Paul Stanley Remembers How His Love for Guitar Started Thanks to Musician Eddie Cochran

Although helping form the iconic band KISS, Paul Stanley had no idea what the future held for the band. Wanting nothing more than to showcase his love for music, the musician watched as KISS hit new levels of stardom. While gaining criticism along the way for their lyrics, concerts, and intense outfits, the group eventually sold over 100 million albums and landed a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Discussing his long career in music and touring with KISS for nearly 50 years, Stanley recalled first getting into music thanks to Eddie Cochran. 

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While carving out his own place in music, Stanley once was nothing more than a fan looking on from the outside. Speaking with Mark Agnesi on The Collection, the musician took the host on a tour of his amazing guitar collection. He also took Agnesi on a trip into the past and where it all started. “When I was a little kid and I saw Eddie Cochran on TV. For some reason, he seemed like an even more dangerous Elvis [Presley]. There was something about him that was rogue and seemed ruthless, a great attitude. ‘Summertime Blues’ and ‘C’mon Everybody’.”

Growing up around musicians, Stanley thought himself to also be musically talented, but at the time, he insisted,  “I grew up in a family with a lot of folk music and bluegrass and opera and classical music and all. But I was convinced I could play the guitar when I had no knowledge of the guitar, just because there was some sort of connection. Guitar really is the instrument of the blues, which gave birth to rock and roll.”

[RELATED: “Forever” Friends: Paul Stanley Discusses His Friendship with Gene Simmons, Reveals His Favorite Thing About His KISS Bandmate]

The Birthday Gift That Changed Paul Stanley

After watching Cochran perform, Stanley knew his future included the guitar and so, like any child, he turned to his parents to make that dream come true. “My 13th birthday was coming up, and I kept saying, ‘I really want a guitar, an electric guitar.’ Right around my birthday, my mom said, ‘Look under your bed,’ and I looked under the bed and my heart began to break ’cause I saw this big cardboard case. And I pulled it out and opened it up, and it was a used nylon-string guitar. I was shattered ’cause you can’t play rock and roll on this. And I closed it and pushed it back under the bed.”

Eventually pulling the guitar out, Stanley never turned back. “I took to it really quickly. I took a few lessons, and I wanted to go faster, and for some reason, the teacher was, ‘No. You have to stay at this pace.’ So he went and the guitar stayed.”

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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