Robert Scott of New Zealand’s The Breeze conducted an interview with KISS frontman Paul Stanley ahead of the band’s Auckland concert. They chatted about Paul’s view on reviews, what’s kept KISS going for all these years, what’s left to achieve, working with Gene Simmons, drugs, his sexuality, his kids, retirement and New Zealand wine.

On the best thing about working with Gene Simmons for so long:

“The best thing… Hmm… I have to pause… I think the security and the familiarity. There’s no substitute or anything that comes close to being with somebody for forty-some-odd years, you know — forty-six years, I think, at this point. So, that is a blessing; it really is a blessing to have that kind of relationship. And also within that, you define the terms of it and the boundaries. And I think what works so well for us is giving each other space and respecting our individuality, because we’re very, very different. As different as we once were, we’ve certainly become more that, or stronger in our differences. So I think the best part is everything that’s grown out of forty-six years together.”

On whether he and Gene Simmons have always had a no-drugs policy:

“Speaking for myself, when I was much younger, certainly there was some pot smoking and stuff like that, and one or two pills of different sorts. But you have to remember that there was a time where… I don’t wanna say drugs were more pure, but there was less chemistry and less bootleg and counterfeit stuff floating around. And we didn’t have the kind of data we know exists now that tells us that certain things will just lead down a terrible path. But I found out very quickly and very early, not because of personal experience, but by looking around me and seeing people die — people I knew dying at young ages from drugs and excesses. And then I saw people’s careers derailed by drugs and excesses. So I think you have to be an idiot, or have a predisposed illness of sorts… which is not a deragotory thing to say, but some people just are… have a kind of like a bent chemically or psychologically towards addictions. I’m not one of those people, and to jeopardize my life or my future, my health, it just never made sense. I mean, to me, it’s so illogical, and yet I’m not necessarily saying that holds true for other people, but for me, it just… it made no sense to see what was killing other people and saying, ‘Sign me up.”

On the craziest rumor he ever heard about himself:

“Well, the oddest, to me, was always — and it’s always persisted over time — is that I’m gay. And it’s an interesting thing, because if I were, I’d be proud to be whatever I am. As long as you’re a good person, sexual orientation and stuff like that is totally irrelevant. But, that being said, besides having four children, honestly, I never saw a guy where I said, ‘Gee, that’s a close second to a woman.’ Honestly, I never looked and said, ‘You know, if I can’t have that girl over there, I’m taking the bloke,’ you know what I mean? So that’s always been really interesting — that some people can’t find a way to take my comfort with sexuality to misreading it as something it’s not. But, that being said, I more scratch my head at that. So that’s always been something that was, and is, persistent. And I just kind of go, ‘Well, the boys may not understand, but the women always did.’ They got it in more ways than one.”