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KISS

Current Members

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Biography

1972

Self "Hottest Band In The World". KISS single handedly revolutionised the American Rock scene during the 70's taking their rabid fans into realms of comic book schlock horror no other band had dared attempt. In doing so KISS rode a steady stream of platinum albums and spawned a merchandising industry like no other.

The roots of KISS can be initially traced back to 1972 when bassist GENE SIMMONS and rhythm guitarist PAUL STANLEY decided to re-launch themselves on to an unsuspecting world. Splitting apart the duo's existing band, WICKED LESTER, in the process, in order to piece together the ultimate Rock band; the kind of outfit they wanted to see live and not go home feeling they'd been short changed.

Although Simmons and Stanley were unknown prior to KISS, the duo were hardly overnight sensations, having both played in a succession of different groups since their teens. Simmons, who was born Chaim Witz in Haifia, Israel and acquired the surname of Klein when his family emigrated to the United States, had taken up playing bass at 16. Amongst his first bands was the LONG ISLAND SOUNDS and THE LOVE BAG who he played with between 1964 and 1968 alongside his guitar playing, High School buddy Steve Coronel.

Stanley (born Stanley Eisen), a native of Queens, New York, had been playing in a band called UNCLE JOE, once described by Stanley as: "a power trio without a bass". The band had two guitarists because they didn't know anyone at the time who could play bass.

Deriving their name from former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's nickname, Stanley's partners in crime within the band's ranks were fellow guitarist Matt Rael and drummer Neil Teeman.

Stanley, still only 15, then hooked up with POSTWAR BABY BOOM, a band influenced by the San Francisco Rock scene and featuring Matt Rael's brother Jon. The band got as far as recording a demo for Columbia Records, but Stanley has long since revealed that the experience was pretty much a disaster. Undeterred, Stanley joined another outfit in an alliance with guitarist Steve Coronel and bassist Marty Cohen entitled TREE, which introduced him to the local gigging circuit. Coronel, a fairly important cog in the pre-KISS history, had begun playing with Stanley following his friend and band mate, Gene's, decision to go off to college in Sullivan County, New York. There, the bassist promptly joined BULLFROG BHEER. It had been during a brief visit to Coronel's apartment in New York prior to the formation of TREE when Simmons and Stanley would first meet. Anecdotal reports suggest the now infamous pairing did not take to each other at all on their first meeting.

Later that same year, Steve Coronel and Simmons formed CATHEDRAL up in Sullivan County with Marty Cohen and drummer Stan Singer. The band was short-lived however, with everyone bar Simmons splitting back to New York where they joined forces with Paul in TREE. Simmons was most bemused, on another trip back to the city where, in fact, he opened for his former band mates as a solo artist to discover who his post CATHEDRAL replacement was.

Moving back to New York in 1970 after his college stint, Simmons joined forces with Brook Ostrader, a keyboard player, and recorded a home demo tape with a view to getting a record deal. Recognising the fact that they needed to form a band in order to get further down the road, the duo advertised in the New York paper The Village Voice for a second guitarist. As coincidence would have it, Paul answered the ad only to discover a lead guitarist was required rather than a rhythm player. In the interim, Simmons and Ostrader began working with Steve Coronel and a drummer called Tony Zarella and it was Steve who suggested the talents of a songwriting, guitar playing friend of his should be roped in... Paul Stanley.

The chemistry that developed between Paul and Gene quickly cast aside any bad feelings about their earlier meeting back in Steve Coronel's apartment. Briefly adopting RAINBOW as a handle before settling on WICKED LESTER as the official band name, the quintet were on the verge of breaking up when they attracted the interest of recording engineer Ron Johnsen and recorded an album that would never gain an official release.

The album, a collection of demos recorded at New York's Electric Lady Studios towards the close of 1971, covered a great deal of ground musically. A real mish-mash that, nevertheless, aroused the interest of Epic Records. However, the label had insisted the band fire Steve Coronel before signing them, WICKED LESTER hiring Ron Leejack in his wake. By this stage the fledgling band unit had auditioned a number of other local guitar players, including would be TWISTED SISTER man Jay Jay French in June 1972.

By this time Stanley and Simmons were beginning to write stronger songs, material that just didn't fit the WICKED LESTER concept. Simmons began to explore the possibilities of restructuring the band to be more visually exciting and a good deal more cohesive in other areas. The duo knew that this was something that would not be achieved with the line-up they had.

Renting a loft at 10 East 23rd Street, Gene and Paul responded to an advertisement placed in 'Rolling Stone' magazine from a drummer "willing to do anything to make it". The man in question was one Peter Criscoula, a native of Brooklyn, New York. After meeting the drummer outside Electric Lady and then watching him play in a trio in a Brooklyn club, Gene and Paul invited him to the loft for an audition. Hiring Peter after a second try-out, the duo split from the other guys in WICKED LESTER, Epic having opted not to release the album, to start afresh as a, then unnamed power trio.

A disciple of the legendary big band drummer Gene Krupa in addition to digging the in vogue sounds of the British Rock scene, Peter had cut his teeth in a variety of local Brooklyn outfits such as the SOUNDS OF SOUL, the BARRACUDAS, LIPS and THE BROTHERHOOD. Prior to grabbing the new gig with both paws Criscoula (who would shorten his name to PAUL CRISS in time) had recorded an album with CHELSEA for the Decca label back in 1970. His compatriots in CHELSEA were vocalist Peter Shepley, guitarists Cris Aroidas and Mike Brand and bassist Michael Benvenga, although one Stan Penridge would play guitar in the group shortly before they broke up and played in a trio with Peter and Michael Benvenga for a term before that too fragmented.

been turned down by Epic, the trio of Stanley, Simmons and Criscoula rehearsed like crazy before taking the decision to add a lead guitarist. Taking an ad in 'The Village Voice', the trio auditioned in the region of 60 or so guitarists, including one Bob Kulick. Indeed, Kulick would have probably got the gig had it not been for the arrival of Paul 'Ace' Frehley.

Making an immediate impression wearing one red sneaker and one orange, ACE FREHLEY blew the others away with a ferocious solo to a fledgling version of 'Deuce'. He got the gig. A member of Bronx outfits THE EXTERMINATORS and FOUR ROSES in his teens, Frehley had come close to recording an album for RCA with MOLEMO, a Psychedelic outfit with male and female lead vocalists. The band recorded a mere four or five songs, but no deal was forthcoming. Ace had been playing in a group subtly called THE MUFF DIVERS before his audition for, what was then, basically still WICKED LESTER.

1973

On January 30 1973 KISS played their first show at the Coventry Club in Queens, although they were still undecided about a band name when the gig was originally booked, using KISS for the first time on the night. The band had briefly toyed with the idea of using FUCK as a moniker, amongst other weird and wonderful ideas! They were also unafraid to experiment with make-up, Simmons having gone on record long since to describe their early attempts at an image as: "football players trying to look like the New York Dolls. We looked like bad drag queens. We were by no means convincing".

However, over a period of a few months the band's image became more defined and the superhero characters (not to mention the platform boots!) that have become synonymous with KISS came to the fore.

Working day jobs (ranging from Simmons holding down an office job after leaving his teaching post to Stanley cab driving) to pay the rent and rehearsing at night. KISS began bombarding anyone and everyone in the music business in order to attract them to shows. The new group made their debut in Manhattan on June, 1973 opening for THE BRATS and WAYNE COUNTY at a loft in Bleeker Street down in Greenwich Village.

On Friday 13 1973 KISS first placed the Hotel Diplomat at 108 West 43rd St, opening for THE BRATS. On August 10 KISS headlined the same venue, with support from STREET PUNK and LUGER.

KISS' debut demo tape had been recorded not long after Frehley's recruitment, following an arrangement made with WICKED LESTER producer Ron Johnsen who, it has been reported, owed Gene and Paul a significant sum of money. In exchange for work done singing back-ups on albums by LYN CHRISTOPHER and MR. GEE WIZ during 1972, Simmons and Stanley were paid with studio time at Electric Lady and managed to negotiate the services of noted producer Eddie Kramer into the deal. KISS cut 'Deuce', 'Strutter', 'Watchin' You', 'Cold Gin' and 'Black Diamond' with Kramer.

At the second Diplomat show Bill Aucoin, a local TV director involved with the Pop programme 'Flipside', caught KISS in action and arranged a meeting with the group to discuss the possibility of managing them. Aucoin (who was working in partnership with Joyce Biawitz) claimed that if he could not get KISS a record deal within a fortnight then they had no further obligation to him. It was a bold statement but Aucoin more than met his word.

Aucoin contacted Buddah Records president Neil Bogart and, thanks to the diligence of staff producer Kenny Kerner, KISS soon found themselves as the first signing to Bogart's new Emerald City label on the strength of their Eddie Kramer produced demo. At that point Bogart had not seen a picture of KISS. When he did he was slightly taken aback by the image and tried to persuade them to ditch the make-up, but in the end Bogart was won over by the sheer madness of it all and would donate $25'000 worth of special effects and a hanging KISS logo to the cause.

In the interim, Aucoin had brought in Sean Delaney to work on the band's staging (notably choreography and pyrotechnics) and also the finer points of the image, which included the suggestion that all four members of the band should sport blue-black dyed hair. Delaney also took the role of KISS' first tour manager.

KISS recorded their debut album with an enthusiastic Kenny Kerner and production partner Richie Wise, ex-DUST, at the helm towards the end of 1973. Featured on session keyboards would be Bruce Foster of JACOB'S CREEK and SHARK FRENZY. The band officially signed with Bogart (who had officially named his new label Casablanca Records rather than Emerald City) rounding out the year playing a show at New York's Academy Of Music on New Year's Eve on a bill headlined by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and IGGY & THE STOOGES. KISS set out with a mission to destroy and it almost ended in disaster when Gene Simmons' first ever on stage fire breathing stunt went awry as the bassist managed to set fire to his hair before having the flames smothered by a quick-thinking roadie with a towel. The crowd, naturally, thought it was all part of the act!

1974

Having spent a short period of time on the road in Canada during early February after a headlining show at the Filmore East in New York on January 8, 1974, KISS' self-titled debut album was released on February 18, 1974. Casablanca Records hosted a massive album launch party at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles featuring a live performance from the band to mixed press reaction, following it up with a TV appearance on Dick Clark's 'In Concert' show two days later.

KISS then began a punishing schedule of touring and recording, a regimen they would stick to almost religiously for the next four years. Initially heading back to Canada for a brief spell opening for SAVOY BROWN and ARGENT, MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND before later American support slots to BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and NAZARETH, KATHY McDONALD, AEROSMITH, GOLDEN EARRING, FOGHAT, FOCUS and RORY GALLAGHER.

The group began work on second album, 'Hotter Than Hell', with Kerner and Wise in Los Angeles during August 1974. A month later KISS were back on the road, playing with FLUDD and then a fledgling RUSH opening. By November, KISS had hooked up with BLACK OAK ARKANSAS for dates in the South Eastern states.

second album was released on October 22 1974 and included a newly recorded version of 'Watchin' You', a track that had been part of KISS' demo tape but had not made the debut album.

The record was packaged in a Japanese the team of Norman Seef and John Van Hamersveld wrongly assuming the KISS image to be derived from the Japanese Kabuki tradition. Nevertheless, the packaging made KISS instantly attractive to the Japanese market.

New Year's Eve found KISS back in New York playing with BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, the difference being that this time BLUE ÖYSTER CULT were opening and the venue was at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

1975

February 1975 saw KISS back at Electric Lady Studios to record again, and the third KISS album found none other than Neil Bogart in the producer's chair. 'Dressed To Kill' being released on March 19 1975, but was not the album to send the troops over the top. KISS would have to wait until a little later in the year for the breakthrough that had so far eluded them.

The point at which KISS' fortunes changed could not have come at a better time. Casablanca were entrenched deep in financial problems (mainly due to the failure of a double album of material culled from Johnny Carsons' popular 'The Tonight Show') and Bill Aucoin financing the group's touring exploits with his American Express card. The decision to record a double live package might have looked like being a straw that would break the Casablanca camel's back. It turned out to be a masterstroke.

Having returned to the road directly after cutting 'Dressed To Kill' and touring once more with opening act RUSH followed by dates with the likes of MONTROSE, JOURNEY and BLACK SABBATH.

Recorded during late May in the KISS stronghold of Detroit's Cobo Hall, the 'Alive!' album (unleashed on September 10, 1975) provided fans with four sides of molten Metal, capturing KISS in their natural surroundings on stage. Soon enough, the live version of 'Rock And Roll All Nite' quickly began to pick up airplay across America.

Whereas the studio version of the number (taken from 'Dressed To Kill') had only managed to reach number 68 in America, the 'Alive!' rendition rose to number 12 in the Billboard singles charts and guaranteed it a place as one of the Rock n' Roll anthems of the decade. As 'Alive!' achieved gold and then platinum status, KISS and Casablanca were saved and America was ripe for conquering, the band's KISS Army fan club growing from its initial roots in Terre Haute, Indiana to cover the nation and the quartet would set to work on 'Destroyer'.

1976

Teaming up with former ALICE COOPER producer Bob Ezrin, KISS put a great deal of effort into the new album. Tracks included 'Detroit Rock City' (written in honour of the city that had put the group on the map), 'God Of Thunder', 'Do You Love Me' (co-written with RUNAWAYS creator KIM FOWLEY) and the Peter Criss penned ballad 'Beth'. 'God Of Thunder' was in fact penned by Stanley but would over the course of time become entrenched in the KISS live set as a showcase for Simmons diabolic alter ego.

Written for his then wife Lydia, 'Beth' (that had evolved from an original Criss tune titled 'Beck') was something of an anomaly on an otherwise grandiose, hard hitting record. Ironically, it would turn into 'Destroyer's' biggest hit.

A little known fact is that Rick Derringer was used to record a good deal of the guitar work on 'Destroyer' in the absence of Ace Frehley.

After releasing the album on March 15, 1976 and spending a month on the road in Canada (by which time 'Destroyer' had been certified platinum), KISS ventured over to Europe in May 1976. KISS played two shows in Britain (Manchester Apollo and Hammersmith Odeon) supported by STRAY before continuing to the continent where they hit Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, Sweden and Denmark. The band had not unveiled their 'Destroyer' costumes or stage set at this point, choosing to save them for American tour. The new show was thus premiered on July 10 at an outdoor show at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey with BOB SEGER AND THE SILVER BULLET BAND opening.

The European tour was something of a culture shock to KISS, having to come to terms with hotels, venues and transportation that wasn't quite to the kind of standards they had come to enjoy back home. Indeed, in one incident Peter Criss allegedly freaked out in a hotel somewhere on the tour, destroying his room's contents and having to be rescued from the window ledge by one of the band's security staff. Criss threatened to leave the tour there and then. As a safeguard, the tour manager reportedly confiscated the drummer's passport to ensure he stayed.

sales of 'Destroyer' reached stellar proportions, in late July, Casablanca re-issued the first three KISS albums as a limited edition set under the banner of 'The Originals'. The package also included a commemorative booklet, a set of picture cards and a large KISS Army sticker.

Having reached number 31 with the anthemic 'Shout It Out Loud', the ensuing 'Flaming Youth' flopped at number 74 before Casablanca issued 'Detroit Rock City' as a single backed with 'Beth'. Strange as it might seem, radio stations began to pick up more on the merits of the B-side and KISS (and Criss in particular) soon found themselves with a surprise, monster hit on their hands. The single peaked at number 7 in America and earnt Criss a coveted 'People's Choice' Award for his efforts.

On tour KISS headlined over a bill comprising URIAH HEEP and BOB SEGER AND THE SILVER BULLET BAND at Anaheim Stadium in Los Angeles followed nine days later with a show at the Atlanta Braves stadium down in Georgia headlining in front of 50'000. In September 1976 KISS began work on a new album, 'Rock And Roll Over', at the former Star Theater in Nanuet, New York in order to capture a live feel rather than continuing with the slick, highly crafted approach of 'Destroyer'. Eddie Kramer had been hired to produce.

'Rock And Roll Over' was released on November 1 and the band hit the road again mere days later. The band narrowly avoided tragedy when Ace Frehley was electrocuted on stage at the Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida on December 11 after touching one of the stage set's lighted staircase handrails, believed to be insufficiently grounded - Frehley's guitar completing the circuit.

1977

On February 18 1977 KISS realised their long-held dream of headlining Madison Square Garden in New York City. The show was such a sell out that KISS had to play a second New York date on February 21, albeit at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island due to the Garden being fully booked.

KISS undertook their very first tour of Japan in early April 1977, to the kind of hysteria not seen since the days of the original Liverpudlian fab four. The band hired a Pan American Airlines Boeing 747 in order to fly to Tokyo, emblazoned with the KISS logo on its nose.

KISS sold out four straight shows at the legendary Budokan venue in Tokyo, equalling the BEATLES record and played SRO dates in Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya and Kyoto. In May, after a couple of weeks holiday, the band were back in the studio, recording the 'Love Gun' album with Eddie Kramer at the Record Plant in New York. Paul Stanley had written the album's title track on the flight to Japan, whilst the Simmons penned 'Got Love For Sale' had been penned in an Osaka hotel room. 'Love Gun' marked the singing debut of Ace Frehley on the self-penned 'Shock Me', a track inspired by his near death experience on stage in Lakeland. Interestingly, a 1977 Simmons co-composition 'Now That You're Gone', penned with BALANCE guitarist Bob Kulick, would much later resurface on GENE SIMMONS 2004 'Asshole' solo album. Kulick's name was bandied about as the "secret" KISS session guitarist.

The KISS legend was taken to new extremes when it was announced that Marvel Comics were planning an issue totally devoted to the band, turning KISS into the latest in a long line of Marvel superheroes. However, the difference here being that, this time, we were dealing with characters based on real people.

With KISS having made a cameo appearance in a hallucination sequence in two issues of Marvel's 'Howard The Duck', the budget drawn up by Marvel Comics editor Steve Gerber made the debut KISS edition the most expensive project the company had undertaken. The plot centred around four youths suddenly coming into the possession of mysterious talismans that transform them into the superheroes collectively known as KISS, and are thrust into battle against one of Marvel's bad guys, Dr Doom. Being the first ever Rock band to have a comic devoted to them was one thing, but KISS even went so far as to have their own blood used in the printing process by adding vials of KISS' own blood to the ink. The comic debuted on the same day 'Love Gun' was released on June 30 1977 and sold more copies than almost any other title in Marvel's history. The album, incidentally, shipped one million copies.

The 'Love Gun' tour opened in Canada during July and KISS unveiled new stage costumes and a brand new stage set, the latter partly tested in Japan. On the nights of August 25, 26, 27 and 28 KISS were entrenched at the Forum in Los Angeles, recording three sold out shows for their second live album. Special 'I Was There' badges were issued to attending fans to mark the occasion.

'Alive II' was released on November 29, featuring three sides of in concert recordings with the fourth side reserved for five new 'studio' tracks. Originally, the idea had been to make the record a totally live package, but live recordings of tracks like 'Take Me' and 'Hooligan' were ditched in favour of the new songs laid down during September at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. It would be revealed some years later that a good deal of the lead guitar work on the new tracks came not from Ace Frehley but courtesy of a guesting Bob Kulick, standing in for the errant Space Ace.

KISS celebrated the year with three sold out shows in a mammoth homecoming at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 14, 15 and 16. By the year's end membership of the KISS Army was reported to have had passed 100, 000 fully paid up recruits.

1978

To commemorate KISS' platinum album selling achievements, Casablanca 'honoured' the quartet by releasing a Greatest Hits package suitably titled 'Double Platinum'. Containing a re-mixed compilation of KISS material and a rather bizarre re-recording of 'Strutter' (re-titled 'Strutter '78' in this instance) which, to the untrained ear, differed little from the original.

At the end of March KISS returned to Japan, and this time broke THE BEATLES record of four sold out Tokyo Budokan shows by playing a fifth date. The Japanese end of Casablanca issued 'Originals II', a specially packaged set in the of the American released 'The Originals' but containing 'Destroyer', 'Rock And Roll Over' and 'Love Gun' along with a booklet and cardboard masks. It remains one of the most desirable and collectable of all KISS releases, commanding quite a premium when coming up for sale on the collector's market.

In May, the band began shooting their debut movie, a made for TV fantasy thriller tentatively titled 'KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park'. With the plot calling for the superhero KISS to foil the plans of mad amusement park robotics expert Abner Devereaux (played by Anthony Zerbe) and, in the process, fight clones of themselves to win the day, KISS convened at the Magic Mountain Amusement Park with English director Gordon Hessler.

The original intention had been to record a brand new album as a soundtrack to the movie, but it became an impossible task due to the band's heavy schedule. So, existing KISS classics were heard in the movie, although 'Hotter Than Hell' was revamped as 'Rip And Destroy' with brand new lyrics in the scene where the fake KISS attempt to create a riot amongst the audience.

The making of the film was fraught with problems. This was mostly relating to Ace and Peter's boredom with the whole thing (indeed, all Criss' lines were later dubbed by another actor), not to mention the fact that neither of the four band members had any kind of acting experience or that the script was dire in the extreme.

Still, with filming wrapped up Simmons, Stanley, Frehley and Criss became embroiled in recording solo albums in a variety of locations. The idea for solo records had arisen due to friction developing within the band during the making of the movie 'KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park'. Frehley had even expressed a desire to leave the band to pursue a solo career. In an attempt to save the band from disintegrating there and then Bill Aucoin suggested that all four members of KISS record solo albums.

Whilst PAUL STANLEY's record wasn't that far removed from the KISS mothership and ACE FREHLEY's record found the guitarist having perfected his slightly off-the-wall approach to writing Rock songs, GENE SIMMONS' album verged from the eclectic to the bizarre. PETER CRISS' found the drummer drowning in R&B and balladry.

Simmons recorded part of his album at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, England and pulled in a lengthy list of guest contributors. Included were BOB SEGER, Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter from the DOOBIE BROTHERS, AEROSMITH's Joe Perry, Richie Ranno from STARZ, CHEAP TRICK's Rick Nielsen, DONNA SUMMER, HELEN REDDY, Mitch Weissman from the Broadway hit musical 'Beatlemania'. By this time he was dating CHER (who also made a cameo appearance playing an hysterical fan in the fake phone call at the start of 'Living In Sin').

Significantly, Peter chose to work with producer Vini Poncia on his album, ostensibly because the man had the name of ex BEATLES drummer Ringo Starr on his production CV. Criss' album would not be the last time KISS fans saw his name.

Frehley chose to stick with Eddie Kramer for a record that would ultimately spawn the biggest hit of the four albums and become the blueprint for future projects. He worked with South African born drummer Anton Fig, at the time a member of Aucoin stablemates SPIDER, and performed a good deal of the non percussive instrumentation himself.

Stanley co-produced his solo record with Jeff Glixman and worked with Bob Kulick and a number of drummers, including VANILLA FUDGE veteran CARMINE APPICE, PIPER's Richie Fontana and ALICE COOPER drummer Craig Krampf. The girls from ROUGE sang back-ups.

As the four band members worked on completing their records, a second Marvel title appeared in August 1978, this time pitting KISS against The Darklord, Khalis-Wu who intended to conquer the Earth by absorbing enough human emotion to create the mystic might needed to subjugate us all.

September 18 the KISS solo albums were released in identical packaging, one million of each being shipped to the stores.

Four singles - one from each member - were issued in America with varying degrees of success, Frehley walking off with top honours for scoring a number 13 placing with his cover of ex-ARGENT man RUSS BALLARD's 'New York Groove', previously a hit for British Pop Rock outfit HELLO.

In Britain, the four solo singles were released on coloured vinyl, each packaged with accompanying KISS mask relevant to the individual member. The albums were also issued in picture disc format, and in Japan a far rarer set was issued featuring the artwork from the free posters rather than the album covers.

'KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park' premiered on television in America on Halloween. Despite the terrible script and thin plot the movie was a success for the network and would move onto European cinema screens during 1979 under the revised title of 'KISS In Attack Of The Phantom', with a soundtrack that now included solo album material.

1979

Going into 1979 demand for KISS was at its peak, the merchandising machine having progressed from the standard T-shirts, belt buckles and poster business into a wider reaching empire. Fans could now buy KISS toy guitars, Halloween costumes, radios, garbage cans, board games, lunchboxes, bubble gum cards, rucksacks, make-up kits and a set of 12" high dolls to torment Barbie and Sindy. And KISS were even in amusement arcades, thanks to a pinball machine made by the Bally company. Amongst the toys that never made it past the pre-production stage were a 'Love Gun' water pistol, a camera fashioned like Gene's head, a kite and Bendy figures.

In 1979, KISS were back with the extremely slick and commercial 'Dynasty', fronted by, what would become, a smash hit single world-wide in 'I Was Made For Lovin' You'. This song was KISS' first deliberate foray into the realms of Disco and had been co-written by Stanley with Capitol recording artist Desmond Child (of DESMOND CHILD AND ROUGE) and producer Vini Poncia.

Stanley had first collaborated with Child on a track titled 'The Fight' (found on the first DESMOND CHILD AND ROUGE album) and the female vocal trio of ROUGE had supplied backing vocals to Paul's solo album.

'Dynasty' was a clinical attempt to attract even more fans to the fold, although there were some fairly valid musical statements included with the likes of the cover of the ROLLING STONES' rather obscure '2000 Man' (which Frehley made his own) and the Stanley penned 'Sure Know Something'. Ironically, given Poncia's involvement, Peter Criss' association with the record was minimal, most of the drum tracks reportedly laid down by Anton Fig. Criss was, however, able to contribute lead vocals to his 'Dirty Livin'' composition.

'Dynasty' was released on May 23 1979 and KISS began touring in June supported by NEW ENGLAND, a Boston based Pomp Rock managed by Aucoin and whose debut album had been co-produced by Mike Stone and Paul Stanley. KISS took out an all new stage set and, of course, costumes, on the back of the huge success of 'I Was Made For Loving You'.

The band's new look took on a more colourful stance, a move the band have in more recent years come to view as a mistake, feeling that the whole thing was too Disney meets Vegas.

And the tour was just one too many for Peter Criss. His ego bolstered by the success of 'Beth' and eager to make another solo record, the band experienced a multitude of problems with the drummer. After one show Criss has since admitted in a fanzine interview that he actually came close to 'glassing' Gene Simmons in a backstage fracas after the bassist had taken to Criss' idea of throwing a drum stick at him on stage as more serious than a joke. Simmons had reportedly given the drummer a hefty kick to the shins with one of his boots before the encore, encouraging Criss to smash a champagne bottle and threaten Gene with the jagged remains.

There has also long since been the feeling that KISS had SPIDER's Anton Fig on call at all times in case Criss suddenly failed to show and several rumours have led fans to believe that Criss was allegedly replaced by Fig (wearing Criss' cat make-up) on more than one occasion.

1980

The band returned to the studio with Vini Poncia to record the extremely poppy (and misleadingly titled) 'Unmasked' album in 1980. The record sold well internationally, scoring KISS no. 1 chart positions in Norway and New Zealand, although this enthusiasm did not transfer over to the major markets of the USA and UK. Criss was no longer in the band and Anton Fig playing all the drum tracks on the album, although for appearances sake Peter's image did appear on the cover artwork and he made his last appearance with the band filming the video for the single 'Shandi'.

The drummer's departure had caused KISS to cancel a Summer European tour that was planned to coincide with the release of 'Unmasked'. Instead, the remaining trio set to the task of auditioning for a new drummer., knowing full well that the new boy had to be an unknown in order to keep the mystery of KISS' 'real' identities very much alive despite approaches made from a number of name skinsmen.

Paul Caravello had formed his first band, CELLARMEN, at the age of 15. He then played in SALT AND PEPPER, CREATION, MOTHER NATURE FATHER TIME, BIONIC BOOGIE and FLASHER before applying for the vacancy in KISS and instantly becoming noticed thanks to the neon orange folder he had presented his demo tapes and photos in to Aucoin. His audition demo included 'Shandi' and two VAN HALEN tracks, 'You Really Got Me' and 'The Cradle Will Rock'. At the time of auditioning for KISS he was making ends meet repairing and maintaining kitchen stoves in his native Brooklyn. He was the guy who got the gig and became Eric Carr. As he rehearsed with the group for his live debut, work progressed on his new KISS identity.

Carr's original character was to have been The Hawk, but the make-up and costume transformed him into a creature more resembling Big Bird from the Children's TV show 'Sesame Street', so he eventually became The Fox and made his first live appearance with KISS at the Palladium in New York. By the time KISS hit Europe for their re-arranged tour Carr's make-up had been re-designed. Carr quickly became a firm favourite with the KISS Army. His drumming was instantly noticeable for being far more powerful and aggressive than Criss'. Runner up was fellow New Yorker Bobby Rondinelli, he would side step straight into RAINBOW.

KISS' re-arranged European tour opened in September, supported by GIRL in Britain and IRON MAIDEN in the rest of Europe. Simmons was joined on tour by his latest celebrity girlfriend, none other than DIANA ROSS! More unfavourable media controversy had surrounded KISS' dates in Germany where they were forced to revise their infamous logo for the shows there and all subsequent record releases

As Eric Carr wowed the KISS Army, towards the end of 1980 Peter Criss' first post KISS solo album. 'Out Of Control', emerged through Casablanca, which turned out to be pretty much a continuation of his KISS solo effort of two years previously. KISS' tour schedule had, in the meantime, moved on to Australia where they were greeted with the kind of hysteria they hadn't experienced since Japan.

1981 to 1982

The new year beckoned with KISS settling into Frehley's new home studio, In The Hole, to begin work on their first album with Eric Carr on the drum stool. The original plan was to record a typical KISS Hard Rock album, eschewing the Pop Rock and Disco overtones of 'Dynasty' and 'Unmasked'. A number of tracks were recorded (including 'Deadly Weapons', 'Reputation', 'Feels Like Heaven' and ' Nowhere To Run' ) but were scrapped as Bob Ezrin was brought in to produce a record that was expected to have the same impact as 'Destroyer', persuading KISS to come up with a concept record. Gene duly came up with the plot for '(Music From) The Elder', an album expected to not only be complemented with an ambitious stageshow but also a proposed movie project (hence the title).

Whilst Gene and Paul were enthusiastic about the record, Ace was reportedly dead against it and Eric mystified as to its direction. In any event, Frehley chose not to join his band mates at Ezrin's studio in Toronto, recording his guitar parts at home. As it transpired, Simmons and Stanley had gone so far as to stage auditions to replace Frehley. Amongst those who attended the Los Angeles sessions would be future BON JOVI guitarist RICHIE SAMBORA and a then sixteen year old ADAM BOMB. Calls were even placed to YNGWIE MALMSTEEN in Sweden. However, business pressures forced the behind the scenes re-instatement of Frehley.

The record emerged in late 1981 and was a spectacular flop, although the group's fans tended to be more aghast at KISS' radical new image - short hair-dos, PVC and regular heeled boots. So intent were the record company to revive the bands flagging fortunes the structured concept of the album was re-arranged so as to more prominently feature potential singles 'The Oath' and the ballad 'A World Without Heroes'. (For the 1997 re-release the songs were re-sequenced in their correct running order).

In a bid to win back the fans a stop-gap compilation album, 'Killers', was released in Europe featuring four new studio tracks, all boasting guitar from Bob Kulick (who had been earning a huge reputation for himself on the session circuit and recording with his own band BALANCE).

Determined to recover lost ground, KISS set to work on an album intended to put the group back at the top. Recording in Los Angeles with the relatively unknown producer Michael James Jackson KISS concocted 'Creatures Of The Night'. However, they had to record without Frehley. Behind the scenes guitarist Steve Farris was invited to join the band but this union failed to gel. Farris would later go on the road with EDDIE MONEY before founding MR. MISTER for a set of multi platinum albums.

By the summer of 1982 the group and Frehley had split, although the fact remained a secret from the fans. Disenchanted with the '(Music From) The Elder' album Frehley, who had even failed to show up for a live satellite broadcast, leaving KISS to 'perform' material from the album as a trio -wanted to leave the group and pursue a solo career. However, for business reasons it was in KISS' best interests to keep Frehley's departure from the group from the press. This meant that whilst the guitarist would appear on the cover of the new album, appear in a promotion video and visit Europe on a press tour in late 1982 he was no longer a member of KISS.

When 'Creatures Of The Night' was released towards the end of 1982 fans were buoyed by the heavy nature of the material, especially where Eric Carr's Bonham-esque drum sound was concerned. Of all the KISS catalogue, 'Creatures Of The Night' was the closest the band came to pure Heavy Metal. The group took this influence into their subsequent touring and videos, Eric Carr's drum kit being encased in a giant metal tank turret.

Although he appeared on the sleeve, the Kiss Army was never fooled into believing Frehley had played a part in the recording of the album. The guitar work bearing all the hallmarks of a man of Bob Kulick's calibre, but was actually the work of former DAN HARTMAN and TREASURE guitarist Vincent Cusano who had been playing in Los Angeles with former members of NEW ENGLAND in a Metal band called WARRIOR. Notable inclusions on the writing front for 'Creatures Of The Night' would be the Canadian team of BRYAN ADAMS and Jim Vallance, responsible for lyrics on 'War Machine' and Rock And Roll Hell', the latter track being a re-work of a BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE song. Guitarist Bob Kulick also sessioned on the song 'Danger'.

1983

The band held auditions to officially replace Ace in order to go ahead with a new year tour of America in early 1983. These sessions attracted the likes of ex-ANGEL guitarist Punky Meadows and one RICHIE SAMBORA (soon to rise to household status himself within a few years as a member of BON JOVI), KISS settled on their man. Cusano wound up with the job and was transformed into Vinnie Vincent, the guitar wizard and sporting make up incorporating an Egyptian ankh design.

As it turned out, Vincent would participate in the very last show KISS would perform with the greasepaint and platforms for over a decade. The quartet following up the American shows with a visit to Brazil, the final show occurring in Sao Paulo during June and flew back to the States to finish a new studio album.

In October 1983 the unthinkable happened. Having teased their fans with the title of 'Unmasked' back in 1980, KISS finally shed their skin and took the greasepaint off for 'Lick It Up', appearing on the cover of the new album fresh-faced and in regular clothes.

Stanley has since gone on record to state that the band should have taken the make-up off sooner than they did, suggesting that some of his colleagues were a little scared by the idea. Stanley pointed out that the release of 'Creatures Of The Night' would have been the perfect opportunity for unmasking

Vinnie Vincent was to participate in the subsequent bout of touring with the 'Lick It Up' tour kicking off in Lisbon, Portugal. However, by the time the band had trekked through America it was clear to Simmons and Stanley that the man had to go before they could start work on the next studio record.

1984 to 1985

The man brought in to replace Vinnie Vincent was Anaheim, California born Mark Norton - who would take the stage name of Mark St. John in KISS - whose arrival in the ranks was announced at the end of June 1984. The guitarist had previously earnt a living playing sessions, teaching guitar and holding seminars on the subject of guitar playing. He had also been playing with ex-DEEP PURPLE bassist GLENN HUGHES and erstwhile ARMAGEDDON vocalist David Donato in the short-lived WHITE TIGER.

St. John had been recommended to KISS by Grover Jackson of the Charvel guitar company and joined the band in time to contribute solo work to all nine tracks of the new album 'Animalize'. But his stay in KISS was to be an extremely short one.

With a European tour mere days away St. John was reported to have been struck with Reiter's Syndrome, a rare arthritic affliction that meant that he most certainly was unable to participate in the tour. A temporary replacement was found in ex BLACKJACK and GOOD RATS guitarist Bruce Kulick, the brother of long-time KISS associate Bob Kulick, and the New Yorker debuted with KISS in Brighton, England.

Back in America, Bruce continued to perform with the group, although St John was seemingly able to manage the odd Stateside appearance. His condition got no better and the announcement was made that Bruce Kulick had succeeded Mark St. John as the new lead guitarist in KISS.

Oddly, St John did not fade from view quite so quickly, teaming up with his brother Michael Norton, drummer Brian James Fox and old mate David Donato (recently hired and fired by BLACK SABBATH) to reform WHITE TIGER. The group cut an independently issued, self-titled album that was released in 1986. St John and Michael Norton were, ironically enough, later to be found playing in a band with Peter Criss!

The brand new line-up of KISS cut 'Asylum', a more commercially inclined release than 'Animalize' and a record that was to spawned a minor hit single in 'Tears Are Falling' and is best known for the extremely colourful video clips made for the singles than anything else. PLASMATICS guitarist Wes Beech contributed the track 'Love Is A Deadly Weapon'.

1986 to 1988

KISS kept to the overtly commercial direction for the ensuing 'Crazy Nights' album. Released in October 1987 the Ron Nevison produced affair, originally to be titled 'Condom-Nation' and then the less tongue-in-cheek 'Who Dares Wins', was made up of mainly Stanley compositions and from it the band scored a huge European hit with the single 'Crazy Nights'. Also included on the album was the track 'Thief In The Night' which Simmons had originally donated to WENDY O'WILLIAMS for her 'W.O.W.' album. The ballad 'Reason To Live' also proved to be a hit in Europe.

Despite the album sales wise being one of the band's most successful Simmons was later to cite the 'Crazy Nights' album as "Pop crap" and subsequent releases were certainly to witness a toughening of attitude.

Simmons launched his own record label, Simmons Records, in 1988. The man's first signing was HOUSE OF LORDS, the Pomp Rock group formed by ex ANGEL keyboard player Gregg Giuffria. Simmons had previously been instrumental in having ANGEL signed to Casablanca back in 1975, having discovered the group playing in a Washington DC club. Gene was also the first person to champion the likes of VAN HALEN (financing their first ever demo) and CINDERELLA, amongst others.

May found the far Eastern market treated to a rare compilation entitled 'Chikara' issued by the Polystar label in anticipation of Japanese tour dates. With demand high for any KISS related product the album was subsequently heavily bootlegged for Western consumption.

In July 1988 Simmons and Stanley surprised New York by turning up at the Limelight Club and jamming with former compatriot Ace Frehley's outfit FREHLEY'S COMET on the old KISS chestnut 'Deuce'.

In August KISS arrived in Europe to participate in a series of 'Monsters Of Rock' festivals headlined by IRON MAIDEN, including a show at the prestigious Donington event in Britain. Gene and Paul had visited the previous year in order to check the whole thing out for themselves in advance. Indeed, IRON MAIDEN remain the only band KISS has ever played beneath since the support tours of 1974!!

The band arrived back in Europe a few months later on a tour which found the band's show radically stripped down to the basics, a move clearly designed to let the music do the talking.

Late 1988 brought with it the compilation album 'Smashes, Thrashes And Hits', a record of remixed 'classics' and a couple of new songs. Amongst the latter were 'Let's Put The X In Sex' and '(You Make Me) Rock Hard' plus a surprising, new version of 'Beth', this time featuring a new vocal courtesy of Eric Carr. Most fans agreed that this was something of a slap in the face for Criss and Carr would've been better suited singing a re-recorded version of 'Black Diamond', a song he had performed live with the band since joining in 1980.

1989 to 1991

KISS fans would be intrigued to learn of a new band unit entitled KEEP, established in early 1989 as an unfortunately short-lived band project with strong KISS connections, featuring as it did drummer PETER CRISS and guitarist Mark St. John. The original line-up saw Criss joined by singer Michael McDonald, ex-707 guitarist Kevin Russell and bassist Joey Mudarri. 'Michael McDonald' was apparently a pseudonym for David Donato, ex-WHITE TIGER frontman and also known for his 1985 tenure with BLACK SABBATH.

Meantime, KISS returned in late 1989 with the new studio set 'Hot In The Shade' (wryly an abbreviated H.I.T.S. but originally due to be titled 'Crimes Of Passion'), a record that saw KISS going for a slightly more retro sound if tracks like 'Betrayed' were any indication. The album not only featured a version of 'Hide Your Heart' (also recorded by BONNIE TYLER and ACE FREHLEY!) but also Eric Carr's 'Little Caesar' on which the drummer, many feel, made his legitimate vocal debut.

Surprisingly, GENE SIMMONS and PAUL STANLEY donned the make-up to form part of a flashback sequence for the video to new single 'Rise To It' during November 1989. Simmons also involved himself in producing the latest album from German ex-WARLOCK songstress DORO and Japanese Metal act EZO's debut American release. Initially 'Hot In The Shade's sales were not as expected but with the power ballad 'Forever' securing major radio play in early 1990, climbing to number 8 in the singles chart, KISS once more geared up for a full blown live extravaganza. Testing the waters KISS opened up with a short run of club dates, commencing in Galveston, Texas in late March. These smaller shows saw LITTLE CAESAR as openers. Suitably broken in, a mammoth US tour followed exhaustively covering the entire country from early May until the grand finale at New York's Madison Square Gardens on the 9th of November. The band, surrounded by lasers, made a spectacular entrance from the open mouth of "Leon" the sphinx - a quite enormous stagepiece depicting the album cover. In usual KISS fashion their stage set pulled out all the stops, Leon not only emitting lasers from his mouth but also firing projectiles from his eyes and even being animated to sing along with 'God Of Thunder'! Touring to promote the record continued well into 1990, dates in North America during May seeing both SLAUGHTER and FASTER PUSSYCAT as support.

KISS were struck a massive blow when in November 1991 Carr, aged just 41, finally succumbed to cancer. Carr had been diagnosed in May of that year and had been undergoing treatment throughout the recording of the hard edged 'Revenge' album.

1992 to 1995

KISS pulled in Cleveland, Ohio born Eric Singer on the drum stool - whose past pedigree included BADLANDS, ALICE COOPER, BLACK SABBATH, GARY MOORE and a stint with LITA FORD. The drummer's first official appearance as a member of KISS came at the music industry N.A.M.M. trade show in 1992. The year had started off well for the band with KISS donating a cover version of ARGENT's classic 'God Gave Rock n' Roll To You II' to the soundtrack of the movie 'Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey'. In the UK this single put KISS back into the top five of the charts.

The Bob Ezrin produced 'Revenge' album itself proved to be one of the band's heaviest efforts since 'Creatures Of The Night' and as usual saw song-writing collaborations on many of the songs. Perhaps the strangest of these being the track 'Unholy' co-written with ex-KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent, the hatchet seemingly well and truly buried between Simmons and Stanley with their former colleague. Further credits included 'Thou Shalt Not' written by Simmons and SILENT RAGE front man Jesse Damon and 'Take It Off', a joint effort between Stanley and SKID ROW guitarist Dave Sabo. In addition, Simmons had been writing with 60's icon BOB DYLAN on songs that never made the final listing.

At this stage in their career KISS had sold in excess of 70 million albums, easily outstripping sales of such other heavyweights as BLACK SABBATH and AEROSMITH. Despite this the 'Revenge' tour opened up rather humbly to nightclub audiences in North America throughout April and May of 1995, these shows seeing Gary Corbett drafted on keyboards. Then, revamping the 'Hot In The Shade' stage set the band hit the UK that Summer with DANGER DANGER opening, and made a very brief personal appearance at a chaotic fan convention at London's Astoria theatre on the day of the Wembley Arena gig. The full-scale 'Revenge' tour, pulling in erstwhile ALICE COOPER keyboard player DEREK SHERINAN as offstage keyboard player, got underway that October. The live show was scaled up considerably, complete with Statue of Liberty stage prop - exploding to reveal skin and bones during 'War Machine', echoing the 1968 'Planet Of The Apes' Sci-Fi classic, an elaborate laser light show and even live strippers for the track 'Take It Off'. KISS rounded off these shows with a patriotic 'Star Spangled Banner' and an enormous pyrotechnics display as the Statue of Liberty saluted in Rock n' Roll fashion by giving the audience the middle finger!

Following the release of the 'Alive III' album, GENE SIMMONS and PAUL STANLEY involved themselves in a number of band related projects. Most notably the publication of a coffee table tomé entitled 'Kisstory, detailing the history of the group alongside a tribute album that involved a host of contemporary artists covering KISS songs. The latter had been inspired by the appearance of the 'Hard To Believe' compilation of Australian origin that had boasted several underground acts (including NIRVANA, of all people!) covering KISS songs in a variety of manners.

Eventually released under the title of 'Kiss My Ass', the Simmons and Stanley co-coordinated effort turned out to be not quite the amazing package originally conceived, largely thanks to record label politics dictating that interested bands like SKID ROW and NINE INCH NAILS were prevented from contributing. Nevertheless, such weighty names as RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, LENNY KRAVITZ, DINOSAUR JR., FAITH NO MORE and even STEVIE WONDER and Country star GARTH BROOKS did appear. The album's artwork was also spoilt by the refusal of ACE FREHLEY to allow his copyrighted make-up design to be featured anywhere on the packaging. A last minute redesign was thus made.

KISS put in a number of spot U.S. dates in 1994 including the Chicago 'Blaze' festival in April and the Nashville Gibson guitars 100th anniversary show that July. Throughout August and September they would be engaged in a series of 'Monsters Of Rock' festivals in South America, performing in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico alongside BLACK SABBATH and SLAYER. Early 1995 marked a return to Japan in January then Australian gigs dubbed the 'Kiss My Ass Downunder' tour.

In the latter stages of 1995, KISS found themselves holed up in Hollywood's Music Grinder Studios recording a follow-up to 'Revenge'. Produced by Toby Wright, the album had the tentative title of 'Carnival Of Souls' and recording was planned to be completed by Christmas. The album's release was delayed in order to accommodate the release of an album celebrating the band's successful appearance as one of the latest big names on MTV's 'Unplugged' series.

KISS also had plans for a newly developed comic book cum official fanzine entitled 'KISSnation'. A multitude of problems with the project resulted in the publication eventually seeing the light of day in the summer of 1997 as part of an official band publication in association with the US Rock magazine 'Metal Edge'. By time the band had inked a deal with 'Spawn' creator Todd MacFarlane for a KISS based comic series entitled 'Psycho Circus', which debuted in mid 1997.

1996 to 2002

The 'Unplugged' show proved to be a catalyst for a huge event in the history of the group. The group pulled something very special out of the hat for MTV as the show marked the first time since 1979 that Simmons and Stanley had played together with both ACE FREHLEY and PETER CRISS.

The ex-KISS pair had recently been touring together on an interesting double headlining package and had been invited to the MTV filming by Gene and Paul seemingly as a special treat for fans at the climax of the show. In hindsight, there was a hidden agenda and before long the talk was that a full scale KISS reunion was on the cards.

With the 'Carnival Of Souls' album delayed as the 'Unplugged' album made its appearance in the stores, the inevitable occurred. The original line-up of KISS turned up unannounced - in full 'Love Gun' era regalia - at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in early '96 before making it official at a press conference. Meanwhile an ex-KISS man, guitarist VINNIE VINCENT was in contrast undertaking a low key promotion campaign to promote his new 'Euphoria' EP.

Whilst Kulick teamed up with another recently dumped musician, ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE singer John Corabi to form UNION, Eric Singer would eventually return playing with erstwhile CANDY, KILL FOR THRILLS and GUNS N' ROSES guitarist GILBY CLARKE in 1997. The pair had ironically grown up mere streets away from each other in Cleveland, Ohio yet hadn't met until many years later.

Singer also recorded with ex-GIUFFRIA and DIRTY WHITE BOY vocalist DAVID GLEN EISLEY and MOTHER'S ARMY bassist Bob Daisley on German guitarist Peter Scheithauer's STREAM project's 'Nothing Is Sacred' album. The record was released in Germany during March 1998.

To 'celebrate' the return of the original incarnation of the band, PolyGram released the live compilation album 'You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best'. This record comprised previously released tracks culled from 'Alive!' and 'Alive II' plus four previously unreleased live tracks from the same period. The Japanese version of the album added a live rendition of 'I Was Made For Loving You' (featuring Eric Carr on drums) from Australia in 1980.

The reformed original line-up made a surprise debut appearance playing the Weenie Roast in Los Angeles in advance of the official launch of the 'Alive / World-wide' tour at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. The tour was scheduled to run through North America until November before the group hit Europe, although KISS had made a brief visit to Britain in August to make a headlining appearance at the Castle Donington 'Monsters Of Rock' festival.

Strangely, yet another compilation album ('Greatest Hits') was rolled out in Europe to mark the group's long awaited return to the arenas. Hitting Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South America in early '97 KISS resumed touring in America. They caused something of a stir in Columbus, GA on April 5 when Peter Criss had to miss the show on doctor's advice due to an injury to his arms that prevented him from playing that night. He was replaced by his drum technician Eddie Kanon who wore Criss' cat make-up and costume, Paul Stanley making no secret of the fact by announcing that Kanon was standing in after the second song of the set. Criss resumed his duties the following evening in Nashville, Tennessee.

Winding up the 'Alive / World-wide' tour with a headlining open air show at Finsbury Park in London on July 5. KISS planned to start work on a brand new studio album - the first recorded by the original line-up since 'Dynasty' - amidst rumours that a fourth live album was also being planned alongside an all new video package.

To 'celebrate' the London show, PolyGram in Britain mysteriously decided to issue another compilation album, lazily titled 'Greatest Hits'. Ace Frehley was one of the first to point out that he and Peter Criss didn't play on three of the songs (including the opening track 'Crazy Crazy Nights') - those tracks being taken from the 80's KISS albums!

In a dramatic development 'Billboard' magazine announced that VINNIE VINCENT was suing KISS for unpaid royalties in a row that centred on a contract of employment that the guitarist had steadfastly refused to sign during his tenure as a band member. Vincent's refusal to sign the document was cited as the reason for his dismissal back in 1984. (Vincent ultimately lost this case and was landed with a massive legal bill).

During the latter half of 1997, whilst KISS worked on the new album, the band's profile was kept at a high with the introduction of brand new merchandise. Included were such diverse products as boots, golf balls, beach towels, jigsaws, a KISS Visa card, rubber Halloween masks, die-cast toy cars although the planned Gene Simmons Dragon boot slippers failed to materialise!

The MacFarlane Toys manufactured action figures were eventually released in America to huge demand during August. The first run was a complete sell out and the subsequent issues were released in altered packaging and containing miniature solo albums in place of a stand representing a letter from the band's infamous KISS logo.

Rather strangely, PolyGram decided to finally release the shelved 'Carnival Of Souls' album in October in the middle of a re-issue scheme of making the entire back catalogue available once more in re-mastered form and containing as much of the original packaging re-created for CD.

KISS finally set to work on a brand new studio album in the winter of 1997. Tentatively titled 'Psycho Circus' (a tie-in with the MacFarlane published comic series), the record was being produced by Bruce Fairbairn.

A new set of action figures were due to be introduced in late 1998, based upon the 'Psycho Circus' characters as the merchandising went into overdrive once more offering a Gene Simmons 'Destroyer' era Halloween costume and a companion to 'Kisstory' entitled 'Toys, Games & Girls Collectors Bible' amongst a whole host of other goodies. 'Psycho Circus' itself was set for release in September and the new world tour was kicked off on Halloween playing to a sold out Los Angeles Dodger stadium crowd on October 31st. After the concert, KISS determined to get to their hotel despite bad traffic marched through Los Angeles in full regalia.

Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick were quick to bounce back into action in late 1998 with the release of the ERIC SINGER PROJECT album 'Lost And Spaced. Not only did the duo cover the KISS track 'Goin' Blind' for this record but also pulled in ACE FREHLEY on guest guitar. Kulick also put in a showing on the debut MYSTIC HEALER album issued the same year.

'Psycho Circus' finally emerged in 1999 and was generally regarded as a true return to form. Interestingly, European copies of the album, although prominently displaying the visages of Criss and Frehley, included a credit for Bruce Kulick on guitar and ex-BREATHLESS man Kevin Valentine on drums. In later interviews Frehley would confess to performing about "half" of the guitar parts on the album. The band's profile would loom large in the cinemas too courtesy of the movie 'Detroit Rock City', a 70s tale of American teens in pursuit of KISS tickets. The film would spawn a rare 7" single release featuring KISS performing the title track from the movie while THE DONNAS took on 'Strutter'.

Meantime, ex-KISS guitarist Mark St. John bounced back the same year with the release of a five track EP credited to the MARK ST. JOHN PROJECT fronted by ex-TALAS singer PHIL NARO. Also of interest to KISS fans would be the debut SHAMELESS record 'Backstreet Anthems'. Not only did the SHAMELESS project see Eric Singer figuring in a major capacity but it would include a cover version of the KISS track 'Flaming Youth'. Better was to come though and the second SHAMELESS outing 'Queen For A Day' boasted not only a further KISS track in 'Tomorrow' but also the song 'American Man', co-written by GENE SIMMONS and the BLACK N' BLUE duo of Jamie St. James and Tommy Thayer. Touring Europe SHAMELESS cemented the KISS connection further by employing none other than Bruce Kulick on guitar.

KISS did not have it all their own way for their sell out tour of America. At the band's Laguna Hills show in California KISS management rep Tommy Thayer (ex of BLACK 'N BLUE and KISS tribute band COLD GIN) was forced to don Ace's make up and stage gear as the errant guitarist had not showed up. Fortunately for Thayer, Ace arrived at the venue with less than an hour to spare to show time.

Stanley had more serious concerns though when he was the subject of a legal action brought by a fan in Grand Rapids who claimed that his trashed guitar and wrapped a string around her finger resulting in permanent nerve damage.

By the close of 2000 it was announced that KISS had grossed a staggering £62 million in tour receipts. The tour still had a substantial run to go though and the strains were beginning to tell. Rumours of old animosities resurfacing came to a head when Criss announced his departure. The band pulled in Eric Singer once again as a logical replacement but horrified many ardent fans by having their new man adopt the Criss 'Cat' make up. The band's Australian shows would witness a unique if surreal event when two die-hard fans were married, in full Gene and Paul make up, on stage in front of 15'000 people. Another character receiving a full public accolade was Ace Frehley. The guitarist would be inducted into the Bronx walk of fame ranking the Space Ace alongside such other famous Bronxites as film director Stanley Kubrick, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell and actor Hal Linden.

Outside of band activities GENE SIMMONS would stand in as shock jock Howard Stern's guest in June whilst PAUL STANLEY would grace the nations TV screens starring in a commercial for Folgers Coffee first aired in July! In keeping with the beverage theme the band engaged in the ultimate zenith of consumerism during the summer of 2001 when the soft drink 'KISS KOLA' was launched!

Another obscure item of interest to KISS fanatics came with the low profile release billed as a tribute to the late KISS drummer Eric Carr. RALPH CARLE issued the 'Prophecy' album which featured a lead in intro taken from a radio ID Carr had recorded just prior to his death in 1991. The last track on the album 'Your Turn To Cry' is actually a recording made by THE CELLARMEN, Carr's first act. The album also came in a sleeve mimicking the famous KISS solo records with Carle in his own KISS type make up.

In October a mammoth 94 track, 5 CD disc box set arrived chronicling the entire span of KISS' career. Rarities included on official release for the very first time would include WICKED LESTER tracks, demos, soundcheck recordings and unreleased live material. Quite incredibly this expensive outing would give KISS yet another gold record surpassing the half a million sales mark. This achievement now ranked KISS only second to THE BEATLES in the gold albums listings.

It would also be announced that Eric Singer had formed a studio alliance with Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD and DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell to record a version of KISS' 'Shout It Out Loud' for a movie soundtrack.

During March of 2002 KISS undertook a private party gig in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Alongside the SCORPIONS and NAZARETH the band, reportedly performing for a huge fee, numbered Simmons, Stanley, Singer and Tommy Thayer on guitar. Shortly after Stanley put in a TV guest appearance on the 'Chris Isaak show'. Playing himself, Stanley performed Isaak's own 'All I Want Is Your Love' and the KISS classic 'Rock n' Roll All Nite'. Multi platinum Mexican Pop star PAULINA RUBIO would add to the KISS coffers by recording, with the full endorsement of PAUL STANLEY, a revamped Latin Dance version of 'I Was Made For Loving You'. Meantime the Simmons money making machine appeared to be stepping into overdrive with the frontman now staking a claim at both ends of the life cycle with both KISS endorsed condoms ('Tongue lubricated' in a box of three box with foil wrappers adorned with a head shot of Simmons in full makeup, legendary tongue fully extended) and coffins! Simmons also launched his own adult magazine suitably entitled 'Tongue'.

The KISS Simmons / Simmons / Thayer / Singer line up would perform again at a taped session for the 'American Bandstand's' 50th Anniversary TV show in April. Meantime former drummer ANTON FIG, describing himself as "unaccredited on Kiss albums" released a solo album 'Figments' on Planula Records which featured a guest slot from ACE FREHLEY.

KISS reportedly ended their 25 year relationship with Mercury Records during May. Many reports linked the band to a possible signing with Spitfire Records to issue the much anticipated fourth live album although further speculation hinted at a brand new Bob Ezrin studio album. Other circulating rumours suggested PETER CRISS was welcome to return but Tommy Thayer had permanently usurped Frehley.

Pleasing fans eager to hear new recordings, the band would be confirmed as contributing to the RAMONES heavyweight tribute 'We're A Happy Family', assembled by Johnny Ramone and ROB ZOMBIE. KISS cut a version of 'Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio?' which included contributions from their former touring keyboard player DEREK SHERINAN and the PINK FLOYD credited saxophonist Scott Paige.

Meantime, a KISS tribute album with a twist was announced for release later in the year coming from British spoof act SACK TRICK. The record, 'Sheep In KISS Make Up, would include an impressive roll call of guests including IRON MAIDEN vocalist BRUCE DICKINSON, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and ex-RAINBOW singer Doogie White among others.

Rumours of a further mammoth KISS tour projected for Autumn 2002, supposedly with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer being designated new stage costumes and characters, would be denied by Simmons. Interestingly the frontman revealed that he viewed KISS to be more of a team of players than a band and that both Frehley and Criss were still part of that team. With KISS taking time off Singer busied himself on the road as part of GILBY CLARKE's band.

KISS fever maintained its velocity to such a degree that another compilation collection 'The Very Best Of Kiss' charted globally and GENE SIMMONS sold over 50'000 condoms in just three months. With this success, the 'Studded Paul' condom was launched in October.

At a press conference in Melbourne, Australia that same month, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss confirmed media speculation that KISS was to enter the realms of the Classical, giving details of a one-off concert with the 60-piece Melbourne Symphony to be held at Telstra Dome on February 28th 2003. The show, captured for a DVD release, blended KISS' traditional Rock show with the orchestra all adorned in full character make up.

2003 to 2008

Rumours of a combined arena tour with AEROSMITH for late 2003, originally mooted as a union a year before, would be confirmed in January. The three month trek saw SALIVA as opening act and Tommy Thayer taking the KISS guitar role with PETER CRISS on drums. For these dates the band took their marketing reputation to the next level by selling 'Platinum package' tickets, guaranteeing front row seats and backstage passes, for a cool $1'000 dollars.

One of the more unexpected tributes to KISS came in early 2003 with the album 'Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to Kiss', a Bluegrass take on the KISS classics performed by HAYSEED DIXIE. Simmons too weighed in with a treat for die hard fans, revealing plans to include a CD of unreleased demo tracks 'Everybody Knows' and 'You're My Reason For Living' with his book 'Sex Money Kiss'. A brand new GENE SIMMONS solo album was apparently also in the works.

The band formed their own Kiss Records label for the 'KISS Symphony: Alive IV' record, which notably received gold sales status for half a million pre-sales. The press statement issued to announce the formation of this imprint, in alliance with Sanctuary Records, was notable for officially quoting Tommy Thayer as an official band member. As 'KISS Symphony: Alive IV' reached the stores the KISS / AEROSMITH arena extravaganza hit the arenas playing to packed out houses. Playing to mostly capacity arena crowds and re-visiting many cities due to high ticket demand, one interruption came on 15th August when a scheduled sold out gig at the Detroit, Michigan Comerica Stadium was cancelled due to the East Coast power outtage.

Overall the mammoth KISS / AEROSMITH 'Rocksimus Maximus' package proved to be a blockbuster event and by early October, still with two months to run unitil its 20th December close in Fresno, California, had grossed over $31 million dollars. The tour, playing to over one million fans, went on to sell out ninety percent of its shows and Rolling Stone magazine estimated the dates had netted each band more than $400,000 a night. AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry played his part in making sure the dates went out on a high by joining KISS onstage for their 14th December gig in Oklahoma City for a rendition of 'Strutter'. Perry even donned a pair of Stanley's thigh high stage boots for the grand finale.

Former KISS guitarist BRUCE KULICK had a close shave on 16th October, being shot in the leg. Apparently a 21-year-old man got into an argument inside the Rainbow Bar & Grill at about 1:20 a.m., grabbed a gun from his car and shot from Sunset Boulevard into a crowd at the club's patio area, injuring Kulick and one other man. Another bullet grazed his head. Fortunately Kulick was released from hospital shortly after.

As the year closed it emerged the KISS 'World Domination' tour was set to continue well into 2004. Rumours emerged that talks had taken place with potential touring partners DEF LEPPARD and VAN HALEN but that both acts had declined. Taking fans by surprise would be the confirmation that KISS was to tour Australia with Rap Metal act LIMP BIZKIT in tow that Spring. So odd was this combination that not only did KISS fans protest but the concert promoters took the unusual step of justifying their decision to pair the two bands by way of a press statement. Resulting strong fan opposition meant that by February it seemed LIMP BIZKIT's involvement had been curtailed. In their stead, GRINSPOON and MACHINE GUN FELLATIO took the role. KISS also invited 12 members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to join the tour in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for a special 30 minute encore performance.

Erstwhile KISS personnel Eric Singer and BRUCE KULICK featured as part of an all star cast on the 2004 KISS tribute album 'Spin The Bottle'. Donating their vocal talents would be TWISTED SISTER frontman DEE SNIDER, Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD, Phil Lewis of L.A. GUNS, Mark Slaughter of SLAUGHTER, KIP WINGER, Doug Pinnick of KINGS X, WWF wrestler and FOZZY frontman Chris Jericho, TOMMY SHAW and HELMET's Page Hamilton.

Keeping KISS both in the public eye and in the charts in Norway would be BLACK DIAMOND BRIGADE, a one off tribute act assembled by an all star cast comprising AMULET vocalist Torgny Amdam, Knut 'Euroboy' Schreiner of TURBONEGRO on guitar, Sigurd "Satyr" Wongraven of SATYRICON on second guitar, FAITH NO MORE's Billy Gould on bass with Tarjei Strøm on the drums. Their rendition of 'Black Diamond', included on the compilation album of the same name issued in February by Universal Records, peaked at no. 6 on the Norwegian singles charts. Eric Singer rejoined the band on drums for a series of Japanese shows in May. North American dates commencing in June would have both POISON and BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION announced as support acts. However, within hours of that report BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION main man Nikki Sixx stated that he would never tour alongside POISON, claiming he did not wish to be "attached to that kind of fake bullshit". Indeed, within days BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION had passed on the tour. The band's Australian arena shows would also see the interjection of some more intimate theatre gigs, dubbed 'Kiss In Your Face'. These concerts, in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, would be available by invitation only.

The momentum quicked for GENE SIMMONS second solo album too, with an original working title of 'Dog' had given way to 'Asshole', the song of the same name being contributed by Frank Tostrup of Norwegian KISS tribute band SHIRLEY'S TEMPLE. Oddly, SHIRLEY'S TEMPLE planned to release their cover of 'God Of Thunder' on 20th April, the exact day Simmons was to issue his album.

When 'Asshole' emerged the track-listing provided KISS fans with a bewildering catalogue of guest participations and historical lineage. Alongside the PRODIGY 'Firestarter' remake and collaborations with BOB DYLAN and FRANK ZAPPA, tracks of great interest to KISS afficianados would also be involved. 'Weapons', recorded with with BRUCE KULICK and Eric Singer and originally entitled ''Psycho Circus (Weapons Of Mass Destruction)' and originally slated for the KISS 'Psycho Circus' record, as well as 'Carnival Of Souls', another KISS outtake featuring RITCHIE KOTZEN on guitar. Another song, 'Sweet & Dirty', also held KISS history. Recorded by Simmons and BRUCE KULICK and Eric Singer once again, the track, under differing titles of 'Jelly Roll' and 'Rotten To The Core' had been in contention for KISS albums from as far back as 1977.

KISS' Australian dates would be marred by widely publicised anti-Islamic quotes from Gene on Melbourne's 3AW radio apparently claiming "This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's willing to just live in the sands of God's armpit, you've got another thing coming". Various Australian media were quick to comment but the singer soon hit back, denying he had made the remarks and adding "Lately, comments that have been attributed to me in the press have been printed. They are false".

The KISS / POISON tour rolled on throughout North America throughout the Summer generally pulling in healthy audiences. Shows in Washington D.C., Virginia Beach and Mexico City were captured on film for future DVD release. One interruption came in early August when shows in Tampa and Pensacola were pulled after frontman PAUL STANLEY "lost fluids and suffered heat exhaustion" at a prior concert in West Palm Beach.

On the ever expanding compilation front Universal weighed in with the 'Gold Sound+Vision' set, a forty song, two disc retrospective packaged with a DVD of the previously available 'Kiss Exposed' film. Extracurricular branding continued apace, the September Kroger 200 motor race at Richmond International Raceway seeing no less than three Chevrolet's, with drivers Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick, donning a KISS paint scheme.

Three quarters of KISS put in an unannounced gig of sorts when in mid October PAUL STANLEY, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer performed at the surprise birthday party of former Penthouse Pet of the Year Cheryl Rixon Davis in Hollywood. The trio performed three LED ZEPPELIN songs, 'Whole Lotta Love', 'Communication Breakdown' and 'You Shook Me', FREE's 'All Right Now' and KISS' 'Lick It Up'. On the 12th of that month Stanley underwent hip-replacement surgery on his left hip, necessitating six to eight weeks recovery time.

KISS fans in Norway assembled a tribute album of exceptional quality for 2005 release, even going so far as to draft Ken Kelly, the same artist responsible for the 'Destroyer' and 'Love Gun' sleeves to execute the artwork. The record was compiled by KISS Army Norway and Voices Music Entertainment, being produced by Stig Karlsen. Featured musicians included all female KISS tribute act the KISSETTES, SURFEROSA, STAGE DOLLS, Black Metal band ULVER and Tony Harnell and Ronnie Le Tekro of TNT repute. Ex-KISS guitarist BRUCE KULICK also joined WIG WAM for a version of 'I Was Made For Loving You'.

In December one of the most controversial pieces of KISS merchandise, the 'Kiss Kasket', would be put to a very public use. With the murder of PANTERA / DAMAGEPLAN guitarist Dimebag Darrell it would be soon learned that Darrell, a lifetime KISS fan, had requested he be buried in his favourite band's ultimate piece of merchandising. Meantime, the year closed for PAUL STANLEY with a second session of surgery on his hip to correct problems that had arisen following his hip replacement in October. These complications forced the curtailment of planned European festival dates for Summer 2005. Stanley used the down time by concentrating on his solo outing. He would also find time to collaborate on the song-writing front with Boston based Pop Rockers THE CLICK FIVE on the track 'Angel To You (Devil To Me)' included on their debut album 'Greetings From Imrie House'.

Ex-KISS guitarist BRUCE KULICK announced a batch of reformation shows for his UNION band in Japan for late January 2005. However, with regular drummer Brent Fitz unable to make the dates KISS drummer Eric Singer stepped in as replacement. Support bands for the shows would be KISS tribute acts KISS DOLLS, KISSIN' TIME and KISS JAPAN. This prompted a re-activation of E.S.P. for European dates in April with Singer and Kulick being joined by John Corabi and the DIO and ALICE COOPER credited bassist Chuck Garrick.

In June the Recording Industry Association of America revealed KISS had sold over 19 million albums in the USA. The band was back in action for a one stop 'Honda Fest' gig at the Columbus Convention Center on September 10th as a private function for employees of the giant Japanese car manufacturer. Eric Singer broke from touring with ALICE COOPER's band to perform. On November 19th PAUL STANLEY married longtime girlfriend Erin Sutton at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington in Pasadena, California.

KISS returned to touring in 2006, announcing Japanese shows for July. The band performed at the first annual VH1 'Rock Honors' televised show, to "salute the groundbreaking bands of rock, the once-in-a-lifetime events and the influential people who made a lasting mark on the history of hard rock", held on May 26th at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Events Center to pay tribute to the achievements of KISS, QUEEN, DEF LEPPARD and JUDAS PRIEST. To honour KISS, the event assembled an all-star band consisting of ROB ZOMBIE on vocals, the GUNS N' ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER credited Slash on guitar, Scott Ian from ANTHRAX on bass with TOMMY LEE of MÖTLEY CRÜE on drums and a surprise inclusion of ACE FREHLEY to run through 'God Of Thunder'. KISS ended the night by taking the stage in full make-up for 'Detroit Rock City' and 'Love Gun'.

PAUL STANLEYs solo album was still waiting in the wings into 2006 although in June he finally revealed that 'Live To Win' was to be released through Universal Music in September. Former MARILYN MANSON guitarist JOHN 5 contributed guest guitar to the track 'Where Angels Dare'. Meantime, GENE SIMMONS scored a surprise television hit with his reality show 'Gene Simmons Family Jewels'.

A DVD covering the band's formative years comprising six hours of unreleased footage along with live performances and four full concerts, 'Kissology: Volume One 1974-1977', was launched in October. Universal Music released 'Alive! 1975-2000' box set comprising KISS' first three 'Alive' albums in Europe on November 17th. The four-disc box set included the previously unreleased fourth disc, of the originally intended 'Alive IV' album that was advertised in 2000, recorded on New Year's Eve 1999/2000 at Vancouver's Place Concert Bowl.

PAUL STANLEY assembled a live band to undertake US solo shows throughout October and November. For these concerts Stanley's backing band comprised the entire cast of the 'Rock Star' television show house band in guitarists Jim McGorman and Rafael Moreira, bass player Sasha Krivstov, the WHITESNAKE associated keyboard player Paul Mirkovich and drummer Nate Morton. Main support for these concerts came from New York's SLUNT. Stanley's first show of the tour, on October 21st at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia included both well known and obscure KISS numbers 'Magic Touch', 'Got To Choose', 'Hide Your Heart', 'Do You Love Me', 'Strutter', 'Love Gun', 'I Still Love You', 'Million To One', 'Lick It Up' and 'Detroit Rock City'. From his 1978 solo debut Stanly performed 'Wouldn't You Like To Know Me' and 'Goodbye'.

The 'Kissology: Volume One 1974-1977" DVD box set sold over 52,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at number 1 on Billboard's Music Video chart. Meantime, the 'Kiss Alive! 1975 - 2000' box set sold over 9,000 copies in the United States in its first week to land at position 167. By January 2007 'Kissology: Volume One 1974-1977' had been certified quintuple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

It was announced on April 5th 2007 that former KISS guitarist Mark St. John (a.k.a. Mark Norton) died from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 51 years old.

In March 2008 KISS provided the after show concert to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne, performing to over 50,000 people. KISS then headlined the 'Rock2Wgtn' festival in Wellington, New Zealand over Easter, topping a bill alongside OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE, ALICE COOPER, POISON and LORDI.

A KISS collection, entitled 'Jigoku-Retsuden (Kiss Best - Kissology)', was scheduled for a release in Japan on 27th August 2008 via DefSTAR Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Japan. The limited edition version of the CD, which featured re-recorded versions of the band's classics completed with the group's line up including guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, also contained a bonus DVD featuring footage of KISS' 2nd April 1977 concert at Budokan taken from 'Kissology Volume One'.

2009

KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons lent their voices to a special episode of Nickelodeon's show 'The Fairly OddParents', an Emmy Award winning American animated television series created by Butch Hartman. The resulting three-part movie, entitled 'The Fairly OddParents: Wishology', was broadcast in May 2009.

With Paul Stanley acting as producer, KISS entered the recording studio to cut new album tracks in February 2009. Four tracks had been completed by the close of March, with the band claiming this new material harked back to their former glories. In other studio activity, both Gene Simmons and Eric Singer guested on erstwhile KISS guitarist BRUCE KULICK's third solo album 'BK3'.

More than 10,000 tickets were sold for KISS' 5th April 2009 concert at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires within the first 24 hours of public on-sale. KISS performed in Peru as a first for the band on 14th April at the Estadio Nacional in Lima and Venezuela for the first time ever on 17th April at La Riconda Hippodrome in Caracas.

On 20th May KISS appeared on the annual reality show and singing competition 'American Idol', performing to an audience of 28.8 million people. They were introduced by finalist Adam Lambert, who had sang the KISS classic 'Beth' prior to the band taking the stage with Lambert, complete with stack heel boots,perform their classic songs joining in to 'Detroit Rock City' and 'Rock And Roll All Nite'.

KISS celebrated the release of its new album, 'Sonic Bloom', with a special concert on 25th September at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

The long awaited KISS studio album, 'Sonic Boom' was released on 6th October exclusively via Wal-Mart, Walmart.com and Sam's Club retail locations. Wal-Mart staged special "KISS Korners" as sales points, these including not only album displays but also a wide variety of merchandise such as T-shirts, throw blankets, Mr. Potato Heads and even M&Ms.

The album, produced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley in Los Angeles, was the centerpiece of a three-disc set that also featured a completely re-recorded greatest hits CD, which was previously available in Japan as 'Jigoku-Retsuden', as plus as a live DVD filmed in Argentina during the band's 'KISS Alive 35' South American tour. Both Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer not only contributed compositions but sang lead vocals on their own tracks too. Harking back deliberately to their glory days, the 'Sonic Boom' cover artwork was created by Michael Doret, who had also designed the band's classic 'Rock And Roll Over' album cover.

Garry Sharpe-Young / Dave Reynolds

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009

Discography

Album


SONIC BOOM 2009

IN CONCERT 2008

ALIVE 35 2008

JIGOKU-RETSUDEN 2008

KISS ALIVE: 1975-2000 2006

INSTANT LIVE 2004

KISS SYMPHONY: ALIVE IV 2003

PSYCHO CIRCUS 1998

CARNIVAL OF SOULS - THE FINAL SESSIONS 1997

MTV UNPLUGGED 1996

ALIVE III 1993

REVENGE 1992

HOT IN THE SHADE 1989

CRAZY NIGHTS 1987

ASYLUM 1985

ANIMALIZE 1984

LICK IT UP 1983

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT 1982

(MUSIC FROM) THE ELDER 1981

UNMASKED 1980

DYNASTY 1979

LOVE GUN 1977

ALIVE II 1977

DESTROYER 1976

ROCK AND ROLL OVER 1976

ALIVE! 1975

DRESSED TO KILL 1975

KISS 1974

HOTTER THAN HELL 1974

Single/EP


The Donnas / Kiss 1999

Psycho Circus (Single) 1998

We Are One 1998

The Bosstones / Kiss 1994

Unholy 1992

Every Time I Look At You 1992

God Gave Rock n' Roll To You II 1991

Rise To It 1990

Forever 1989

Hide Your Heart 1989

I Was Made For Loving You 1988

Deuce (Original demo version) 1988

Turn On The Night 1988

Let's Put The X In Sex 1988

Crazy, Crazy Nights 1987

Reason To Live 1987

Tears Are Falling 1985

All Hell's Breakin' Loose 1984

Heaven's On Fire 1984

Thrills In The Night 1984

Lick It Up (Single) 1983

The Oath 1982

I Love It Loud 1982

Down On Your Knees 1982

Creatures Of The Night (Single) 1982

I'm A Legend Tonight 1982

Killer 1982

I 1981

A World Without Heroes 1981

Talk To Me 1980

Is That You? 1980

2'000 Man 1980

Shandi 1980

What Make The World Go 'Round 1980

Tomorrow 1980

I Was Made For Lovin' You 1979

Dirty Livin' 1979

Magic Touch 1979

Sure Know Something 1979

Presumido EP 1978

Radioactive 1978

Rocket Ride 1978

Strutter '78 1978

Shout It Out Loud (Live) 1977

Calling Dr. Love 1977

Christine Sixteen 1977

Love Gun (Single) 1977

Then She Kissed Me 1977

Shout It Out Loud 1976

Hard Luck Woman 1976

Detroit Rock City 1976

Flaming Youth 1976

Beth 1976

C'mon And Love Me 1975

Rock And Roll All Nite 1975

Rock And Roll All Nite (Live) 1975

Nothin' To Lose 1974

Kissin' Time 1974

Strutter 1974

Let Me Go Rock'n Roll 1974

Visual


KISSOLOGY - THE ULTIMATE KISS COLLECTION VOL. 2 (1978-1991) 2007

KISSOLOGY - THE ULTIMATE KISS COLLECTION VOL. 3 (1992-2000) 2007

LICK IT UP - THE DEFINITIVE DVD 2006

KISSOLOGY - THE ULTIMATE KISS COLLECTION VOL.1 (1974-1977) 2006

ROCK THE NATION LIVE! 2005

THE BEST OF KISS - THE DVD COLLECTION 2004

KISS GOLD 2004

KONFIDENTIAL & X-TREME CLOSE-UP 2004

KISS SYMPHONY - THE DVD 2003

THE LOST CONCERT 2003

LIVE IN LAS VEGAS 2002

THE SECOND COMING 2000

KISS MTV UNPLUGGED 1996

KISS MY A** 1994

KONFIDENTIAL 1993

KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK 1986

EXPOSED 1986

ANIMALIZE LIVE UNCENSORED 1985

Compilation


BEST OF KISS 2009

LEGENDS OF ROCK 2009

THE BEST OF KISS 2008

PLAYLIST PLUS 2008

UNMASKED BOX SET 2008

15 KISS FAVORITES 2008

15 KISS CLASSICS 2008

PLAYLIST YOUR WAY - KISS HITS CD 2008

DESTROYER BOX SET 2008

IKONS 2008

DOUBLE PLATINUM BOX SET 2006

20TH CENTURY MASTERS: THE BEST OF VOL. 3 2006

KISS CHRONICLES - 3 CLASSIC ALBUMS 2005

GOLD 2005

20TH CENTURY MASTERS: THE BEST OF VOL. 2 2004

20TH CENTURY MASTERS: THE BEST OF VOL. 1 2003

THE VERY BEST OF KISS 2002

KISS BOX SET 2001

THE ORIGINALS 1974-1979 1998

KISS GREATEST HITS 1997

GREATEST KISS 1996

YOU WANTED THE BEST...YOU GOT THE BEST 1996

FIRST KISS, LAST LICKS 1989

CHIKARA 1988

SMASHES, THRASHES AND HITS 1988

ROCKANROLEANDO TODA LA NOCHE 1985

O' ROCK DE KISS 1985

THE SINGLES 1985

CON TODO EL PODER DE LA MUSICA 1984

30 ANOS DE ROCK 1984

KILLERS 1982

GREAT ROCK ARTISTS 4- THE BEST OF KISS 1981

BEST OF SOLO ALBUMS 1980

THE BEST OF THE SOLO ALBUMS 1980

LO MEJOR DE KISS 1978

ASSEMBLED ESPECIALLY FOR RADIO FROM THE KISS ALBUMS 1978

THE ORIGINALS II 1978

DOUBLE PLATINUM 1978

THE ORIGINALS 1976

Promotion


Modern Day Delilah 2009

Say Yeah 2009

I Finally Found My Way 1999

Detroit Rock City (Promo) 1999

Metallica / Kiss 1999

Nothing Can Keep Me From You 1999

Master And Slave 1998

Psycho Circus (Promo) 1998

We Are One (Promo) 1998

Within 1998

You Wanted The Best 1998

Jungle 1997

Selected Tracks From Greatest Kiss 1996

Every Time I Look At You (Live) 1996

Blockbuster Greeting 1996

I Love It Loud (Promo) 1993

Detroit Rock City (Live) 1993

I Was Made For Lovin' You (Live) 1993

Unholy (Promo) 1992

I Just Wanna 1992

Domino 1992

Every Time I Look At You (Promo) 1992

God Gave Rock And Roll To You (Promo) 1991

Rise To It (Promo) 1990

Forever (Promo) 1990

Let's Put The X In Sex (Promo) 1989

Hide Your Heart (Promo) 1989

Heaven's On Fire (Promo) 1988

Crazy Crazy Nights (Promo) 1987

I Was Made For Lovin' You (Promo) 1979

I Want You 1976

Shout It Out Loud (Promo) 1976

Nothin' To Lose (Promo) 1974

Strutter (Promo) 1974

Kissin' Time (Promo) 1974


INSTANT LIVE: RIDGEFIELD, WA 06/22/04 2004