Latest KISS makeover pays off for tireless rockers

Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:26pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paul Stanley surveys his home high in the hills overlooking Los Angeles and proudly dubs it "the house that bad reviews built."

But the KISS frontman is a mere visitor, relegated with his young family to a rental down the hill while contractors complete a renovation that's miraculously on-budget and on-time.

His own band has undergone quite a few make-overs since the costumed, face-painting quartet formed in New York 37 years ago, not all as smoothly executed.

Stanley, 57, and fellow bandleader Gene Simmons, 60, are the only two constants in KISS, touring relentlessly with a revolving cast of guitarists and drummers. Their last studio album, 1998's "Psycho Circus," was cobbled together with the help of outside songwriters and session musicians.

The duo, both sons of Jewish refugees who instilled them with vigorous work ethics, have formed one of the more enduring -- and lucrative -- bonds in rock 'n' roll. They even live about two minutes' drive from each other, although Stanley says he's been to Simmons' house perhaps four times in the past decade.

"We're very close as family," he said. "You can love your brother and not want to see him all the time."


As the rock-star manse speeds toward completion, KISS also seems to be on a roll. A new studio album, "Sonic Boom," debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. pop chart on Wednesday, the band's highest ranking ever. Some 108,000 copies were sold in the first week.   Continued...

<p>U.S. rock band Kiss' guitarist Paul Stanley performs during their concert at the Parque Simon Bolivar in Bogota, 11 April 2009. The concert is part of the band's tour to celebrate their 35th anniversary. REUTERS/John Vizcaino</p>