Paul Stanley Reveals Why Kiss Was ‘So Much More’ Than Aerosmith

Paul Stanley said Kiss wasn’t always taken seriously as a band. He compared Kiss to Aerosmith. He subsequently said Kiss was “so much more than” Aerosmith. Notably, the two classic rock bands worked with the same producer.

Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, and Tom Hamilton standing in front of a wall
Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, and Tom Hamilton | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Paul Stanley on why journalists did not respect Kiss

In his book Face the Music: A Life Exposed, Stanley discussed the way critics reacted to Kiss. He said the press didn’t always take the band seriously. He said this was partly because Kiss was “a phenomenon.”

“The interesting thing was the way that for some people being a phenomenon didn’t correlate with being a band,” he said. “As if it undermined our credibility — as if the impact of the image, the logo, and all the press eclipsed what was otherwise as good as a lot of bands the critics did love. Journalists constantly dismissed us with the same basic argument — if we were any good musically, we wouldn’t need any of the visual effects. What never seemed to occur to them was the possibility that we were good and that we wanted and loved all the rest.”

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Paul Stanley compared his band to Aerosmith

Stanley compared Kiss to Aerosmith. “Our closest contemporaries were Aerosmith,” Stanley wrote. “The difference was how we were viewed. They were a rock band, and we were so much more.

“In some quarters there was more credibility in being a rock band, but the impact of being an all-encompassing phenomenon was more widespread and diverse,” he added. “It made us more interesting to newspapers and magazines, little kids, and preachers.”

Kiss' Paul Stanley with a brown background
Paul Stanley of Kiss | Michael Putland/Getty Images

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Kiss made a successful album with an Aerosmith producer

Aerosmith’s connection to Kiss extended beyond Stanley’s comparison. Kiss recruited producer Bruce Fairbairn to work on its 1998 album Psycho Circus. Psycho Circus was the first Kiss album to feature all four of the band’s original members — Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley— since the 1979 album Dynasty. The album also marked the band’s return to its signature makeup. Fairbairn previously collaborated with Aerosmith on hits like “Love in an Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” and “Amazing.”

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Psycho Circus gave fans with a fondness for the original line-up a dose of nostalgia. It became a big hit for Kiss. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. Although the album itself was popular, none of the songs from Psycho Circus hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Psycho Circus was also a modest hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the album peaked at No. 47 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for one week. None of the singles from Psycho Circus charted in the U.K. Stanley said Kiss was so much more than Aerosmith, but that didn’t stop Kiss from working with an Aerosmith producer.