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Kiss

Kiss

KISS

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.

   
Frederick M. Brown / Francois Durand, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown / Francois Durand, Getty Images

KISS’ Gene Simmons Honors Chuck Berry Onstage During First-Ever Solo Performance

During his first-ever solo performance, KISS legend Gene Simmons paid tribute to the late Chuck Berry with a cover of the iconic 'Johnny B. Goode.'

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Peter Criss (KISS)
Mike Pont, Getty Images

Peter Criss Plans Last U.S. Live Performance

Former KISS drummer Peter Criss has announced plans for his final U.S. concert performance.

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Category: Concerts, News, Rock Tags: ,
Casablanca
Casablanca

41 Years Ago: KISS Unleash ‘Destroyer’ Album

On March 15, 1976, KISS released their classic album 'Destroyer.'

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Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Ace Frehley Puts Odds at 50-50 He Will Rejoin KISS

In a new interview, Ace Frehley says that while he hasn't heard anything concerning a reunion, he puts the odds at 50-50 it will happen.

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Category: News, Rock Tags: ,
Photo: Melina Dellamarggio
Photo: Melina Dellamarggio

KISS Add Their Brand to Officially Licensed Bicycle

Why be 'hotter than hell'? Cool off by going for a spin on a new KISS-licensed bicycle.

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Category: News, Rock Tags:
Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images
Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images

Gene Simmons Re-Ups Stance on Rap in Rock Hall, Plots Box Set With Unreleased Material

Gene Simmons has not softened on rap and hip-hop being in the Rock Hall and has revealed plans to issue a bunch of unreleased material.

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Category: News, Rock Tags: ,
Spirit Of Excellence Awards 2014 - Red Carpet
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

KISS Perform Without Makeup at ‘All-Star Salute to the Oregon Military’

KISS made a surprise appearance at an Oregon Military benefit, performing without makeup to raise funds for a museum named after Tommy Thayer's father.

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Category: News, Rock, Videos Tags:
Casablanca
Casablanca

43 Years Ago: KISS Unleash Self-Titled Debut Album

On Feb. 18, 1974, KISS arrived on the scene with their self-titled debut album.

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Photo: Jay Gilbert
Photo: Jay Gilbert

Paul Stanley on KISS Reunion With Ace Frehley: ‘I Have No Thoughts of Revisiting the Past’

Rumors about Ace Frehley's return to KISS have been persistent, but Paul Stanley has once again nixed the idea of the reunion.

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Category: News, Rock Tags: , ,
Gus Griesinger of www.backstageaxxess.com
Gus Griesinger of www.backstageaxxess.com

Ace Frehley + Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Play KISS’ ‘Cold Gin’ in Seattle

Closing out his tour in Seattle, Ace Frehley was joined by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready for a cover of the KISS classic 'Cold Gin.'

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