“AC/DC are the real deal”: Kiss frontman Paul Stanley picks his favourite AC/DC album – but what’s he gone for?

Paul Stanley in 2021, AC/DC live in 1982
(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

The new issue of Classic Rock celebrates 50 years of AC/DC, half a century of riffs, rambunctiousness, schoolboy uniforms and some of the greatest rock’n’roll music ever created. Joining a roll call of rock’s finest including Joe Elliott, Cheap Trick’s Rich Nielsen, Biff Byford, Airbourne’s Joel O’Keeffe to celebrate the band’s genius is Kiss frontman and guitarist Paul Stanley, who waxes lyrical about the Aussie icon’s gargantuan 1980 album Back In Black.

“When Brian Johnson joined AC/DC, I was curious – like everyone was – about how that would impact the band and the chemistry they had with Bon Scott,” says Stanley. “But what they created with Back In Black was just monumental. The way that album starts with Hells Bells, it hit me like the first time I heard Black Sabbath – like, ‘Holy shit!’ With Back In Black the band’s sound was polished to some degree. They were building on what they’d done before, moving forward. That kind of bare-bones grit they had in the early days was replaced with this driving sonic overload. But it was so brilliant. I thought what was gained overrode what was lost.”

By that point, Stanley was already a big AC/DC fan, having seen them perform in Los Angeles a few years before. “AC/DC are the real deal and I knew that from the first time I saw them,” he says. “It was at the Whisky A Go Go in LA, sometime in the mid-seventies. They were so gritty, and the adrenaline level was just crazy. The amount of energy that Angus was expending on stage was mind boggling.”

To read the full piece, including Stanley’s recollections of the time Kiss took AC/DC out as their tour band and what he thinks is the key that makes them one of the all-time great bands, order the new issue of Classic Rock here.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.