It started with the cheerleaders.
“We have great dancers, and they’re not cheerleaders,” said Paul Stanley of Kiss, who along with bandmate Gene Simmons owns the L.A. Kiss of the Arena Football League. “Cheerleaders have almost become adolescent and asexual, totally neutered. We wanted to have girls who were women. And they’d better dance.
“I don’t want the girl next door, I want the girl you wish were next door.”
Stanley and Simmons certainly have taken a crash course in the differences between music and sports. Their progress and struggles in the team’s inaugural season are on display in their reality series 4th and Loud, which debuts Tuesday, Aug. 12 on AMC.
“In music there isn’t that overt competition, that at the end of your tour you’re pegged a loser,” Stanley observed. “If you went on tour with the thought, ‘Are we going to make the semi-finals?’ it could very much colour your tour. You aren’t declared the runner-up at the end. Nobody is watching all the tours and knocking people out of the running.”
4th and Loud begins with the earliest days of the L.A. Kiss, when things were more hopeful in terms of wins and losses. We now know that the team went 3-15 this season.
“(Losing) is very disheartening,” Stanley said. “For somebody who was not from a sports background, look, in life I don’t like to lose. There are parts of this that are completely out of my hands, so you have to be able to let go. Losing is disappointing. But winning is exhilarating.
“I would love for us to win, and that will take longer than we thought.”
On-field performance aside, is 4th and Loud a winner? Well, as one might expect, the most interesting stretches are when Stanley and Simmons feature prominently.
“We are the Tiger Woods of (arena football), baby – before Tiger, you didn’t care about golf,” Simmons said. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus might disagree, but we digress.
“Every once in a while you get a sports purist because they love that thing that they love, whether it’s football or anything else,” Simmons continued. “And they get into the holier-than-thou, ‘I know more minutia than you do, validate for me why you belong in this thing.’
“Churches don’t do that. Why not treat sports and rock ‘n’ roll (that way)? What we do is electric church. You don’t have to know any of our songs (to enjoy a Kiss concert or an L.A. Kiss game). All are welcome. That’s a much healthier idea.”
Speaking of ideas, did Simmons and Stanley ever consider having the players wear Kiss makeup?
“There are some pragmatic reasons why our great athletes should not be wearing the Kiss makeup,” Simmons said. “For one thing, you’ve got to earn it. Secondly, it has to be real football, not stuff going into everybody’s eyes while they are running on the field and getting tackled, not a good idea.
“But you’ll see lots of Kiss around it. You want the football to be legitimate, and around it, we’ll give you all the bells and whistles and all the stuff that makes Kiss the most iconic band of all time.”
Stanley said the idea for the reality show occurred after he and Simmons decided to own the team, not before.
“But it clearly made a lot of sense,” Stanley said. “There were some boundaries, however. For me, reality television is an oxymoron. You either have reality or you have television. To waste my life creating a fake life, to compromise or give up reality to create a false reality, I had no interest in cameras in my kitchen. You know, a show built around little Johnny breaking his finger, when they just broke it for him before the cameras were rolling, I didn’t want that.
“So this very much documents the evolution of the team from inception. The things that go on with some of the guys, your head goes batty.”
So what does Kiss know about sports now that it didn’t know a year ago?
Stanley paused, then said, “That ultimately you’re only as good as your doctor.”