Paul Stanley (Kiss) talks about his troubled childhood and birth condition:
“It’s easy to say my life was tough. But there are lives that are so much tougher, and I think that ultimately what it comes down to is, ‘Do you want to be a victim or do you want to win?’ It’s very easy to see yourself as a victim and say, ‘Poor me,’ and that the only person whose life has ever compromised is yours.
“So you can do that, or you can roll up your sleeves and make things right. I’ve always been a fighter, always somebody who wanted to see the bright side of things. So although I had a birth defect and certainly was scrutinized quite a bit and made fun of and what have you that kids tend to do – and sometimes adults, actually.
“I’m deaf on my right side. So it made school very difficult. Because I couldn’t really understand what people were saying. If there’s a crowd of people, I’m at a complete loss. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, we went out to dinner – my wife and I with a group of people – and she kind of leaned over and heard, I was humming songs. I was in my own world because I couldn’t hear.
“But I was also very fortunate that I grew up in a family where my mom was born in Berlin and fled when the nazis came in, and my dad was first-generation from Poland. So in Europe, music and the arts are very, very essential. It’s part of your life, it’s not a luxury, it’s part of who you are – it’s like bread.
“So I grew up in a family going to museums, listening to music. The first music I heard was Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto. I heard Schumann, Mozart…”