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Kiss' Paul Stanley pours his heart and soul into other band, new album
By Gary Graff
email@example.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte
Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2021
See more SOUND CHECK
Kiss' Paul Stanley did not form his other band, Soul Station, with the intention of making records.
But he's not surprised it turned out that way on March 5 the group releases its first album, "Now and Then."
"We were a band doing live shows that finally got into the studio because of how much fun we were having," Stanley, 69 who created the anthem "Detroit Rock City" 45 years ago explains by phone from Los Angeles. "It really is like a family of really diverse individuals who love the same music and wanted to do it justice. And as an additional treat, we get along great.
"I just felt the band was so great and has so much to offer that we should go do an album."
Stanley, of course, was already a rock 'n' roll icon before the 10-piece Soul Station started rolling back in 2018.
He formed Kiss during the early '70s in New York, teaming with bassist Gene Simmons to guide the band through 48 years, 20 studio albums, worldwide sales of more than 75 million albums and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2014. Outside the group, meanwhile, Stanley released a pair of solo albums, guest-starred in a Toronto production of "The Phantom of the Opera," wrote a memoir (2014's "Face the Music: A Life Exposed") and co-owns the Rock & Brews restaurant franchise.
He formed Soul Station which includes Kiss drummer Eric Singer as an outlet for another of his musical passions, separate from Kiss' brand of riffy power rock.
"I like pasta, but it doesn't mean I want to eat it three times a day and music should be the same way," Stanley explains. "I've always been aware of many different genres of music, and I think to expand the music youre making you have to bring in influences, consciously or unconsciously, from things that you listen to that are unlike what you normally do."
Stanley does acknowledge some sense of mission in Soul Station's reverent treatment of music from the canons of Motown, Philadelphia International, Stax-Volt, Atlantic Records and other legendary catalogs of the '60s and '70s.
"We were very committed to going out and playing these songs that, unfortunately, have been relegated to being short samples in rap tunes and things of that sort instead of people getting to experience how amazing this music is," he explains. "As soon as we start any of these songs, you just hear either sighs or gasps or people just being transported back to remembering songs they may have forgotten, too.
"Really, the idea initially was to go out and do these (songs) justice. That didn't mean mimicking them. It meant doing them accurately, but doing them with passion and understanding and understanding the intent of the songs."
Soul Station's acumen is demonstrated on "Now and Then's" versions of the Five Stairsteps' "O-O-H Child," the Spinners' "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," the Temptations' "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears," the Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving" and others. But the set also features five originals that it's fair to say Stanley poured his, er, soul into.
"As we were recording and results were so great, I thought, 'Let me write one tune so we have not just all these classic old songs,'" Stanley recalls. "And when I finished it and we recorded it, it sounded so good that I thought, 'Let me write another,' and that went on for five songs.
"I think it's great because we're so rooted in those great classics, and the new tunes don't sound like updated versions. I know that music so well that to wrote those (new tunes), it wasn't difficult at all. They sit so well next to those other tunes, it's seamless."
With Soul Station shuttered by the pandemic, Stanley and company have made a series of performance videos to promote the album. "It's a good start, because I think beyond the music, seeing the chemistry and camaraderie of the band is also key to it," he says.
Meanwhile, he's optimistic that Soul Station will be able to play some shows live certainly before the massive Kiss machine revs up to resume its End of the Road World Tour.
"It probably will be sooner than one might expect," Stanley says. "Kiss really can't go out for a while ... and right now we really don't know when things will reach a point where we can have real mass audiences attending. So between now and that time it will be time for Soul Station to play given the right parameters and the right precautions."
And while Kiss which played a virtual New Year's Eve concert in Dubai will certainly be back, Stanley reiterates that he and Simmons aren't kidding about the tour being the end of the road for the band.
"Mortality and physicality and the finite nature of life makes you realize at some point there are certain things that can't be done forever," he notes. "And running around in eight-inch platform boots, wearing 30 or 40 pounds of gear is one of them. So better that we acknowledge that and get a chance to spend one more evening with the people who have supported us. This is an opportunity for us to know that this is the last go-round and appreciate it together with the fans.
"And as soon as the coast is clear, we'll come back."
Kiss' End of the Road Tour, with David Lee Roth opening, is scheduled to play Sept. 1 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Independence Township. Tickets on sale via 313Presents.com. Tickets for the postponed 2020 show will be honored.
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