Voice Doctor Who Treats Kiss' Paul Stanley Shares His Advice to Rock-Star Clients
"I've had the good fortune of waking him up," Stanley laughs of his urgent, late-night calls to Dr. Joe Sugerman, featured in THR's Top Doctors Issue
This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Back in Hollywood’s Golden Era, when Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland sought a voice doctor, only Dr. Ed Kantor would do. During the late 1970s, Kantor added a protege to his practice named Dr. Joe Sugerman It quickly became clear that Sugerman, a brilliant physician with an easy bedside manner who could coax even the most inconsolably hoarse diva off a ledge, was the right choice.
"We immediately hit it off," recalls Stanley, 62. It was Stanley who first gave Sugerman a framed gold Kiss record to hang in his office.
Says Sugerman: "When other singers came in and saw it on the wall, they said, ‘Hey, what about me?' "
Now his Beverly Hills medical suite could be confused with a record producer’s office, with albums from Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks, The Rolling Stones and Madonna. ("For Joe," reads a handwritten inscription from Barbra Streisand. "Who was there in 2006 and is always there for me now.")
Sugerman says the past few years have seen the biggest change in three decades of treating super- stars as concerts have become the industry’s main revenue generators.
"People are on tour for a year at a time, singing six or seven nights a week," he says. "And they just get into trouble." Sugerman advises that patients find a vocal coach, skip the pizza before bedtime (the acid can wreak havoc) and hold off on aspirin (which can lead to hemorrhages). While he doesn’t make house calls, Sugerman does avail himself to preferred clients if they should, say, find themselves struggling to hit those high notes in "Detroit Rock City" while on the road.
"I’ve had the good fortune of waking him up," laughs Stanley, recounting a recent call he made to Sugerman in full Kiss makeup while backstage at a gig in Japan. "It’s a wonderful thing to have your doctor at your disposal. I try not to abuse it."
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