The American band Kiss was founded in 1973 in New York. Overall, the band sold about 100 million albums and is thus one of the most successful hard rock bands in the world. Founding members of the band were Paul Stanley (born 1.20.1952) (vocals, rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (born 25. 8. 1949) (vocals, bass), Ace Frehley (born 27. 4. 1951) (lead guitar, vocals ) and Peter Criss (12. 12. 1945) (drums, vocals).
The first years
The first appearance of the still young Hard Rock band, took place on 30.01.73 in New York to which only three paying spectators came. About half a year after the unsuccessful concert, the band decided to record a demo tape. This included only five songs and was sent to Neil Bogart, by Buddah Records. A short time later, Bogart was head of Emerald City Records where Kiss, thanks to her new manager Bill Aucoin, could conclude a deal.
Kiss recorded their first studio album later that year. In December of the same year they had the first official concert. This took place in New York, in the Academy of Music.
The first tour of the band was from 05.02.74 on. Kiss toured North America and gave the first concert of the tour in Edmonton, Canada. Only two weeks later, the first album under the same title “Kiss” was released. The album’s success was mediocre, putting it in 87th place on the charts.
In the summer of 1974 Kiss recorded their second album in Los Angeles, which was released under the name “Hotter than hell”. “Let me go, rock ‘n’ roll” was the only single release from the released in October album. Since none of the two albums was really successful, Neil Bogart decided to take the production of the third studio album in his hands. While the first albums had a classic “garage sound”, the third album should have a good and well produced sound. The third album was finally released in March 1975, under the title “Dressed to kill”. The single “C’mon and love me” became a hit, so that Neil Bogart and the band finally achieved their goal with the elaborate production.
Masking the band
The big hallmark of the band are the elaborate costumes and the typical masks. Each member has its own mask – The Cat, The Spaceman, The Starchild, The Demon. The prime color of the mask is white, the rest is usually made up in black, silver and red. On the one hand Kiss shocked the audience by their appearance from the beginning, on the other hand, they found this, according to their own words, funny.
The big breakthrough and the highlight
Kiss’s fourth album was a live album recorded during a concert in Detroit. “Alive!” sold millions of times and caused a rise in awareness of the band. The album received fourfold platinum, beyond that reached the single release “Rock and Roll all night” the top 40 of the charts. The album “Destroyer” was released in 1976 and was produced by Bob Ezrin. The album could not only repeat the success of the album “Alive!” but was the most successful album of the band. In the same year the studio album “Rock and Roll Over” was released. Only a year later followed “Love Gun”. Amazed by the success, the band had a great output and released an above-average number of albums. In 1977 followed “Alive II”, the second live album of the band.
At the peak of their career, Kiss broke the attendance record for a concert. Previously, the Beatles had led this title, but since the concert in Japan, the record was broken. In 1978, the first of many Greatest Hits albums, under the name “Double Platinum”, was released. Even Marvel Comics was inspired by the great success and musical creativity of Kiss and published several comics in which Kiss starred. In addition, there were many other merchandise items, such as counterfeiters, pinball machines, T-shirts and more. Even today, Kiss is considered the band that offers the largest assortment of merchandise.
The 80s heralded Kiss with the studio album “Unmasked”. Peter Criss decided to leave the band, but he was still pictured on the cover of the album. He participated in the music video of the single “Shandi”, but did not do that with the recordings of the album. Although the quality of the album’s production was in no way inferior to the other albums, it was the first album that did not receive platinum since “Dressed to kill”. The band’s new drummer, Eric Carr, was featured in an appearance at the Palladium Theater in New York. Afterwards Kiss went on tour in Australia and successfully completed the tour.
One year later, Kiss produced the first album with a new cast. With Carr on the drums the concept album “Music from the Elder” was recorded. The album achieved only modest success and finally ranked 75th in the charts. The compilation album “Killers” was released outside the US. For the first time, Kiss used her well-known name lettering on the cover, which met with criticism from the SS Runes, especially in Germany and the rest of Europe. Therefore, the logo was first defused for Germany and Europe.
In the same year Ace Frehley left the band, but was still on the cover of the 1982 released album “Creatures of the night” to see. Also in the video for the song “I love it loud” Frehley was still watching. This happened at the request of Stanley and Simmons, who made the decision for image reasons. In the production of the album, various guitarists had to step in for Frehley. Among others, Jim Vallance, Vinnie Vincent and Bryan Adams were involved in the production of the album. After the video shoot of “I love it loud” Kiss went on tour while Vinnie Vincent took Frehley’s seat on the guitar. The success of the tour was great, but still did not reach the previous successes of the band ran.
In 1983, Kiss released the studio album “Lick it up”, for their promotion. For the first time in history the band had a concert on the music channel MTV where they showed their faces open. The controversial performance achieved the desired effect and the album was sold more often than its two predecessors. Mark St. John soon replaced Vinnie Vincent on the guitar. With the new cast, the twelfth album of the band “Animalize” was released. The success of the album could build on “Lick it up”, but was not above average success. The tour that followed the album was successful, however, the new guitarist Mark St. John had to fight with health problems. Because he was suffering from Reiter’s disease, he could not play during the concerts in Europe and was replaced by Bruce Kulick. So it was only on 27.11.84 that he first performed with Kiss on stage during a concert in Baltimore. The next two concerts could successfully compete with Mark St. John, but his health problems caught up quickly and Kulick had to represent him again. Due to the constant failures, due to his illness, the band was forced to fire Mark St. John. Thus, Bruce Kulkick became a permanent member of the band.
With Kulkick on board, Kiss released more albums in the second half of the 80s. In 1985 appeared “Asylum”, 1987 “Crazy Nights”, 1988 “Smashes, Trashes & Hits” and 1989 “Hot in the Shade”.
While Kiss, along with Bob Ezrin, was in the planning for the album “Revenge”, the drummer Eric Carr learned that he suffered from cancer. He died on 24.11.91 and left an incomplete band. Thus, Eric Singer took his place on the drums. Finally, the album appeared in May 1992 and made it into the top ten charts.
The third live album of the band “Alive III” was released in the spring of 1993. One year later, “Kiss my ass” was released, which was a tribute to Kiss himself. Various artists like Lenny Kravitz contributed to the album. The band played an unplugged concert in 1995, which was mostly geared to the wishes of the fans. Just months later, Kiss released an official MTV unplugged, featuring former members such as Frehley and Criss. Shortly after the MTV unplugged Kiss started working on their 17th album, which was released two years later under the title “Carnival of Souls”. A year later, “Psycho Circus” was released, recording the original cast for the first time since “Love Gun”.
Farewell End Of The Road tour and today’s work
In early 2000, the band announced their big farewell tour, which took place in the US from the summer. At the beginning of the following year when the Australian and Japanese tour was on, Criss decided to leave the band. Eric Singer decided to step in and adapted Criss’ famous cats make-up.
Despite the farewell tour, the band decided to go on tour with Aerosmith. Meanwhile, the drummer Criss had joined the band again, but Frehley had left the band. This was represented by Tommy Thayer. In the new constellation the fourth live album “Alive IV” was recorded. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra accompanied Kiss.
In 2004, the Criss contract was not renewed. So Singer resumed his position in the band. Together with Poison, Kiss went on “Rock the nation 2004 World Tour” in 2004. A short time later, Simmons released his solo album “Asshole”. Since 2008, Kiss has toured the world again and again. In the winter of 2009, Kiss announced that they are working on another studio album. The album was released in October of the same year. Kiss were headliners in 2010 at the German Rock am Ring festival.
In the following years the band released an album “Monster” and had a successful tour around the globe. At the moment KISS is touring all around the world and End Of The Road tour dates are available on our website.