UtsSanDiegoThe Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger and Keith Richards? Unthinkable.
Metallica without James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich? Ditto.
But Kiss without Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, who co-founded the larger-than-life band in 1973 and have co-led a dozen different lineups since then? Not a problem.
“The band is bigger than its members,” said Stanley, who performs Sunday with Kiss at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre. “And it only takes, in this case, four like-minded people with a similar outlook and talent to further the cause and continue Kiss. It makes perfect sense to me. It may not make sense to other bands, but we’re not other bands. We don’t live by those rules. We never have.”
Might Stanley (born: Paul Stanley Eisen) be concerned that he and Simmons (born Chaim Witz), both 62, are growing too old to rock ’n’ roll all night?
“I’m damn good at what I do,” the singer and guitarist said, speaking from a tour stop in San Antonio. “But do I think I’m the only person capable of doing what I do? Absolutely not. I’m not talking about a clone (of me), but somebody with the same passion, drive and love for the music I love. So, can I envision a time when I won’t be here anymore? Absolutely. It’s not tomorrow, or next week. But when it happens, I would be celebratory. Because it would prove that I was right and that Kiss is exactly what I believe it is: an ideal, a way of performing, a point of view. It’s an attitude, and the respect and love (we have for) our audience.”
Attitude — and lots of fire-breathing chutzpah, literally and figuratively — have been key components of Kiss for the past four decades.
During that time the New York-bred band has sold close to 100 million albums worldwide and scored such hard-rocking hits as “Shout It Out Loud” and “Calling Dr. Love.” The group, which refers to its fans as the “Kiss Army,” has also inspired everyone from Garth Brooks and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails to former San Diegans Matt Cameron and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.