Why Paul Stanley Rejected Bandit Makeup After a Month

Paul Stanley recalled the time he dabbled with a different mask before returning to his classic Starchild makeup after less than a month.

The Kiss co-founder is known to have appeared as a character known as the Bandit on three occasions, the first on Dec. 31, 1973, and the last on Jan. 26, 1974. In a recent interview with Yahoo, he explained the change had come about after a discussion with Neil Bogart, the band’s first record label boss, after they cut a deal with Casablanca Records in November 1973.

“When he signed us, he wanted us to take off the makeup,” Stanley said. “When Neil heard us before he ever saw us — ‘Strutter’ and ‘Deuce’ and ‘Watching You’ and ‘She,’ I think, were on the demo — he wanted to sign us. And then he saw us, and it was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa,’ you know?

“And it was like, ‘Well, this is us. This is who we are. It’s either you take it or leave it. It’s our way or the highway.’ … At some point, when it came down to ‘I’ll sign you if you take off the makeup,’ [we said], ‘Well, then, you’re not going to sign us.”

You can watch the interview below.

Stanley added that he felt he should “be a sport and try” to respond to two of Bogart’s criticisms: first, the Starchild character was “kind of swishy… kind of feminine” and second, he should be “more macho” onstage. That led to the Bandit making its appearance at three public events.

“I just came up with this Lone Ranger bandit, as it became known, and it lasted maybe a month,” he said. “But I just went, ‘You know what? My gig, my face, my makeup.’ And I just went back to [the Starchild]. … A lot of people believe that [the Bandit] came first, but it actually didn’t.”

When asked about the Starchild makeup being the easiest of the Kiss characters to apply, Stanley noted, “It’s not quite so simple, because you’re painting a flat object on a 3-D face. … It’s a transformation, not just in terms of appearance, but in terms of how you’re thinking. So, to sit in a chair and have somebody do my makeup — no way. It’s part of me, and I want it to be done by me.”

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