KISS Frontman On Staying Relevant After 40 Years

In the 34-minute Wall Street Journal documentary below, Lee Hawkins asks Paul Stanley of KISS and other artists how they plan to stay relevant. These interviews come at a time when the music industry has experienced major changes over the last decade. Music sales now represent just a small part of many artists’ income, and the charts are topped with dance music instead of rock and roll. Those who remain relevant will likely rely on building a profitable brand through touring, social media, and merchandising.

Despite all the KISS-related merchandise and marketing tie-ins, Stanley told last year that he never worries the band name is branded on too much stuff.

“It’s misleading because of the volume of things we have, that KISS is just a schlock house,” Stanley said. “The truth of the matter is, we have pride in everything we do. At the core this is a rock ‘n’ roll band, but we don’t put our name on anything that we don’t believe in, or that the fans don’t believe in.

“People sometimes say, why do you have things like KISS sleeping bags? Because a fan asked for it. We’re not great merchandisers — we’re great listeners. We give the fans what they want. If that’s a crime, I’m ready for my trial.”

When asked what makes the KISS brand endure like it does, Stanley said, “KISS is a timeless truth. It was true 100 years ago and it will be true 100 years from today. It’s all about self-empowerment, it’s about believing in yourself and believing that the only thing in the way of you and your dreams is hard work. We believe a great work ethic will pretty much get you wherever you want to go.”

He added, “KISS will outlive me, for sure. What we’ve done is create a way of thinking, an ideal that hopefully will go on beyond me and the other guys in the band because the idea is bigger than any individual.”