With changes in the way music sells having hit royalty checks, and no certainty of when touring income might return, recording artists including Bob Dylan, Mick Fleetwood and many others have decided to let third parties take control of the songs they’ve written in return for sometimes massive payments.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kiss frontman Stanley tells UCR that the idea makes sense to him. “As far as I know, we only get one trip on this Earth, and you can’t take it with you, so I totally get it,” he says. “If there’s money to be had and it’s going to make your life better, then why not? It’s a different business model, but it makes total sense. … At some point in your career, you look at what you’ve created and what it’s worth. Artists do that; it’s what painting’s about. You don’t stash your artwork – you sell it!”
Stanley was among those saddened by the death of Supremes singer Mary Wilson this week, just days after he spent some time on a Zoom call with her. “It shows how fragile life is,” he reflects, explaining they chatted about his upcoming Soul Station covers album Then and Now. “She was vibrant and totally alive, telling me all kinds of great stories and anecdotes. … Last night I was just stunned. Not to get too philosophical, but nobody knows what the next minute holds.”
He explains it was one of several conversations he’d had with “some other well-known people” in the soul genre as he tried to bring his Soul Station project “full circle” by “getting their take” on his reinterpretations of classic songs. “The response has been more than I could have hoped for – just amazing, amazing compliments,” he says.
“Whether or not it’s somebody’s taste – whether or not somebody has their own preconceived ideas of what I should or shouldn’t do – the magnitude of the album is a great reflection of the past, and it also brings the music into the present.”