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Paul Stanley Hails, Criticizes New York City’s Scene on ‘Sonic Highways’

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An invitation to appear on the New York City-based finale of Dave Grohl‘s ‘Sonic Highways‘ series opened up a treasure trove of memories for Paul Stanley. Kiss came of age during one the city’s golden eras of music in the ’70s, a period when Electric Ladyland Studios and the Fillmore East attracted every big name in rock.

Even as Kiss began to work their way into that pantheon, Stanley tells Rolling Stone, they were in awe of the scene.

“I remember when Kiss was in the studio,” he says, “I was in the waiting area just taking a break — and Jimmy Page came out of studio A at that time they were mixing ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ and he knew who I was. For a kid from Queens who sat in the audience spellbound watching them play, it was a transcendental moment to suddenly be on his radar. That was one of those moments that I don’t forget.”

As for appearing on the celebrated HBO documentary series, Stanley was more than happy to participate. “Some people are hams,” he quipped. “I’m the whole pig.”

That said, Stanley doesn’t hold back on his criticism for some of New York City’s artsier, scene-based music contributions from that period followed.

“The music became the soundtrack for what they were wearing as opposed to really working at their craft. Most of what was coming out of New York was not world-class music,” Stanley adds. “There were all these artsy bands that perhaps had more in common with Rimbaud and Kerouac than they did with Elvis Presley — and if you want to read poetry, that’s great, but it’s not rock ‘n’ roll, and it just doesn’t have balls. The roots of rock ‘n’ roll are below the belt, and if too much of it is above the belt, it ain’t rock.”

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