KISS LEGEND PAUL STANLEY
by Eric McKenna
Write or speak the name and just about everyone knows who you are talking about. I think that fact alone speaks for itself. Paul, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley set the world on fire in 1973 and spoke for an entire generation. I’m in that generation. I lived it. I experienced it. And now – I’m working with Paul Stanley. Sound amazing? It is.
I’m not going to go on and on about what KISS and Paul have done. It’s already out there – everywhere. However, I do want to make a note that the working relationship BSG has with Paul is all the more amazing to me because Paul is not only my favorite member of KISS but has always been the ‘ultimate’ rock and roll frontman as well as the essence of what a ‘rock star’ was and is to this day. Paul is Paul. Always was – always will be. The voice, the lyrics, the songs, the stage moves, the drama – Paul *IS* Rock and Roll to me.
In the summer 2006, Rudy Schlacher and Larry English of USMusic Corporation (Washburn Guitars) called to inform me that Paul wasreturning to Washburn. I guess they got a bit tired of me constanting reminding them what a TREMENDOUS idea it would be for Washburn to work with Paul again!
Having followed Paul’s career as well as the guitars he has used through his career, it was amazing to meet with him a few times and discuss some of the guitars of his past and how he wanted to build on certain aspects and virtues of guitars he has enjoyed in the past.
When Washburn and Paul presented me with the first of Paul’s design ideas, the Preacher, I was admittedly a bit taken back. I had expected to work on anew KISS guitar or a reissue of the PS2000. Plus, Washburn already has a tremendous single cut guitar in the Washburn Idol.
It was after talking with Paul a bit as well as seeing and playing the Preacher that I began to understand the idea – and the logic.
With the Preacher, Paul and Washburn are taking a more traditional route to single-cut guitar perfection. While the Washburn Idol is an amazing guitar – it is a ‘different’ guitar then the industry’s long time standard – the Gibson Les Paul. And the Idol does offer playing, comfort and feel advantages over the Les Paul. No question.But again – the Idol ‘feels’ and ‘plays’ like a different guitar than the Les Paul. It’s a more progressive single cut.
The Washburn Paul Stanley Preacher competes with the Gibson Les Paul in a different fashion. With the Preacher, Paul designed the guitar to have a more ‘traditional’ feel. And a more traditional look. While at the same time, truly creating a ‘unique’ single-cut guitar. If a guitar can be called ‘sexy’ – the Preacher’s shape is certainly that. Paul vision for hissingle-cut was to provide him that traditional feel and tone of some of his vintage Les Paul guitars but now with a guitar that is easier to play as well as provides ‘look’ that sets it apart from so many other guitars.
Boogie Street commissioned two runs of top end Korean built Preachers. Each run was comprised of 50, numbered Preachers. The first run was the PS8500BSG1 in black. And Paul actually played one of these Korean preachers – LIVE – during theOZ leg of his ‘Live to Win’ tour. The second run was the PS8500BSG2. On the USA Custom Shop front, we commissioned a run of 8 stain finished ‘Padauk’ Preachers. Then a run of 8 gloss finished ‘Padauk’ Preachers. Then up is a run of all mahogany, satin finished PS5 Preachers. Exclusive to BSG. And future BSG USA Custom Shop runs include the ‘Angelic Preachers’,the ‘Crimson Preachers’ and a few other surprises coming in 2009 and 2010.
Paul and Washburn have decided to re-release the Washburn PS2000 Series guitars on the USA Custom Shop front in 2009. And Boogie Streetwill certainly lead the way. Also, there may be a ‘New’ Paul Stanley KISS stage guitar as well.
As you know, I work closely with Bernie Rico Jr. BSG is Bernie’s largest dealer. I’ve gotten to know Bernie very well and it’s amazing to hear the stories of Paul working with Bernie’s father, Bernie Rico Sr, founder of BC Rich guitars. Bernie Sr made Paul guitars in the early to late 80′s. Many of these classic guitars were played on KISS stages from the Creatures of the Night era all the way to the Revenge tours. Bernie Jr has expressed thesincere affection his father had for Paul and how Paul did so much to help BC Rich in the 80′s.
So as you can see, BSG is actively working with Paul – constantly. And I must share he is quite a great guy to work with. You know the old stories where someone will get a chance to meet their childhood hero or idol only to be disappointed? Or sometimes, disgusted? Well, I will share with you that Paul exceeded my opinion of him. He is a wonderful guy. Generous with his time and ideas. He is a savy businessman as well as great familyman. I’ve had pleasure of meeting his son Evan a few occasions and what a wonderful young man.
While Paul’s success and status in the music and Hollywood circles places him a different arena that most of us, I can tell you he is a humble and down to earth person. And a person who knows his guitars! I’m very much looking forward to the creations between Paul, Washburn and BSG in the coming years. Come along for the ride!
Visit Paul at www.PaulStanley.com
Visit KISS at www.kissonline.com