Sunday, July 22, 2007

What's in a name? Ask the two Paul Stanleys

Milford Sunday
March 1997

The reunion tour of the flashy ‘70s rock band KISS hit New Haven (Conn.) last Friday night and, for one young fan, it was a night to remember. Five year-old Paul Stanley Ronald Frederick’s, whose father Ron is originally from Milford, met the man he was named after KISS lead man Paul Stanley.

“What an experience for both of us,” said Ron Fredericks. “What a nice gesture on the part of the band to have Paul Stanley meet my son.”

The idea that Ron named his first son after a member of a rock and roll band may seem odd to some people. But for Ron, it was a logical decision.

“KISS has been such a big part of my life that I knew it was a good idea,” said Ron Fredericks. “I didn’t want to name him after me or one relative and hurt another relative’s feelings.”

So before KISS’ performance at the New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, dad and son met the man who has been such an important part of their lives. Dressed in full makeup and costume, Paul Stanley greeted the Frederickses with a broad smile.

“It’s an honor to know you have someone named after you,” Stanley said. “It’s nice to know we’ve had that kind of impact on people’s lives.”

As for the younger Paul Stanley, he stood proudly while shaking hands with the rock and roll legend. According to Ron, the younger Paul doesn’t see the band members as stars…just friends.

“He has n o idea what a big deal it is to meet Paul,” Ron said. “There are thousands of people who would love to meet him but never have and never will.”

Paul’s grandmother, Carolyn Fredericks, remembers that she and her husband were thrown for a loop when Ron and his wife Kristy announced their son would be named after the lead singer and not a family member. The couple already had a daughter, Barbara, who was 6 at the time.

Although this was the first time the two Pauls met in person, it was not the first time they had spoken. Stanley calls the Fredericks home on young Paul Stanley’s birthday each year and corresponds by mail.

“When Paul was born, I sent a copy of the birth certificate to Paul Stanley,” Ron said. “He signed it and returned it to us. He (Stanley) has really taken a liking to Paul and has shown sincere interest in him.”

And that makes Carolyn happy.

“It’s been so nice the way Paul Stanley has responded to our grandson.”

The family’s relationship with KISS band members has had drawbacks, however. Ron was recently forced to make the family’s phone number unlisted as people started calling him and asking him for tickets, autographs, and other favors.

“We even had a call at 2 in the morning,” Ron said.

One person who has the new phone number, however, is rocker Stanley.

I had a blast doing this story. I grew up as a big KISS fan, so meeting Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons was quite exciting. Both guys are smart, soft spoken and friendly. The Fredericks family are great people. And who am I to scoff at their decision to name their son after Paul Stanley since my son Taylor is named in part after James Taylor.

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