Paul Stanley is many things: Singer-guitarist in Kiss, painter, philanthropist, musical theater adept, author. He’s also, indisputably, one of the all-time masters of rock & roll stage banter. By turns rousing, hilarious and non-sensical (and always entertaining), Stanley knows exactly how to keep the concert energy high even when the band is between songs. In honor of our new cover story (online in full here now!), here are 20 of his most delirious declarations taken from the viral bootleg collection Let Me Get This Off My Chest. By Melissa Horn
On Chest, Paul introduces "Lick It Up" with a question: "How many of you girls like to get licked?" The crowd roars. Then, naturally, he asks, "Guys? How many of you guys like to get licked?" The crowd roars again. Thus emboldened, Paul proposes some reciprocal slobbering: "You lick me, I lick you." It's only right now.
So audience-specific is Stanley's banter that he even thought to reference a Swedish holiday tipple while performing in Stockholm. Hearing him pronounce the word's umlauted "ö" in his Noo Yawk accent is an auditory delight all its own.
As an early outpost of the KISS Army and one of the recording spots for the career-making Alive! album, Detroit played an important role in KISStory, and Stanley took a moment to acknowledge the city's, um, embrace of the band.
"My goodness" is common Paul Stanley exclamation, often delivered with the nasal outer-borough chutzpah of a Queens bubbeleh.
Another quick-witted riff from the consummate verbal improviser. Here, Paul makes a punning joke on Toad's Place, the name of the Connecticut club at which he was playing.
Stanley asked this seemingly rhetorical question to an audience in Richmond, which is either damning with faint praise or a real eff-you to Roanoke.
Usually strong on city-specific stage banter, Stanley also occasionally likes to drop in a geographical near-non sequitur, as is the case here, when he tells an audience in San Antonio, Texas, "I know this isn't the dairy state, but you grow 'em big here!" There's good value too in the way he drawls the line with the playful tone sof a drag show MC.
Paul informs an audience that he's been measuring their volume levels throughout the show. But to what end? Who crunches these numbers? Are there three decades' worth of decibel charts sitting in Paul's garage? One can only hope.
Paul turns idle small talk about the weather into a segue for "Hotter Than Hell."
More weather-related banter, as Stanley notes that a dip in temperature might lead to "a little rock'n'roll pneumonia," and then the band detonates "Doctor Love."
In this pre-"Love Gun" riff, Paul lets loose a volley of double entendres, introducing his "pistol," his "six-shooter of sex," his "uzi of ooze." You know what he's talking about, Pittsburgh!
Tony Byrd is a famous guitar tech, and according to Stanley, also pretty good with Kool-Aid.
This was Paul's pointed introduction to a performance of "Shout It Out Loud" — and an unintentional synopsis of the band's entire musical oeuvre and secret to its success.
Undaunted by a less-than-perfect performance from an Atlantic City audience during a sing-a-long, Paul graciously granted his fans a second chance. They nailed it.
"It's my heart," he wisecracks. It doesn't get much cornier than that Borscht Belt-style bait-and-switch, but some classic Starchild enthusiasm helps this line get over.
The best part about this is that it actually happened. The Kiss collaboration with the orchestra resulted in a live album called Kiss Symphony: Alive IV. Truly a contender for the line with the least likely odds of ever being uttered by a member of the band when they got together back in 1973.
Paul gives a humbly-sized audience — "the smallest crowd we played for" — a strangely endearing pep talk before launching into "Lick It Up."
Paul Stanley believes rock'n'roll can do a lot of things, but he's also not making any false promises.
No clue what election in particular Stanley was talking about, but he added, "if we win, we get to rock'n'roll all night and party every day!" Which is platform to believe in.