Paul Stanley

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Paul Stanley
W0868-Hellfest2013 Kiss PaulStanley 69963.JPG
Stanley performing with KISS at Hellfest in 2013
Background information
Birth nameStanley Bert Eisen
Also known as"The Starchild"
Born (1952-01-20) January 20, 1952 (age 68)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Origin Queens, New York, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
  • record producer
  • painter
  • actor
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1970–present
Associated acts

Paul Stanley (born January 20, 1952 as Stanley Bert Eisen) is an American singer, songwriter and painter, best known for being the rhythm guitarist and co-lead vocalist of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's highest-charting hits. Stanley established The Starchild character for his Kiss persona and is known for his distinctive, wide-ranging voice.


Hit Parader ranked him 18th on their list of the Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. [1] A readers' poll also named him 13th on their list of Top 25 Frontmen. [2]

Early life

Stanley Bert Eisen was born January 20, 1952, in upper Manhattan, New York City, near 211th St. and Broadway; the Inwood neighborhood near Inwood Hill Park. Both of his parents are Jewish. He was the second of two children; his older sister Julia [3] was born two years earlier. Their mother came from a family that fled Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and then to New York City. His father's parents were from Poland. Stanley was raised Jewish, although he did not consider his family very observant and did not celebrate his bar mitzvah. [4] His parents listened to classical music and light opera; Stanley was greatly moved by Beethoven's works.

Stanley's right ear was misshapen from a birth defect called microtia until having reconstructive surgery at the age of 30; he was unable to hear on that side, he found it difficult to determine the direction of a sound, and he could not understand speech in a noisy environment. [5] Attending PS 98, he was taunted by other children for his deformed ear. [6]

Despite his hearing problem, Stanley enjoyed listening to music, and he watched American Bandstand on television. His favorite musical artists included Eddie Cochran, Dion and the Belmonts, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. Stanley learned to sing harmony with his family, and he was given a child's guitar at age seven. [7] [8]

Stanley's family relocated to the Kew Gardens neighborhood in Queens in 1960. [9] He listened to a lot of doo-wop music, but when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones played on U.S. television he was inspired by the performance aspect, which he thought was not out of his reach. Stanley received his first real guitar at age 13, an acoustic one that he would have preferred to be electric. He played tunes by Bob Dylan, the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful and more. [7]

All through his childhood Stanley had been recognized for his talent at graphic arts, so he attended the High School of Music & Art in New York City, graduating in 1970. [10] Despite his skill as a graphic artist, he abandoned that as a career, and instead played in bands.[ citation needed ]


Before Kiss, Stanley was in a local band, Rainbow (not the Ritchie Blackmore band Rainbow) [11] and was a member of Uncle Joe and Post War Baby Boom. Through a mutual friend of Gene Simmons, Stanley joined Simmons' band Wicked Lester in the early 1970s. The band recorded an album in 1972, but it was never officially released (although songs from the album appeared on Kiss's 2001 box set). Wicked Lester fell apart and Stanley and Simmons answered Peter Criss's advertisement in Rolling Stone (August 31, 1972): "Expd. Rock & Roll drummer looking for orig. grp. doing soft & hard music." Soon after recruiting Criss, they held auditions for a lead guitarist, with Stanley placing an ad in the Village Voice (December 14, 1972). Despite what Stanley, Criss, and Simmons admit was a shaky first impression, Ace Frehley won the group over with his playing, which all admit was nearly a perfect fit to the group's sound, and with his style, showing up to the audition wearing Converse shoes in two different colors (one red, one orange). Kiss released their self-titled debut album in February 1974.

At this point, Stanley had the idea of changing his name not only for marketing purposes but also the fact he had always hated his birth name. Inspired by Paul McCartney and Paul Rodgers, he legally changed his name to Paul Stanley. [12]

Stanley's 'The Starchild' make-up KISS starchild face.svg
Stanley's 'The Starchild' make-up

Stanley's persona in Kiss is "The Starchild" displaying one star over his right eye. For a brief time, Stanley tried out a new character "The Bandit", with a "Lone Ranger" style mask design make-up pattern. This make-up design was used during a few 1973–74 shows and photo-shoots, some of which he was photographed with both designs in the same session. "I even tried painting my face all red," he admitted. "I looked like a longhaired tomato! Before settling on the star, I'd just paint a black ring around my eye… Each of us wears something that reflects who we are. I always loved stars and always identified with them – so, when it came time to put something on my face, I knew it would be a star." [13]

In his book Sex Money Kiss, Gene Simmons says Stanley was the driving force for KISS during the period in the 1980s when the band performed without makeup. Those years, Stanley noted, "were fine for me. I found them very satisfying because I got a chance to be out there without makeup, which I craved at that point. I think it was easier for me [than Simmons] because my persona was one that wasn't really defined by the makeup… The makeup was just reinforcing what you were seeing and who I was." [14]

In 2006, Stanley resumed[ further explanation needed ] his association with Washburn Guitars, using the Washburn PS2000. Previously, he has had four signature guitars made by Silvertone, and tweaked the Ibanez Iceman to his specifications, calling it the PS10.[ citation needed ]

Stanley singing "Love Gun" in Montreal, Quebec KISS Pictures 165.jpg
Stanley singing "Love Gun" in Montreal, Quebec

In 2007 (prior to the final show of the Hit 'n Run Tour on July 27), Stanley was hospitalized with tachycardia. In his absence, Kiss performed live as a trio for the first time in decades. The concert was the first Kiss performance Stanley missed. [15]

In September 2007, Stanley took part as a guest star (for the second time) in Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp in New York City.[ citation needed ]

In 2009 he recorded three voice ads for the charity Kars4Kids. Stanley continues to tour with Kiss; the KISS 2010 The Hottest Show on Earth Tour (a continuation of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour, itself a continuation of the Alive 35 World Tour) which started March 2010 and ended at Verona, New York in July 2011.

Solo career

Stanley released a solo album Paul Stanley as part of the four simultaneously released Kiss solo albums, but he has rarely recorded or performed outside of Kiss. He wrote and recorded material for another album in 1987–88, but it was shelved in favor of the Kiss compilation Smashes, Thrashes & Hits . While never officially released, songs such as "Don't Let Go" and "When Two Hearts Collide" have circulated as bootleg recordings. One song from the project, "Time Traveler", was released as part of Kiss' 2001 box set.[ citation needed ]

In 1989, Stanley embarked on a brief club tour. His touring band included guitarist Bob Kulick and future Kiss drummer Eric Singer. The same year, Stanley sang lead on the title track for the soundtrack of the Wes Craven horror film Shocker.

Stanley, Singer and Thayer performing at the Azkena Rock Festival; June 26, 2010 Paul Stanley, Eric Singer y Tommy Thayer - Azkena Rock Festival 2010.jpg
Stanley, Singer and Thayer performing at the Azkena Rock Festival; June 26, 2010

Twenty-eight years after releasing his first solo album, Stanley released a second album, Live to Win , on October 24, 2006. Its title song "Live to Win" appears in the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". In October and November 2006, Stanley embarked on a theater tour in support of Live to Win. His touring band was the house band from the CBS TV show Rock Star , composed of Paul Mirkovich (keyboards), Jim McGorman (guitar), Rafael Moreira (lead guitar), Nate Morton (drums), and Sasha Krivtsov (bass). In April 2007, Stanley extended the tour to include Australia, playing in Coolangatta, Wollongong, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. Portions of the tour were filmed for a documentary titled Paul Stanley: Live to Dream by the Chicago-based Film Foetus. [16] The band's performance at the House of Blues in Chicago was captured on film and released in 2008 on DVD and digital audio download formats as One Live Kiss . [17]

In 2008, Stanley sang a duet with Sarah Brightman, "I Will Be with You", on her Symphony album. In 2016, he guested in Ace Frehley's covers album Origins, Vol. 1 , singing "Fire and Water" by Free. [18]


Possessing a tenor vocal range, Stanley tends to sing in the high registers and is known for his far reaching falsetto . [19]

Other projects

Stanley and Thayer in concert with Kiss at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California in 2006 KISSPaulStanley0846-1000.jpg
Stanley and Thayer in concert with Kiss at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California in 2006

In 1999, Stanley starred in a Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera , in which he played the role of the Phantom. He appeared in the musical from May 25 to August 1, and again that year from September 30 to October 31, 1999. Stanley made his debut as a painter in 2006, exhibiting and selling original works of art. Stanley collaborated with Boston-based power pop group Click Five on their hit single, "Angel To You (Devil To Me)".

In the past, Stanley has been asked to produce albums for Poison but he was never able to commit due to his work on Kiss projects.[ citation needed ] However, Stanley did produce a debut album for the band New England. Their first single from that album in 1978 "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya" reached the Top 40 in 1979. [20]

On August 15, 2013, Stanley, Gene Simmons and manager Doc McGhee became a part of the ownership group that created the L.A. Kiss Arena Football League team, which plays their home games at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The team folded in 2016. [21]

In April 2014, Stanley published his memoir, Face the Music: A Life Exposed ( ISBN   978-0-06-211404-4). [3] [22] [23] [24] In the memoir, Stanley, who is Jewish, [25] accused former bandmates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss of antisemitism. [3] [26]

In 2012, Stanley partnered with Gene Simmons and three other investors to form the restaurant franchise Rock & Brews. [27]

Personal life

In 2001, Stanley's first wife, actress Pamela Bowen, filed for divorce after nine years of marriage. They have one son, Evan Shane Stanley, born on June 6, 1994. On November 19, 2005, Stanley married longtime girlfriend Erin Sutton at the Ritz-Carlton, Huntington in Pasadena, California. Their first child, Colin Michael Stanley, was born on September 6, 2006. The couple’s second child, Sarah Brianna, was born on January 28, 2009, in Los Angeles. [28] On August 9, 2011, their third child, Emily Grace, was born. [29] [30]

When he was 30 years old, Stanley had reconstructive surgery for his right ear done by Frederic Rueckert, who had been performing the procedure primarily on children. The new ear was formed from cartilage from one of the singer's ribs, with skin grafts put over it. Stanley said the surgery had given him "a new lease on life" and was so grateful to Rueckert that he gave the doctor a Rolex watch upon his retirement. [31] Because of his birth defect of microtia, Stanley is an ambassador for the charitable organization AboutFace, an organization that provides support and information to people with facial differences. He has appeared at fundraising events and in videos to raise awareness. [32]

Stanley has had two hip-replacement surgeries: one after the "Rock the Nation" tour in October 2004, and a second in December 2004 after complications arose from the first surgery. He has announced in 2005 that he will require a third hip surgery in the future. He regards the degeneration of his left hip as partly the product of thousands of shows performed in platform boots since the early 1970s.[ citation needed ]

In October 2011, Stanley had surgery on his vocal cords. He said, "I hold myself to a higher standard than others do. With that in mind, I wanted to remedy a few minor issues that come with 40 years of preaching rock 'n' roll." [33]



Studio albums

Live albums

with KIϟϟ

Guest appearances

Related Research Articles

Kiss (band) American hard rock band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with its elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons being the only members to feature in every lineup. The original and best-known lineup consists of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss

Peter Criss American drummer

George Peter John Criscuola, better known by his stage name Peter Criss, is a retired American musician and actor, best known as a co-founder, original drummer, and vocalist of the hard rock band Kiss. Criss established the Catman character for his Kiss persona. Criss possesses a powerful, raspy voice. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Kiss.

Ace Frehley American musician best known as the former lead guitarist and founding member of the rock band Kiss

Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician and songwriter best known as the original lead guitarist, occasional lead vocalist and co-founding member of the rock band Kiss. He invented the persona of The Spaceman and played with the group from its inception in 1973 until his departure in 1982. After leaving Kiss, Frehley embarked on a solo career, which was put on hold when he rejoined Kiss in 1996 for a highly successful reunion tour.

Eric Carr American musician

Paul Charles Caravello, better known by his stage name Eric Carr, was an American musician and multi-instrumentalist who was the drummer for the rock band Kiss from 1980 to 1991. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss departed, when he chose the stage name "Eric Carr" and took up The Fox persona. He remained a member of Kiss until his death from heart cancer on November 24, 1991, at the age of 41.

<i>Kiss</i> (Kiss album) 1974 studio album by Kiss

Kiss is the debut studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on February 18, 1974. Much of the material on the album was written by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, as members of their pre-Kiss band Wicked Lester. Simmons estimated that the entire process of recording and mixing took three weeks, while co-producer Richie Wise has stated it took just 13 days.

<i>Rock and Roll Over</i> 1976 studio album by Kiss

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<i>Love Gun</i> 1977 studio album by Kiss

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<i>Dynasty</i> (Kiss album) 1979 studio album by Kiss

Dynasty is the seventh studio album by the American rock band Kiss, produced by Vini Poncia and released by Casablanca Records on May 23, 1979. It was the first time that the four original members of Kiss did not all appear together for the entire album.

<i>Creatures of the Night</i> 1982 studio album by Kiss

Creatures of the Night is the 10th studio album by American rock band Kiss, released in 1982. It was the band's last for Casablanca Records, the only label for which Kiss had recorded up to that point. The album was dedicated to the memory of Casablanca founder and early Kiss supporter Neil Bogart, who had died of cancer during the recording sessions. It is also the band's last album recorded with Ace Frehley credited as an official member and their first album with Vinnie Vincent as the initially-uncredited lead guitarist. It was also Kiss' last album to feature the band with their trademark makeup until the 1998 release, Psycho Circus.

<i>Psycho Circus</i> 1998 studio album by Kiss

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Rock and Roll All Nite 1975 single by Kiss

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