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Kiss may not be the most respected, nor even the most musically accomplished among rock’s best-selling recording artists, but they might just be the most iconic and, in their own way, influential bands (and brands) in history. Still, despite their signature makeup, flashy wardrobe, and meticulously orchestrated on-stage extravaganzas, Kiss initially struggled to gain commercial traction during the first half of the ’70s. But their dedicated touring regimen duly paid off with the platinum breakthrough of 1975’s ‘Alive,’ which, along with numerous subsequent studio triumphs, transformed band members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss into universal masked celebrities, verging on superheroes in the eyes of impressionable young fans by 1978. But just as suddenly, growing internal strife, dwindling musical inspiration, and sheer overexposure (a result of their aggressive merchandising tactics) knocked Kiss off their lofty pedestal and left them struggling to remain relevant as the ’80s got under way. As a last resort, Kiss abandoned their signature makeup with 1983’s ‘Lick it Up’ and thus managed to align themselves with the legion of hair metal bands dominating the period — many of whom had cut their teeth on their records and especially Ace Frehley’s straightforward solos, before graduating to the virtuoso examples of Edward Van Halen or Randy Rhoads. And, like all of those bands, Kiss too endured the grunge era’s vicious backlash, by which time the core duo of Simmons and Stanley were themselves at odds about Kiss’ creative direction, while long-serving drummer Eric Carr faced a rare form of cancer that would eventually kill him in 1991. So, after attempting to fit in with the flannel flyers via 1992’s rather decent ‘Revenge’ LP, Simmons and Stanley got to work orchestrating a rekindling of their long-broken relationship with founding members Frehley and Criss for what would turn into a full-scale reunion — in makeup — including extensive late ‘90s tours and 1998’s ‘Psycho Circus’ LP. Both Criss and Frehley eventually fell afoul of their bandmates/taskmasters yet again, but that has in no way stopped or even slowed down the Kiss marketing machine. Instead, Criss and Frehley’s instantly recognizable makeup designs were simply applied to new members Eric Singer (drums) and Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Kiss has continued to perform before millions of fans, too young (or, in some cases, over it) to care — thus proving that the four characters devised long ago are truly bigger than the men who wear them.

Kiss Paul Stanley
Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images

Paul Stanley on KISS’ Future After His Retirement: Someone Out There Can Take My Place

Though many fans see Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons as irreplaceable, Stanley recent said that he'd like KISS to continue on even after he's retired.

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Category: News, Rock Tags: ,
Jim Dyson, Getty Images

KISS Named Top American Gold Record Award Earning Band of All Time

You can add another accomplishment to KISS' impressive musical history.

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Category: News, Rock Tags:
KISS 1975
Casablanca Records

40 Years Ago: Kiss Release the Game-Changing Concert Album ‘Alive!’

On Sept. 10, 1975, KISS set a new standard for live albums with the release of their 'Alive!' album.

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Dee Snider Paul Stanley
Dave Kotinsky / Jo Hale, Getty Images

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider to Paul Stanley: ‘I Will Bury You’ Onstage

Twisted Sister's Dee Snider responds to Paul Stanley's recent diss of his band and himself.

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Paul Stanley Dee Snider
Angela Weiss / Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images

KISS’ Paul Stanley on Dee Snider: ‘This Guy Is a Wannabe’

KISS' Paul Stanley takes a shot at Twisted Sister's Dee Snider after Snider recently criticized the current KISS lineup.

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Kiss Gene Simmons
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

KISS’ Gene Simmons Offers More Insight Into Recent Task Force Search of His Home

KISS' Gene Simmons has revealed the full story behind the recent Internet Crimes Against Children task force search of his home.

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Category: News, Rock Tags: ,
Sebastian Bach
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Sebastian Bach Performs With KISS Cover Band at His Wedding Reception

The wedding between Bach and Suzanne Le took place over the weekend, and at the Saturday night (Aug. 22) reception/concert held at the Rockbar in San Jose, Bach jammed numerous KISS songs with the tribute band Destroyer

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Category: News, Rock, Videos Tags: ,
Gene Simmons Lamb of God
Jason Merritt, Getty Images / Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

KISS’ Gene Simmons Critiques Lamb of God’s ‘512’

KISS' Gene Simmons offers his assessment of the Lamb of God song '512.'

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Category: Metal, News, Rock Tags: , ,
Gene Simmons
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Gene Simmons’ Home Searched by Crimes Against Children Task Force; Rocker + Family Not Suspects

Both the LAPD and a representative for the rocker have stated that neither Gene Simmons nor any member of his family are considered suspects in the crime they are investigating.

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Category: News, Rock, Videos Tags: ,
Johnny Depp and Gene Simmons

Watch Gene Simmons, Johnny Depp + Gilby Clarke Rock KISS Songs for Charity

On Sunday night, KISS singer-bassist Gene Simmons, actor Johnny Depp and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke teamed up to perform renditions of KISS songs for charity.

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