Paul Stanley Recalls Childhood Pain of Being Called ‘One-Eared Monster’
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley recalled the pain and loneliness of his childhood as he struggled to deal with being born with microtia, a condition where the external ear is underdeveloped..
In a clip from the audio version of his new book Backstage Pass, read by Sean Pratt, Stanley told of the day he returned to the apartment on New York’s West 211th Street where he’d spent his early years.
“When I started to attend the elementary school right next door to our apartment, P.S. 98, I didn’t have any friends,” he said. “But I was always the center of attention; and that sort of attention felt just horrific to a five-year-old. I wanted to disappear or hide, but there was no place to go.”
You can listen to the audiobook clip below:
He continued: “It was one thing when somebody stared at me – that was bad enough. But when someone yelled out at me, that drew other people’s eyes to me. Everyone would look at me, scrutinize me; I felt violated and threatened to my core. These were the worst moments; like a kid who would point and yell, ‘Stanley, the one-eared monster!’ All I could think was, ‘You’re hurting me.’”
He remembered that he’d “never had a shoulder to cry on” because his parents “insisted on not talking about” his problems. At one point while he was still at kindergarten, his mother had told him: “Fight your own battles – don’t come crying to me.”
He reflected: “Kids need parents. Kids need protection. When my parents didn’t empathize with me and didn’t want to hear about my problems, I felt cut off from everybody. For most of my life, West 211th Street had represented just one thing for me: pain.”
Elsewhere in Backstage Pass, Stanley told how bandmate Gene Simmons once overcame his fear of flying to visit him in the hospital, and that although he was happy to have settled his differences with former guitarist Ace Frehley, he still preferred to distance himself from Peter Criss as a result of the drummer’s “negative” approach to life.