Stanley Eisen (born January 20, 1952), better known by his stage name Paul Stanley, is an American hard rock guitarist, singer, musician, painter and songwriter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and one of two primary lead vocalists of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's highest-charting hits. Stanley established the "Starchild" character for his Kiss persona.
Before Kiss, Paul Stanley was in a local band, Rainbow (not to be confused with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) and was also a member of Uncle Joe and Post War Baby Boom. Through a mutual friend of Gene Simmons', Stanley joined Simmons' band Wicked Lester in the early 1970s. The band recorded an album in 1972, but as of 2010 it has not been officially released (although songs from the album appeared on Kiss's 2001 box set). Wicked Lester soon fell apart and Stanley and Simmons placed ads for a drummer and a guitarist in various New York papers. This resulted in Peter Criss and Ace Frehley joining the group, and they named themselves Kiss. Kiss released their self-titled debut in February 1974.
Stanley's persona in Kiss was "The Starchild" utilizing one star over his right eye. For a brief time, Stanley changed his make-up character to "The Bandit", with a "Lone Ranger" style mask design make-up pattern. This make-up design would only be used during a few mid-1973 shows, soon to be replaced by the now famous "The Starchild" make-up design and persona. In his book Sex Money Kiss, Gene Simmons admits that Stanley was the driving force for Kiss during the makeup-free 1980s, while Simmons was feeling lost without his demon makeup and was distanced from the band while attempting to launch a film career.
In 2006, Stanley resumed his association with Washburn Guitars and using the Washburn PS2000. Previously, he has had four signature guitars made by Silvertone, and tweaked the Ibanez Iceman to his specifications, calling it the PS10.
In 2007 (prior to the final show of the Hit 'N Run Tour on July 27), Stanley was hospitalized with tachycardia. In his absence, Kiss performed live as a trio for the first time in decades. Previously, Kiss performed as a trio at Studio 54 in New York City for an international satellite broadcast on January 28, 1982, lip-syncing the song "I" from Music from "The Elder" for the Italian Festival della canzone italiana, also known as the San Remo Festival, when Ace Frehley failed to show for the performance due to what was described at the time as a "mystery illness". The July 27, 2007 concert is the first Kiss concert Stanley has missed during his 34 year tenure with the group.
In September 2007, Stanley took part in Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp as a guest star for his second time in New York City. In 2009 Paul Stanley recorded 3 voice ads for the charity KARS4KIDS. Stanley continues to tour with Kiss; the KISS 2010 The Hottest Show on Earth Tour (a continuation of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour which was itself a continuation of the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour) which started March 2010 and ended at Guadalajara, Mexico in October.
Stanley has very rarely recorded or performed outside of Kiss. Stanley wrote and recorded material for a solo album in 1987–88, which was shelved in favor of the Kiss compilation, Smashes, Thrashes & Hits. While never officially released, songs such as "Don't Let Go" and "When Two Hearts Collide" have circulated as bootleg recordings. One song from the project, "Time Traveler," was released as part of the Kiss's 2001 box set.
In 1989, he embarked on a brief club tour. His touring band included guitarist Bob Kulick and future Kiss drummer Eric Singer. Also in 1989, Stanley loaned his voice to the title track for the soundtrack of the Wes Craven horror flick "Shocker".
In 2005, a bootleg CD began circulating entitled People, Let Me Get This Off My Chest: The Very Best of Paul Stanley's On Stage Banter. The fan-made disc compiled 70 tracks worth of Stanley's distinctive song introductions and on-stage banter.
Twenty-eight years after releasing his first solo album (as part of the four simultaneously released Kiss solo albums), Stanley released a second album, Live to Win, on October 24, 2006. The title song of his solo album, "Live to Win", appeared on the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". In October and November 2006, Stanley embarked on a theater tour in support of Live to Win. His touring band was the house band from the CBS TV show, Rock Star. The band appeared on both seasons of the show – Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova. The band was composed of Paul Mirkovich (keyboards), Jim McGorman (guitar), Rafael Moreira (lead guitar), Nate Morton (drums), and Sasha Krivtsov (bass). In April 2007, Stanley extended the tour to include Australia, playing in Coolangatta, Wollongong, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. Portions of the tour were filmed for a documentary titled Paul Stanley: Live to Dream by the Chicago-based Film Foetus. The band's performance at the House of Blues in Chicago was captured on film and released in 2008 on DVD and digital audio download formats as One Live Kiss.
In 1999, Stanley starred in a Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera, in which he played the role of The Phantom. He appeared in the musical from May 25 to August 1, and again that year from September 30 to October 31, 1999.
Stanley made his debut as a painter in 2006, exhibiting and selling original works of art.
Stanley has microtia, his ears have a deformity of the pinna (outer ear). He is an ambassador for the charitable organization AboutFace, an organization that provides support and information to individuals with facial differences and has appeared at fundraising events and in videos to raise awareness.
In 2001, Stanley's wife, Dallas native Pamela Bowen, filed for divorce. They have one son, Evan Shane Stanley, born June 6, 1994. On November 19, 2005, Paul Stanley married longtime girlfriend Erin Sutton at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington in Pasadena, California. They had their first child, Colin Michael Stanley, on September 6, 2006. The couple had their second child, Sarah Brianna, on January 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. On February 25, 2011, the couple announced that they are expecting their third child, a girl, in August 2011.
Stanley has had two hip replacement surgeries: one after the "Rock the Nation" tour in October 2004, and a second in December 2004 after complications arose from the first surgery. He has announced that he will require a third hip surgery in the future. Stanley regards the degeneration of his left hip as partly the product of thousands of shows performed since the early 1970s.