Licking it up with Paul Stanley

By Mike Ritchie

Photo: (l-r) Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Paul Stanley, and (above) Eric Singer erupt Aug. 22 at the Nutter Center photo courtesy of PMK-BNC Entertainment

Dayton, it’s going to be a long nite. One of the world’s hottest bands returns to the Nutter Center Monday, Aug. 22, on the Freedom to Rock tour celebrating 40 years of Kisstory. They’ve played Dayton over 15 times: 1975’s Dressed to Kill tour, Hara Arena in the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s, and at the Nutter Center since ’92’s Revenge Tour.

The Freedom to Rock tour is about giving back to the brave men and women of the armed forces, honoring their commitment and sacrifices to ensure our freedom. Kiss will honor hometown military heroes at each show. They’ve partnered with Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) to salute members of the National Guard and Military Reserve in 30 U.S. cities during the 2016 run. Kiss will hire an active National Guard or Reserve member to be a “Roadie for a Day” at each stop. Limited free and discounted tickets are available for local veterans and families through

“We call this the Freedom to Rock tour and part of that is recognizing the military,” singer/guitarist Paul Stanley says. “Many think that freedom is free. The military is under-appreciated and vets don’t get what they deserve when they come home. The Freedom to Rock Tour is a great opportunity to spotlight the people who make this country great,” he continues. “It’s a great opportunity to go back to cities that we haven’t visited in a long time, do an amazing show, and salute the people who make this country what it is.”

Stanley says there won’t be a Kiss farewell tour: “I think farewell tours are vastly overrated, and historically turn out to be not the case.”

Kiss is alive and well in 2016. “I would [have] imagined it in 2010, but not 2016,” Stanley says. “To think that in the beginning, we would still not only be alive and kicking, not only surviving but thriving. I think it’s a testament to the passion of what we do and the connection we have to an audience. The people deserve to get bang for buck in every way possible. I think we were a wake-up call to fans of what they should expect. It’s clear that Kiss is in every rock band’s DNA that’s out there. Any band can buy special effects, bombs, and lasers, but no other band can be Kiss.”

Stanley recalls Dayton’s part in Kisstory: “I remember Hara Arena. One of the first places the band became huge. All of a sudden, we were consistently selling out shows. You know Dayton, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron have always been great. We’ve always been welcomed, virtually from the very beginning. Coming back means we have a big responsibility to live up to. I can say without hesitation the show will put to rest any questions anyone has anytime we hit the stage. It’s not only to live up to people’s expectations and the legend, but to surpass it.”

The Revenge Tour was Kiss’s first stop at Nutter. “It was great,” he remembers. “Every tour is memorable. They all had their own high points that made them unique. The Revenge Tour with the Statue of Liberty was cool. To be able to come back and revisit the people that were there and newer fans, it’s incredible.”

On the origins of the Starchild character, he says, “It’s just me. I’ve always liked the image of the star. I’m not a ham; I’m the whole pig. I like being up there and leading the charge. I like preaching at my pulpit and carrying the star on my face, [which] has always been an emblem of who I am.”

And, there’s a new spider stage design for the show, as well. “[It] was a sketch I came up with at the end of one of our shows,” Stanley elaborates. “It’s a way to incorporate the lights into the stage set. I thought, ‘Why can’t the lights be part of the stage?’ This particular system is similar to what we used in the ‘Kiss Rocks Vegas’ DVD. It’s a terrific, awesome stage and I think it’s gonna blow people away.”

On updating “Phantom of the Park” to a “band approved” version, Stanley jokes, “Why mess with ‘Gone with the Wind’? I still scratch my head at the end of that film. I smile about it more than I once did. It’s one of those lessons where you go in expecting one thing and come out with something very different. It was explained as ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ meets ‘Star Wars,’ and we drank the Kool-Aid. At that point, we were totally clueless to what acting entailed, and we proved [it]. There aren’t many bands that have films. It [was] another great snapshot in this photo album.”

Stanley recently played with Ace Frehley in Hollywood, sparking rumors of an original lineup re-union. Will it happen? “No, and with no animosity do I say that,” Stanley insists. “Things have moved on. I had a great time playing with Ace, doing the track, shooting a video, reconnecting in a much nicer way. It’s great to maintain that connection and friendship and look back on all we did together.”

Kiss performs Monday Aug. 22 at the Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway in Dayton. Show starts at 7:30, doors open at approximately 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50, $89.50, or $125. The Dead Daisies are also on the bill. For more information, please visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at

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