KISS singer PAUL STANLEY accused of lip-syncing
Manager Doc McGhee responds
KISS‘s longtime manager Doc McGhee has defended Paul Stanley‘s vocal performance on KISS‘s “End Of The Road” tour, explaining that the “Star Child” “fully sings to every song” at every concert.
Ever since KISS‘s “End Of The Road” trek launched in January 2019, there has been persistent online chatter about Paul allegedly singing to a backing tape. The speculation stemmed from the fact that Stanley had been struggling to hit the high notes in many of the band’s classic songs for a number of years.
Speaking to the Syncin’ Stanley YouTube channel before Stanley‘s February 4 appearance at Wentworth Gallery in Boca Raton, Florida, McGhee discussed claims that KISS is using pre-recorded tracks during its farewell tour. He said about Stanley: “He sings every track. So he sings to it. So he’s not lip syncing. He fully sings. It’s enhanced. It’s just part of the process to make sure that everybody hears the songs the way they should be sang to begin with. Nobody wants to hear people do stuff that’s not real, that’s not what they came to hear.”
When Syncin’ Stanley asked McGhee to clarify if he is “actually saying there are backing tracks that Paul is singing to,” Doc said: “He’ll sing to tracks. It’s all part of a process. Because everybody wants to hear everybody sing. But he fully sings to every song.”
Last June, a rare “mistake” by KISS drummer Eric Singer during the band’s concert in Antwerp, Belgium revealed what some fans were saying was proof that KISS is using pre-recorded tracks during its performances.
Several KISS fans who attended the group’s June 6, 2022 show at Sportpaleis shared video of KISS kicking off the set with “Detroit Rock City”, the classic song that has consistently served as the live opener for the band’s live performances in recent years. At the end of the track, Singer, who has played with KISS on and off since 1991, apparently “forgot to rest for a measure,” according to YouTube commenter Austin Ogonoski, “instead continuing to play the standard beat for two additional measures. ” After “Eric realized he messed up,” he “began the drumroll/breakdown a measure late,” which “meant Paul‘s vocal track was out of sync with what the band was actually playing,” Austin explained. “Paul‘s track played ‘Everybody’s gonna leave their SEAT,’ completely out of sync with the song and when nobody was at a mic.”
Four years ago, former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach defended KISS against claims that the band is using pre-recorded tracks during its farewell tour, saying that Stanley sang “his ass off LIVE” during a concert in California. “I have seen way more obvious use of backing tracks than with KISS,” Sebastian wrote on Twitter.
FOZZY frontman Chris Jericho also defended Stanley‘s vocal performance on “End Of The Road” tour, saying that the “Star Child” “has nothing to prove to anybody.” Jericho explained: “He’s one of the greatest rock and roll singers of all time. I think that’s something that anybody would say. I would much rather have him use the technology that’s available to not sound like he’s hurting himself, which then makes me not enjoy the show as much.”
Bach‘s comments came just hours after MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx called out another band for using taped vocals during its live performances after it previously derided other groups for doing the same thing.
Sixx wrote on Twitter: “Certain band out on the road right now putting other bands DOWN and saying that they are a REAL rock band, no background singers,and other old people cranky comments except his lead vocals are on tape.People in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks. #GetOffMyLawn #WizardOfOz”
Most fans assumed that Sixx was referring to KISS, especially since Gene Simmons had previously slammed bands who used backing tapes for not being honest enough to include that fact on their concert tickets.
After KISS played on NBC‘s “America’s Got Talent” in September 2018, Stanley was asked by Rolling Stone if that was actually a live performance or if he and his bandmates tracked it earlier. “What you tend to do is record it live and that way you know that everything is as it should be,” he responded. “It’s not like going into the studio or anything like that. It’s…with all its imperfections, it’s live.”
Sixx has been open about his band’s used of taped vocals during live concerts, saying, “We’ve used technology since ’87.” He added the group employed “sequencers, sub tones, background vox tracks, plus background singers and us. MÖTLEY CRÜE also taped stuff we can’t tour with, like cello parts in ballads, etc…. We love it and don’t hide it. It’s a great tool to fill out the sound.”
In a 2014 interview, MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist Mick Mars admitted that he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that his band used pre-recorded backing vocals in its live shows, claiming that he preferred to watch groups whose performances are delivered entirely live. “I don’t like it,” he said. “I think a band like ours… I have to say ’60s bands were my favorite — ’60s and ’70s bands — because they were real, like, three-piece bands or four-piece bands, and they just got up there and kicked it up. Made a mistake? So what? Sounded a little bit empty here or there? So what? It’s the bigness and the rawness and the people that developed and wrote the songs and made them and presented them. To me, that’s what I really like. I mean, I could put on a MÖTLEY CD and play with it all day long. I don’t wanna do that.”
Back in 2015, Simmons slammed bands who used backing tapes, saying: “I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks. It’s like the ingredients in food. If the first ingredient on the label is sugar, that’s at least honest. It should be on every ticket — you’re paying $100, 30 to 50 percent of the show is on backing tracks and they’ll sing sometimes, sometimes they’ll lip sync. At least be honest. It’s not about backing tracks, it’s about dishonesty.
“There’s nobody with a synthesizer on our stage, there’s no samples on the drums, there’s nothing,” Gene continued. “There’s very few bands who do that now — AC/DC, METALLICA, us. I can’t even say that about U2 or THE ROLLING STONES. There’s very few bands who don’t use backing tracks.”
KISS‘s current lineup consists of original members Stanley and Simmons, alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).
Formed in 1973 by Stanley, Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, KISS staged its first “farewell” tour in 2000, the last to feature the group’s original lineup.
In a recent interview with Yahoo! entertainment music editor Lyndsey Parker, Stanley touched upon the fact that the “End Of The Road” tour was originally scheduled to conclude in July 2021. He said: “This tour, interestingly, seems to go on forever. That’s because we lost two years to COVID. People go, ‘Oh my God. This tour…’ Well, yeah, there’s two years that didn’t count. And it’s a big world. So, there’ve been some countries that I thought we were finished with, and the fans and the promoters wanted us to come back. So we have shows to do.
“The end is in sight — more so than some people know,” Stanley confirmed. “But we’ll have an announcement about that in the not-too-distant future.”
Asked if the KISS farewell tour will end with the band’s July 15 performance in Norway, which is the last listed tour date on the official KISS web site, Paul said, “It would only make sense for us to play the States, and I think it would make sense that we would end where we started,” strongly hinting that the final concert will take place in New York City.
As for whether he thinks it will be emotional for him to play the final KISS show, Paul said: “More so than I know. There’s gonna be some tears shed, for sure.
“You’ve gotta remember that Gene and I started this together when I was 17 and he was 20, 21. It’s 50 years later. We’ve lived pretty interesting lives, and we have families and children and huge sales in terms of albums and concerts. So it’s a big part of who we are; it’s a big part of our lives. So, that final show, yeah, that’s momentous. And it’s gonna hit harder than I think we know. And we know it’s gonna hit hard.”
Asked whether the last concert of KISS‘s “End Of The Road” tour will truly mark the band’s final performance or if there is a chance of one-off shows or a Las Vegas residency in the future, Stanley said: “I really can’t say. But it is the last of any kind of regular shows or touring.
“It’s just time,” he explained. “And in the same way, it’s time consuming. And physically, it’s grueling to do what we do. Hell, if I could go out on stage in my jeans and a t-shirt, give us another 10, 15 years easily. But what we do is a whole different sport. I mean, we’re athletes; we’re running around on stage with 30, 40, pounds of gear, and it’s not possible to do it that much longer. So we’re not like other bands.
“So, will we do more shows or one-offs? I really have no idea,” Paul admitted. “But this is a real clear mindset that the touring days and doing those kind of shows, that’s over.”