KISS is known for far more than eccentric costumes and face paint— their musical impact has made them one of the best-selling bands of all time. Founding member and lead vocalist Paul Stanley, aka “The Starchild,” helped build KISS from the ground up. But how much does being a rock icon actually pay?
From starting KISS in 1973 to their farewell tour in 2022, Stanley has remained one of the biggest names in rock music. Outside of KISS, he has also led an impressive solo career with two of his own albums. He recently started a new band, Paul Stanley’s Soul Station, dedicated to paying tribute to the greatest songs in R&B and soul history.
Between his musical ventures, Stanley also wrote a New York Times bestselling memoir, Face the Music: A Life Exposed.
With 50 years of musical achievement under his belt, Stanley’s career is nothing short of legendary, and his net worth reflects that. In 2022, his net worth sits at $200 million, according to celebritynetworth.com— more than half the total net worth of KISS.
KISS has sold over 100 million records worldwide in its nearly 50-year history. With 20 studio albums, 9 live albums, 14 compilation albums, and 60 singles, KISS’ music has impacted generations of listeners. In 2015, they became the first band to have 30 Gold albums certified by the RIAA. Among these albums, 14 were Platinum, and three were multi-platinum.
In addition to their records, KISS has also headlined nearly 40 tours, which includes KISS’ current 2022 farewell tour, The End of the Road World Tour. In 2021, their net worth as a band was $300 million. This has no doubt increased with the addition of their final tour as a group.
Stanley has always been a driving force in KISS as the band’s guitarist and co-lead vocalist. He is a co-writer on many of the band’s most popular songs like “Do You Love Me?” and “Hotter than Hell.” Additionally, he has almost never missed one of their famously outrageous live performances. In fact, the first KISS concert he ever missed was in 2007 when he was hospitalized with tachycardia.
While the band first became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, they were not inducted for nearly 20 years. Because of this, the Hall of Fame would only honor the band’s original four members, even though KISS had several different lineups in that time. In protest, the group did not perform at their induction in 2014. But, they were inducted regardless.
Stanley has the second-highest net worth of his bandmates. Gene Simmons, or “The Demon,” currently holds a net worth of $450 million dollars, beating both Stanley and KISS.
Since Stanley and Simmons created the band together in 1973, they are both considered co-owners of KISS. Drummer Eric Singer, “The Catman,” and guitarist Tommy Thayer, “The Spaceman,” entered the band later, so their net worths are smaller—$18 million and $10 million respectively.
Stanley has released two solo albums over the course of his career. In 1978, he released his debut self-titled album, Paul Stanley. However, the album was never meant to be a departure from KISS. Stanley did not release another solo project for nearly 30 years.
In 2006, he released a second album on his own, Live to Win. With such a long break between the two solo projects, Stanley noted how much he changed as a musician. “My perspective and where I’m at in my life at this point, and what I’ve experienced and seen, brings something else to the table that wasn’t there then,” he said. “But I still look back on that album as a really great snapshot of who I was and what I was doing then.”
The title song, “Live to Win,” was also used in a South Park episode.
When asked if he plans on releasing more solo music after KISS, he replied that he never knows when inspiration will strike again. “I never know what’s coming next. That’s the beauty of life. Nobody knows what will happen this afternoon,” he said.
In 2014, Stanley released a memoir titled Face the Music: A Life Exposed. He takes readers through his life onstage and off through personal anecdotes and KISS’ most iconic moments. Growing up with a condition that left him partially deaf, no one expected Stanley to pursue music. From becoming an unlikely vocalist to running around onstage in heels surrounded by pyrotechnics, Stanley gave KISS fans the whole story.
Face the Music: A Life Exposed debuted at No. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list. It became an international bestseller within weeks of its release.
Sir Elton John described the book as, “Both honest and inspirational. Amazing tales from one of rock’s great frontmen.” Fellow rock legend Dave Grohl added, “Paul is a great man who has achieved great things. From the Popcorn Club all the way to the Hall of Fame, his story is inspiring and motivating for anyone who dreams big.”
When asked why he wanted to write a book, Stanley expressed that he wanted to be honest with fans about who he really is. “I think that true strength comes from having no secrets. When you shed them you become much stronger,” he said.
Stanley’s latest project is Soul Station, a new band he formed centered around R&B and soul music. The 15-piece group released their first album, Now and Then, in March 2021.
While Stanley has always loved blues music, he did not feel qualified to make an R&B album on his own. He founded Soul Station for “some of today’s leading musicians to pay tribute to the greatest artists and songs from the R&B and soul catalog to keep this vital music current.”
“Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown and so much more,” said Stanley when describing his inspiration for the band. “I was lucky to see Otis Redding and Solomon Burke among others. That music and its storytelling gave me strength and hope even in some tough days. The great classics of that era are magical medicine for the most and I felt myself drawn back to that era for some sorcery I think we could all use.”
It is safe to say that Stanley’s music career is far from over. Although KISS is still on their farewell tour, he plans on continuing his work with Soul Station in the future.
His whopping $200 million net worth is certainly well-earned, but his legacy and influence on music are priceless.
Photo by Brian Lowe