Paul Stanley helped to form Kiss in 1973 alongside Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. They have become one of the most successful American bands from all time with an estimated amount of more than 100 million records sold worldwide.
What is Paul Stanley’s opinion on Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page
Kiss released their debut album in 1974, only five years after Led Zeppelin released their groundbreaking first record. Even though the two groups are almost from the same generation, those five years were enough to influence the young Paul Stanley that had the chance to saw Zeppelin playing live in New York City (His hometown) when Kiss didn’t even existed yet.
Stanley went to see Zeppelin when the British group was still promoting their self-titled debut album in 1968. He among the 2000 people that were at the New York State Pavilion that night. He recalled that experience in an interview with 89.3 KPCC radio not long after the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).
“I saw them play for under 2000 people. Probably in 1968 or so at the New York State Pavilion, which was at the World’s Fair in New York. It is as close to a religious experience. I would count in one hand, you know. This amazing spiritual marriage of sexuality and music.”
“They were the embodiment at their height of everything. That’s the essence of Rock and Roll. You can call it Heavy Metal or anything you wanna call it. But the basis of it was Robert Johnson, through Elvis played through a bid Marshall amplifier. It was pretty incredible”.
“There was a few moments that I remember as turning points, defining moments. Watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan was one of them, seeing Led Zeppelin at that show was clarifying for me. It was ‘I will never be that good, but that’s what I want strive for,’” Paul Stanley said.
Paul Stanley said that Led Zeppelin is the reason why most Rock bands exist today
The influence of Led Zeppelin in Rock and Roll music undeniable and as Paul Stanley told Artisan News in 2012 during the red carpet for the primeire of “Celebration Day”, the live album and DVD from Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion, he thinks that most Rock bands wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for the British group.
“They wrote the book, you know. They are the reason most bands are here today. Their DNA is in everyhting that everybody does. They were so innovative and such visionaries.”
“Anybody that calls that Heavy Metal, that’s sacrilege. They are truly World Music. They grew up absorbing so much of what they loved. You have a band that is rooted in Appalachian music, Blues, Rockabilly, Classical Music, it’s all there,” Paul Stanley said.
He is a huge Jimmy Page fan and friend, that also had the chance to watch The Yardbirds live with the guitarist
Paul Stanley was lucky enough to have seen dozens of famous groups in the late 60s in New York City. The first time that he actually saw Jimmy Page live on stage was not with Zeppelin, but with The Yardbirds a few years before that.
“I was fortunate, as a kid I saw Otis Redding, which – he was magic. And you hopefully know the difference when you’re in the presence of greatness as opposed to just an entertainer. So Otis was amazing. I was also very fortunate I saw the Yardbirds with Jimmy Page and that was something really, really monumental for me.”
Paul Stanley continued:
“Of course I saw Zeppelin in ’69 and that was transformative. As I would put it that was god’s work. When you see a band that is so tied to each other and the synergy within the band and not only the music but the sexuality of the band. Everything was so potent and so perfect that was a transformative moment for me. Probably more than any other was seeing Zeppelin live really when I believe they were at their peak.”
“(…) Seeing Jimmy play some of Jeff Beck’s riffs after Jeff had left The Yardbirds was something we talked about. And I think Zeppelin, for me, are the ultimate in a band that was pretty much capable of anything,” Paul Stanley said.
In the same interview he was questioned about the debate between fans about which band was better: Led Zeppelin or Kiss. The musician quickly replied saying: “[Laughs] And I of course would go Zeppelin.”
Paul Stanley and Jimmy Page are good friends
Paul Stanley and Jimmy Page are good friends and they always meet each other when Kiss tours in England. From time to time, the American musician post on his social networks a new photo with Page when he is visiting England.
In 2022, Stanley shared more of his love for Page during Q&A session as “Kiss Kruise”. “The guy who I respect the most and had the most impact on me is Jimmy Page… Jimmy’s Beethoven. Jimmy is so far beyond. When people say, ‘Oh, all respect to a lot of other hotshot guitar players,’ they’re guitar players. Jimmy Page is a brilliant cinematographer. He’s a brilliant arranger. He paints with sound.”
“There’s lots of guys. They say, ‘Well, who’s better: [Eric] Clapton or…?’ Jimmy Page is in a class totally by himself. And there’s loads of great guitar players, but he’s so far beyond that. Plus, it’s amazing, ’cause I was a 17-year-old kid seeing them in 1969 and it was life-changing — it changed my life.”
Paul Stanley continued:
“I couldn’t believe how great they were. I couldn’t believe that the bar could be that high. And to be at this point in my life where I go out to dinner with Jimmy, or Jimmy sends me texts, or says to me, about KISS he goes, ‘You guys are a serious, kick-ass rock and roll band.’ Well, it doesn’t get better than that.”
“It’s not always the obvious thing that makes a song. It’s not always the obvious thing that makes anything great. Whether it’s a painting or a song. When people say, ‘Oh, Zeppelin, that’s, like, heavy metal or something. Give me break.”
“Those songs are paintings. You think you’re hearing one big guitar. You’re not. You’re hearing a little guitar with another guitar behind it, and it’s all layered. And that’s the brilliance. I think that too often in all kinds of things that we do in life. We think it’s what we see, and it’s very often what’s behind what we see. It’s very often what’s behind what we hear. It’s not what we think it is. That’s where I think a lot of people fail,” Paul Stanley said.
Jimmy Page already went to Kiss’ concerts
Whenever Kiss is in England, Jimmy Page tries to besides chating with Stanley, to go see them live. Talking with Lipps Service in 2020, Stanley recalled the one time that Page went to see them. The musician recalled that when he was giving his opinion on Greta Van Fleet, the American band formed in 2012 that is compared a lot to Led Zeppelin, because of their vocals and sound.
“Oh yeah, I saw Zeppelin in 1969 in August. It was as close to a religious experience as I’ll ever have. It was the synergy and the sexuality and the power that was coming off the stage – it was mystical.”
“What they were creating sonically was just – it was crazy. I mean, Robert [Plant] was singing notes that it was just inconceivable to hit those notes full voice and effortlessly, and Jimmy [Page] was…”
Paul Stanley said:
“I mean, the whole band was possessed in the best way. That was pivotal for me. Because I realized that that was a bar that was set that I could never reach. But you should always reach for it. Somebody has to set a standard, and whether or not you can reach that standard or go beyond it. It’s important to know that it exists.”
“But life is so interesting. Because there I was, watching Zeppelin, and then you go to 40 years later and Jimmy’s at the show in London watching me. It is amazing how life works,” Paul Stanley said.