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If Kiss Started Today? ‘We’d Be F—ed,’ Says Paul Stanley

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Kiss founder Paul Stanley, echoing his bandmate Gene Simmons‘ much-discussed “rock is dead” declaration, says the group wouldn’t stand a chance if it tried to start its career today.

“We’d be f—ed, in plain English,” he explained during a extensive two-hour video interview with Joe Rogan. “Because the music industry as it exists today isn’t even an industry, it’s just shambles. And now artists are in a position to have to take what the public, so to speak, is willing to give them.”

A good portion of their conversation concerned the changes brought about by digital technology, with Stanley taking strong exception to file sharing becoming an accepted evil of the music business: “File sharing is just a fancy way of saying stealing. You can’t share what you don’t own. It’s like me saying, ‘transportation borrowing,’ and I steal your car.”

While he’s quick to agree that the resulting loss of legal physical or digital sales revenue won’t particularly affect his bottom line, Stanley scoffs at the notion that artists should concede this battle and instead simply expect to make up the difference with ticket and merchandise sales — “Who are you to decide where I get my money?” He also expresses concern for younger bands, which he says “don’t have a chance in hell of ever getting that pot of gold.”

Stanley also pondered how hard it would be for Kiss to try and maintain their secret identities — as the makeup-wearing group did throughout their ’70s heydey — in a world where everybody has a camera phone. “Now, you have paparazzi, [who] are a breed at this point, whereas back then, you could literally have somebody take your photo, and we would have guys run over and pull the film. You can’t do that now. It was uncharted territory.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s planning on hiding behind a team of bodyguards, a path some of his peers have chosen. “That stuff is so pathetic, and it’s born out of a bunch of spineless artists who need to be propped up by people around them to make them feel important. If you just went about your business, no one would give a s—.”

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