Prior to the pandemic, Stanley and Gene Simmons intended to take their final bows in the summer of 2021. But due to the shutdowns, Kiss only just resumed their tour in late-August, paused it for about two weeks in September as the two co-founders recovered from COVID-19, and then got back on track.
"I believe strongly by the beginning of 2023 we will be finished," Stanley told Ultimate Classic Rock in a new interview. "It's a different time than we had pondered in the past."
Though there will be inevitable calls for Kiss to continue beyond next year, Stanley maintains that the "physical reality" of Kiss's demanding live shows will prevent that from happening. As they have said many times in the past, Stanley and Simmons are determined to go out while they can still perform at their best.
Stanley offered the band's gig in Austin, Texas, last week as an example.
"...[A]n outdoor show, 100 percent humidity. We're running around for two-plus hours, not only with guitars, but I've got 30-plus pounds of gear on," he recalled. "There's a point where you go, 'You know what? This is more challenge than I want.' And I only want to do it as long as I can do it smiling."
Kiss has been criticized for using the farewell tour branding 20 years after its first "farewell tour," the last tour with co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in the band. Stanley and Simmons have argued that the 2000 tour, which was famously rocky behind-the-scenes, was a farewell for the original lineup, not the band as a whole.
This time, Stanley underscores the fact that the 'End of the Road' tour will be final.
"There's really no thought about changing our minds," he said. "[Retiring] has nothing to do with personalities in the band or tensions or a difference of opinion or musicality. It's purely practical. You can play beat the clock, but ultimately the clock wins."
Stanley's statements to UCR come a couple weeks after Kiss's longtime manager Doc McGhee estimated that the co-founders' final performance will be "sometime at the end of next year."
McGhee conceded at the time that there was no locked in date. He noted how the pandemic has turned the music industry on top of its head and made it especially difficult for venues to hold dates far in the future with so much uncertainty.