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Conversation with KISS' Paul Stanley

Mike Ragogna: Paul, how are you doing?

Paul Stanley: Good, give me one minute to sneeze. [sneezes] You got the brunt of that one. Wipe yourself off and then we'll get to work.

MR: [laughs] Dude, your book released at number two best selling on The New York TImes list. How does something like that feel?

PS: I'm not easily found speechless, but as much as I'd be able to articulate it, it's humbling and incredibly rewarding. I just found out that right now it's an international best seller as well. Clearly I wrote the book with a purpose and I wrote the book with a vision far beyond the idea of a KISS book. This is a book about my life story, being born deaf on one side without an ear, the scrutiny I went through, and coming from a family that--not intentionally--was minimally supportive or less and the quest for fame as a means of going in the hole and the sense of self-doubt and what came of that. I was lucky enough to become successful and at that point I realized although success was an incredible gift it didn't change anything in my life. Your secrets remain your secrets, other people may not know them, but then at that point you'll either be a victim in life and complain or you'll put a shotgun in your mouth or a needle in your arm or you'll roll up your sleeves and start excavating, you'll start demolition, tear things down and build a life that can be amazing. I think that's universal, and that's what I'm getting from people, it's not a book purely for musicians and it's not a book purely for Kiss fans, it's a book that resonates with a lot of people.

MR: Yeah, and what's nice is that you really humanized Paul Stanley. Fans may know so much about you, but they still don't know how much certain things affected your life, like that car accident. You talked about getting to realize the important things; that one was a big one for you, wasn't it?

PS: There have been so many moments in my life that you could call revelations and epiphanies, but that's because I'm fairly aware of the goings-on in my life and how they affect me, whether it's almost drowning in Hawaii and realizing that I'm struggling to stay above the water but life is going on on the beach and will continue whether I die or not, facing my own mortality and facing our own issues is something that everybody does at some point. I think one of the services, if you will, that I've done for people is to not only humanize me, but to let them know that they're not alone. People read the book and say, "That's me in the book." One thing we all struggle with when we have issues that we keep quiet is the idea that we're all alone. Once we see that we're not, and even better yet the people that we look up to are no different than we are, it's a huge win-win. It's a terrific, terrific gift to me to have that acknowledgement and it seems to be a gift to other people.

MR: With your second wife and your children, you've really been exploring and getting more out of life. That's been an important thing to you beyond the theatrics of KISS, right?

PS: Well I have to say, without naming names, that I know many performers and people in other bands who don't ever want to go home, who don't ever want to leave the stage because they have no lfe and because who they are is based purely upon how they are perceived by the public. I've never wanted that. Once I saw that that wasn't an answer, I decided to find out what was. There's a lot of people out there who just don't want to do that work, and they become slaves to their professions instead of basking in them.


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