Paul Stanley

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About Paul Stanley

"One of the most memorable moments of the Penelope Spheeris documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years features Kiss frontman Paul Stanley lying in bed, surrounded by girls. “What do you think parents think about you?” Spheeris asks. Stanley grins, then responds with a question of his own: “Do I care?” Brash, androgynous, and always nudging the boundaries of bad taste, Stanley is one of the definitive frontmen of arena rock, the kind of artist who wears his rudeness like a badge of honor. Born in Manhattan in 1952 and raised mostly in Queens, he started his career in the early ’70s with Wicked Lester, a hard-rock band founded by bassist Gene Simmons that eventually evolved into Kiss. (Legend has it that drummer Peter Criss reported having been in a band called Lips, to which Stanley asked, “What about Kiss?”) As one of Kiss’ primary songwriters, Stanley—alongside artists like AC/DC and Alice Cooper—helped bridge the youthful edge of ’60s bands like The Rolling Stones with the theatricality of glam rock and metal, architecting a huge, brilliantly simple sound that informed bands as varied as the Ramones, Mötley Crüe, and Weezer. (The makeup, costumes, and pyrotechnics didn’t hurt: These guys were comic book characters come to life.) With the exception of a couple of solo dalliances, he has remained almost entirely dedicated to Kiss, and continues to wear his platform boots—by his report, 15 pounds on each foot—even after multiple hip-replacement surgeries.

New York, NY, United States
January 20, 1952

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