Dad found it hard to face the music, says Kiss star

Mike Cohen
4 min readFeb 23, 2021

Jewish Telegraph, May 2019

FAMILY PRIDE: Paul Stanley posted this picture of himself at a recent Kiss concert with his father William before his 99th birthday. “The oldest and coolest man ever at a Kiss concert,” he wrote on his website. PICTURE: paulstanley.com

ROCK star Paul Stanley believes his father, William Eisen, had a hard time reading his 2017 autobiography Face The Music.
In the introduction to his new book, Backstage Pass (HarperOne, £20), the Kiss frontman writes: “There was a time I wished my father would die.
“Before my mom (Eva) passed away, my dad was not a nice person. He was difficult to be around and very angry.
“So I hoped he wouldn’t be around — and that his death would be a quick solution to the ugliness that was happening between my parents and tainting so much around him.”
But since the release of his first book, he now says to his dad, “I wish you could be here forever”.
He added that his now-99-year-old father struggled to read Face The Music “because I talked so openly about the misery I experienced as a child, the lack of support I got at home and the problems between my parents — the constant fighting and lack of affection.”
He continued: “What I left out of Face The Music was the fact that, despite his flaws, my dad was well intentioned.”
After the massacre at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue last year, Stanley took to Facebook to talk about his parents: “I grew up in a household in which my mother as a young girl fled Berlin with her parents to escape the Holocaust that loomed.
“They later fled Amsterdam for the same reason and with effort, luck and I believe the grace of God, came to America to pursue the dream this country offered.
“My dad is a first generation American Jew whose parents emigrated from Poland. My early remembrances as a child were of my parents’ friends with numbers tattooed on their arms who bore witness to atrocities that 6 million others would never be able to speak of.
“Mothers, fathers, children and infants all tortured and systematically murdered for their proud heritage and choice of worship.
“Shockingly, I have met Holocaust deniers over the years who either find the magnitude of persecution of Jews over centuries incomprehensible or would rather because of some twisted agenda choose to minimize or rationalize it.
“Say what you will but now is a time for us all to put aside divisive, hate filled rhetoric on all sides and realize that we will all reap what we all sow.
“My heart goes out to all the innocent victims of not only this slaughter in Pittsburgh but of all hate filled crimes against the innocent everywhere.
“We are now in a frightening and dangerous time for society. But there is always hope in realization. We all have power. We created this. We must end it. All of us.” (sic)
Stanley discusses his mixed marriage in Backstage Pass, which is published on Thursday.

He explains that as wife Erin is Catholic, it was important for them to talk about the issue early in their relationship.
He writes: “The biggest impact of not hashing it out wouldn’t have been on us; it would have been on our children.”
He added that he’d been told that kids in interfaith marriages felt they didn’t belong to either religion.
Stanley felt that his children should be raised Jewish “and only Jewish”.
He writes: “But over the years I found that what I owe myself and my children is perhaps different from what I was told I owed myself and my children, or what my family or relatives expected.
“So in my case, even if it sounds odd, we tell our children they’re 100 per cent Jewish and 100 per cent Catholic.”
He added that by embracing his wife’s heritage and background, “I embrace my children”.
Stanley — currently on a three-year Kiss farewell tour — said he feels a responsibility to teach his children about the Holocaust.
He has also told his kids that Chanucah is not a “poor man’s Christmas”.
He said: “Every year before we light the candles I have to tell them the story of Chanucah and what it means, and the stories of Antiochus and Judas Maccabeus and the oil that lasted for eight days instead of only one.”
Stanley reveals that daughters 10-year-old Sarah and Emily, seven, like to wear yarmulkes, while rock star son Evan lights candles when he is away from home.
His children were all baptised while Evan, 24, also had a “joyous” barmitzvah. Another son, Colin, is 12.
Stanley doesn’t agree with the view that Judaism is matrilineal.
“I’m Jewish, and if I’m Jewish, then my child is Jewish,” he writes. “Whether or not everyone agress with that is irrelevant.”
The Kiss End of The Road tour arrives in the UK in July.
paulstanley.com

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Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories