Kiss band frontman Stanley is best known for being an encyclopedia of soul music knowledge and his mission to preserve and celebrate classic tunes as well. And during his recent interview, Paul Stanley talks about how they foster a sense of togetherness with Soul Station along with Kiss band touring plans ahead. He also explains how Motown influenced Kiss songs as well during the conversation.
Paul Stanley has spent his last few years developing Soul Station as a band gathering some of today’s leading musicians. The band pays tribute to the biggest artists and songs from the soul and R&B catalog along with keeping the vital music update as well. And Stanley has managed to turn this passion into a touring and recording band, although it has been a big surprise for so many people. Soul Station has already toured the U.S. and Japan before it also released an album recently, that includes nine classic soul songs and five new original songs, titled Now and Then.
So, Paul Stanley talked about the latest album of Soul Station and how Motown influenced Kiss songs as well in his recent interview with Rolling Stone. He also touches on the subject of whether Kiss will resume the ‘End of the Road‘ tour or not, along with more.
Now and then is like the songs on the radio
Paul Stanley says how “The 81″ had been forgotten that his bandmates from Kiss eve questioned its existence. So he goes on to relay the history of “The 81” saying he sent Gene Simmons a link to the soul song. Stanley also explains why Simmons’ comparison to Martha Reeves was an accurate one.
“He said, ‘There’s no song called that.’ I said, ‘Yeah, there is!’ I sent him the song and he said, ‘It sounds just like Martha and the Vandellas.’ It was about dance. From what I understand, they were patterning Martha and the Vandellas’ song ‘In My Lonely Room.’”
Soul Station was originally formed as a performing act, but soon enough Stanley has been convinced to assemble the players also for a recording session. So they came up with five original songs belongs to the band along with eight covers like “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Let’s Stay Together,” and more.
Kiss frontman Stanley also describes the songs of ‘Now and Then’ as joy and optimism like he used to hear on the radio while growing up in Queens.
“The first time I heard the Five Stairsteps do ‘O-o-h Child,’ there was this innocence about it and this hope that things would get better: ‘We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun.’ It’s so eloquent in its simplicity and honesty.”
How did Paul Stanley choose the songs for the album?
During their conversation, Stanley is also asked how he has chosen the cover songs as well.
“I wanted songs that when we played them live, brought people together, gave people a sense of togetherness, either a familiarity that would connect them to their past or a special time or to the person that they’re with now or were with then. I wanted to stay away from the shouters if you will, and that’s not to minimize their voices. You know Dennis Edwards (the Temptations’) is great and Wilson Pickett and Edwin Starr, and… The list goes on and on, but I wanted songs that brought people closer together when we were doing the shows. I loved the lush quality and the orchestral arrangements and songs that deal with relationships.
I’ve never been big on masculinity being based on flexing your muscles. I think masculinity comes from being able to show vulnerability and that’s what some of these songs do so well. It’s somebody not being ashamed to say that they miss somebody or they wish they had done things differently,” he answers. Then continues talking about his motivation while arranging and writing the Motown songs.
We needed something to bridge this music and bring it into the present. I want the band to be rooted in the past, but not to live there solely. This wasn’t painted by numbers and mimicry. This wasn’t an impersonation. It wasn’t the Rich Little of Motown.”
How his love for soul music has influenced Kiss songs
Paul Stanley talks about Kiss songs and how they are influenced by soul music back in the days as well. Followingly, he also expresses how was it like to perform alive during a pandemic. As many of us know, Kiss already played its first concert on New Year’s Eve in Dubai.
“When you create music, you’re using a recipe. You may be winging it, but the music is based on all its ingredients. Those ingredients may not be in equal proportions and some may be surprising, but that’s what helps with the uniqueness. When we wrote ‘Shout It Out Loud,’ we were very clear: ‘Well, the night’s begun and you want some fun/Do you think you’re gonna find it — think you’re gonna find it!’
We knew it as we were doing it: ‘Oh, cool. This is Four Tops.’ There’s a song on the Unmasked album called ‘What Makes the World Go Round.’ It’s basically a Spinners song but done in a different way,” he says and continues to tell their concert in Dubai.
Stanley talks about their concert experience under strict Covid guidelines, too
“That was a unique situation where the protocols and all the safety conditions were all met and adhered to very, very vigilantly. That’s not practical or possible elsewhere. That was a stage that was built there. That wasn’t a traveling stage. It took 500 people to put it together. And everybody was literally daily Covid-tested. So it was a hoot and a lot of fun and got us the chance to flex our muscles and really reinforce and reinstate what this band is.
That being said, the prospects of going out to play in the foreseeable future are dim at best. And that’s not just for us. That’s for any band. The health concerns, the lack of promoters being able to get insurance. Who’s going to give insurance to a promoter to get, you know, 10, 20, 100,000 people shoulder to shoulder? And enough cities, states, or countries are not going to allow that anyway. So we seem to be traveling towards the light in the tunnel, but we’ve got a long way to go yet. I’m hopeful that on a smaller scale it’ll be possible for Soul Station to go out. You have to see this band live to really get it”
What about Kiss’s End of the Road tour resume?
Before he finishes, Paul Stanley looks ahead for Kiss’s End of the Road tour plans and explains also how he feels and thinks along with.
“We were 120 shows into it and having a ball (when the pandemic began). I mean, most of the time when you lose somebody or the situation changes, you find yourself saying, ‘Gee, if I had only known,’ whereas here, you have a situation where we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t continue [as a touring band]. It’s not feasible. If we were wearing jeans and T-shirts, we could do this into our eighties or nineties, but we’re carrying around 40 and 50 pounds of gear for a couple of hours. There’s an age factor, which makes it more real for people who may have doubted the idea of the ‘end of the road.’
But that in mind, it gives us a night with people where we really get to share what we built together. … So the End of the Road, I don’t see it as bittersweet. I see it as sweet. And will there be tears? Sure. But oh, my God, look what we’ve been given. And from what the fans say, look what we gave them. It’s unlike other bands.”
Son, don’t you worry about you have unfinished business with Kiss anyway. It still will be coming for you eventually!