’t want to be spoon-fed by a handful of people. Choices. The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate do not. Let’s not forget that these are the people that make it all possible.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame CEO and President Joel Peresman reacted to Stanley’s speech in our interview with him.
If Paul comes off bitter lately, it’s because most of the questions he’s been asked these days are about the Rock Hall, his former bandmates, or even Gene Simmons. A more well-rounded picture of the guy comes from his recently published memoirs, Face The Music: A Life Exposed. Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Stanley, not an artist generally associated with angst, came from a pretty tough background and was born with a condition that came to define much of his life. So here’s five moments from the book (which is well worth reading in full) that give a more complete picture of the man.
Playing The Phantom Changed His Life: When Stanley played the lead role in a Toronto run of Phantom of the Opera in 1999, he received a letter from a woman who observed, “You seemed to identify with the character in a way I haven’t seen in other actors.” She invited him to get involved in AboutFace, an organization devoted “to helping children with facial differences.” Stanley himself was born with no right ear and is deaf on that side as well. He mentions this on the first page of the book, looking back on the kids who called him “the one-eared monster.” In 2000, he became the organization’s spokesman: “I found that helping others helped me heal myself. It created a calm in my life that I had never known before.”