Live Preview: Kiss

Paul Stanley looks forward to the US rock titans’ Donington Park appearance – and tells us why they won’t be wallowing in nostalgia.

You’re headlining Download for the first time since 2008. What can we expect?

An even better show than last time. This is a band that gets better with age and loses none of its punch. We’re well prepared to take on any of the current crop of bands – we’re by no means a nostalgia act. There was a time when the phrase ‘classic rock’ meant over-the-hill, worn out bands, but now ‘classic rock’ has ascended into something brilliant.

Kiss’s first appearance at Donington was in 1988, when you were second on the bill to Iron Maiden. What do you remember of that day?

I remember that it wasn’t Kiss as its very best. We were on during the day, and we didn’t even have our standard show at that point when we were out of make-up. But in some ways Donington is a great type of boot camp, because you can’t depend upon anything other than guts and glory to make something work.

Will you be bringing over your full US stage show?

The full show and more. Look, if we have the honour of closing Download after three nights, you better believe that we need to bring it, and need to justify being the last band that everyone there is going to see. As a band that’s never been known for subtlety, believe me, we’ll be pulling out all the stops.

Would you ever consider basing a set on one classic album. Destroyer, say?

Well, I think that’s a novel and interesting idea, but I don’t know that rock’n’roll is supposed to be ‘interesting’. That sounds a bit philosophical to me, a bit from the head, as opposed to below the belt. I don’t think that really great rock’n’roll lends itself to doing that. The idea of doing one album in a stadium or arena seems a bit stiff and predictable.

Have you ever thought of putting on your own festival – Kiss-fest?

I really have no desire to do anything of that magnitude. Life’s too short, and the older you get the shorter it gets, so I like to pick and choose wisely what we do. I’d be dealing with too many idiots.

Classic Rock 211: News & Regulars

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.