Kiss Biography

Review The Artist (34)

Source: KISS: Behind the Mask
Kiss-photo

Following the demise of Wicked Lester, Kiss were formed in 1972 by Paul Stanley (b. Stanley Eisen, 20 January 1950, Queens, New York, USA; rhythm guitar, vocals) and Gene Simmons (b. Chaim Witz, 25 August 1949, Haifa, Israel; bass, vocals), who went on to recruit Peter Criss (b. Peter Crisscoula, 27 December 1947, Brooklyn, New York, USA; drums, vocals) and Ace Frehley (b. Paul Frehley, 22 April 1951, Bronx, New York, USA; lead guitar, vocals). At their second show at the Hotel Diplomat, Manhattan, in 1973, Flipside producer Bill Aucoin offered the band a management contract, and within two weeks they were signed to Neil Bogart's recently established Casablanca Records. In just over a year, Kiss had released their first three albums with a modicum of success.

In the summer of 1975 their fortunes changed with the release of Alive! , which spawned their first US hit single, with the reissued live version of 'Rock And Roll All Nite' climbing to number 12 in November. The appeal of Kiss has always been based on their live shows: the garish greasepaint make-up, outrageous costumes and pyrotechnic stage effects, along with their hard-rocking anthems, combined to create what was billed as 'The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Show On Earth'. Their live reputation engendered a dramatic upsurge in record sales, and Alive became their first certified platinum album in the USA. Destroyer proved just as successful, and also gave them their first US Top 10 single, earning Peter Criss a major songwriting award for the uncharacteristic ballad, 'Beth'.

Subsequent releases, Rock And Roll Over , Love Gun and Alive II , each certified platinum, confirmed the arrival of Kiss as major recording artists. By 1977 Kiss had topped the prestigious Gallup poll as the most popular act in the USA. They had become a marketing dream: Kiss merchandise included make-up kits, masks, board games, and pinball machines. Marvel Comics produced two super-hero cartoon books, and a full-length science-fiction film, Kiss Meet The Phantom Of The Park, was even produced. The ranks of their fan club, the Kiss Army, had swollen to a six-figure number.

In September 1978 all four group members released solo albums on the same day, a feat never before envisaged, let alone matched. At the time, this represented the biggest shipment of albums from one 'unit' to record stores in the history of recorded music. The albums enjoyed varying degrees of success; Ace Frehley's record came out on top and included the US Top 20 hit single, 'New York Groove'. Gene Simmons, whose album featured an impressive line-up of guests including Cher , Donna Summer , Bob Seger and Janis Ian , had a hit single in the UK with 'Radioactive', which reached number 41 in 1978. After the release of Dynasty in 1979, which featured the worldwide hit single, 'I Was Made For Lovin' You', cracks appeared in the ranks.

Peter Criss left to be replaced by session player Anton Fig, who had previously appeared on Frehley's solo album. Fig played drums on the 1980 release Unmasked until a permanent replacement was found in the form of New Yorker Eric Carr (b. 12 July 1950, d. 24 November 1991), who made his first appearance during the world tour of 1980. A fuller introduction came on Music From The Elder , an album that represented a radical departure from traditional Kiss music and included several ballads, an orchestra and a choir. It was a brave attempt to break new ground but failed to capture the imagination of the record-buying public. Frehley, increasingly disenchanted with the musical direction of the band, finally left in December 1982. The two albums prior to his departure had featured outside musicians.

Bruce Kulick, who had contributed to the studio side of Alive II and played on Stanley's solo album, supplied the lead work to the four previously unreleased tracks on the Killers compilation of 1982, and Vincent Cusano (later to become Vinnie Vincent ) was responsible for lead guitar on the 1982 release, Creatures Of The Night . By 1983 the popularity of the band was waning and drastic measures were called for. The legendary make-up that had concealed their true identities for almost 10 years was removed on MTV in the USA. Vinnie Vincent made his first official appearance on Lick It Up , an album that provided Kiss with their first Top 10 hit in the UK. The resurgence of the band continued with Animalize .

Vincent had been replaced by Mark St. John (b. Mark Norton), a seasoned session player and guitar tutor. His association with the band was short-lived, however, as he was struck down by Reiters Syndrome. Bruce Kulick was enlisted as a temporary replacement on the 1984 European Tour, and subsequently became a permanent member when it became apparent that St. John would not be able to continue as a band member. Further commercial success was achieved with Asylum and Crazy Nights , the latter featuring their biggestUK hit single, 'Crazy Crazy Nights', which peaked at number 4 in October 1987 and was soon followed by another Top 40 hit single, 'Reason To Live'.

Hot In The Shade succeeded their third compilation album, Smashes, Thrashes And Hits , and included another US hit single, 'Forever', which reached number 8 in February 1990. Work on a new Kiss album with producer Bob Ezrin was delayed following Eric Carr's illness due to complications from cancer. He died on 24 November 1991, in New York, at the age of 41. Despite this setback, Kiss contributed a hit cover version of Argent 's classic 'God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II' (UK number 4, January 1992) to the soundtrack of the film Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, and brought in replacement drummer Eric Singer (ex- Black Sabbath ; Badlands ). The album Revenge also provided them with their highest charting US album (number 4), and their first Top 10 release since Dynasty reached number 9 in 1979.

The Kiss My Ass tribute album was released in 1994, with contributions from Lenny Kravitz , Stevie Wonder , Garth Brooks , Lemonheads , Faith No More , Dinosaur Jr, Rage Against The Machine and others. The interest in Kiss My Ass led to a historic reunion for MTV Unplugged . A stable unit with Bruce Kulick (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums), together with Simmons and Stanley, appeared to be on the cards, but Frehley and Criss returned for a reunion tour. So successful was the tour that Kulick and Singer were naturally somewhat annoyed and both quit. Their irritation was further exacerbated by the fact that a new studio album, Carnival Of Souls , featured both of them. In 1997 Vincent sued the band, alleging that they owed him royalties.

A year later Psycho Circus marked the return of the original line-up to the studio, and became the group's highest charting US album when it debuted at number 3 in October. With a history spanning three decades, Kiss' impact on the consciousness of a generation of music fans, particularly in the USA, remains enormous.

Thanks to #KnowsalmosteverythingaboutKISS for submitting the biography.

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The Best | Reviewer: DWH | 11/27/13

I have been fan since I was 11. I love all the albums but my favorite album is Music from the Elder. The one song on the album that as helped me alot is the song I. The song has given me confidence everytime I listen to it. I also love the bass in Under The Rose. I also enjoy the song Mr. Blackwell. I am probally just one of the few that trully appreciate the album for what it is. Simpley the best album that they have ever did.

all great bands from late sixtys and early seventys | Reviewer: bob | 8/18/13

I was born in 1953. I was blessed to grow up with the bands that came out from my early teen years. I loved Sabbath, the Stones, led zep, jethro tull, beatles, so many you cant name them all. I like all types of music. I think they all borrow a little from each other to make it great. musicians is a family.

i do Like all Songs They have the one i like is I was made Lovin you the Best | Reviewer: Francie Munoz | 8/17/13

Hi Kiss Band my name is Francie Chantal Munoz Molina iam Big Fan of you someday we can meet you guys in person face to face and i do like all Songs you guys have the one i like the Best is I was made loving you the Best and how about all of us have Coffee and tea someday be Fun Thankyou for Everything too. Bye for Now sign out From: Francie Chantal Munoz Mliona.

Kiss The Group that won;t go away! | Reviewer: Menion | 6/15/13

I like kiss don't get me wrong. They have done some great songs and for the most part i like the songs. Only problem i have is that they are on a continual farewell tour. Farewell means good bye......it doesn't mean to stick around for decades after they say they are going to retire.

not obsessed... Addicted | Reviewer: AmberLynn | 7/12/12

Rock on KISS!!!

I absolutely love KISS my family and friends all say i'm obsessed but i dissagree...i'm addicted(and i don't want help :p)

I will be dressing up as a KISS fan in this year's halloween parade in selinsgrove. i wanted to dress up as Paul, Gene, Tommy, or Eric; i finally decided to go with Paul's outfit, but then i realized since Paul is a man he can show off his chest, i'm a girl in high school, i dont think my color guard coach would appreciate it very much. Gene's and Tommy's outfits would be to restrictive and i don't think i would be able to maneuver my flag very well in one of them, and Eric's outfit shows just as much as Paul's does.

i would just die to march through and entire parade with 7" platform heals, but i couldn't find them anyway. i did find a pare of 3" that will work just fine. So i've got the boots and i'm gonna do Paul's make-up i'll just have to find shirt now. I found a few on hottopic.com but none that i really liked(i want one with all their faces on it), Hot Topic really doesn't have much of a selecion for KISS.

if anyone has any sugestions i would love to use them. Thanks.
Rock on KISS!!! I love you and "I Love It Loud"!!!
<3 |:G.S.|P.S|T.T.|E.S.:| <3
feed my addiction to KISS!(very addicted, but at least this is a good and healthy addiction.)

KISS fan forever,
AmberLynn

KISS - your opinion is invalid | Reviewer: LeaLoo | 6/26/12

So, let's talk about KISS shall we. The band that people continue to call crap, untalented, sell outs.

KISS are responsible for influencing several bands that many Metal and Glam rock fans adore.
Pantera for example - Dimebag worshipped KISS, so much in fact that he was buried in a KISS casket and had Ace frehley tattooed to his chest. Why not search some of their concert footage and you're sure to find one or two performances of their fave KISS songs - Cold Gin springs to mind.
Motley Crue - Another band influenced by KISS. Nikki Sixx loves them especially.
Black Veil brides - personally not my taste - are clearly influenced by KISS.

KISS have never declared to be talented - far from it. They spent many years trying to play guitar and trying to sing without lessons in either, working hard to get where they are. nothing was ever handed to them on a plate.
They do not claim to be the greatest musicians - but they love playing, so that's why they continue to do it.
They do not deny their early influences for their image - Slade for example with their make-up in the early days.

KISS pay homage to their influences all the time.
Before they hit the stage, A Led Zeppelin track, for example, will play. One of Paul Stanleys favourite bands. They will make several references to The Who throughout the show.

KISS know that their image is what has stuck in peoples minds, and pehaps had more of an impact on the music industry than the music itself. This is why the merchandise keeps growing.
They know that they are lucky to be in the limelight of fame.
At the end of the day, they are businessmen, and if they can keep doing what they love by writing songs and giving crazy energetic performances to sell out venues, then hell they are gonna keep doing it.

Paul Stanley has had hip replacements and vocal surgery because of his passion for the band, the music and his fans.

The KISS Army grows every single day.
There's no limits to the fans - all ages, from all walks of life. There is no competition, no nastiness.

This my friends, is why KISS are iconic, influential, and ROCK.

KISS ROCKS!!! :) | Reviewer: AmberLynn | 6/14/12

Hello. So, I've only been a KISS fan for about four or five months now, but KISS is by far my favorite band ever, their the best!! I'm only sixteen so my friends say their before my time... i don't think so!! I was born in the wrong generation. To all you people who dissagree with the FACT that KISS is the best band ever, you are entitaled to your own opinion, however I just want you to know that your opinion is wrong. :P to the unnamed KISS hater and all the other HATERS your opinion is wrong. Slipknot is an extreamly creepy, odd band did you know they made the top ten scariest musicions list? I'm not that dumb to tell you this then leave out the fact that GENE $IMMONS also made that list, however he rocks so it does not make a difference. Also Slipknot's entire band made the list. :P
My friends tell me I'm a KISS encyclopedia. I saw one of their cd's in a store and I really didn't know much about them and the cd cover wasn't fancy at all, but my high school marching band plays rock and roll all night at every football game, (I'm in the color guard and love it when we do rock and roll all night!) anyway i just saw the KISS icon cd and just decided to try it. (Love it) The second one i got is Sonic Boom and i love that one to as well as KISS icon2. Does anyone know where i can find a KISS UNMASKED album? I think it's a pretty cool and clever cover and would love to find it. Oops sorry didn't realize how much I wrote sorry! KISS rocks! I LOVE THEM!!! bye :) (love all of kiss past, present and future. and i hope i'll get to meet them some day!) bye-bye!! <3KISS!!! <3|:P.S./G.S./T.T./E.S.:|<3

jimmy boy | Reviewer: jim nelson | 12/6/11

first i want to say to the slipknot fan grow up asshole they suck. kiss has done it all i have been a kiss fan since 1979. they have gotten better with age... sonic boom was a great and the new one monster will be better!!!!!

kiss is #1 | Reviewer: k1ss fan!!!! | 11/17/11

dear people out there who hate kiss.....
i see that you all have writen how mutch u hate kiss and that you thing where mental well think again people kiss are worldwide known and yes (Captain spazz) mabey they are now just some silly old men by they still would get more sex than you would in your intire lifetime and there like fucken 60 or 70 yrs old!!!!!!!!!!!.......

kiss are rock gods | Reviewer: stuart | 9/15/11

kiss are rock gods and no 1 can say they suck i am the number 1 kiss fan and i practicaly worship kiss my favourite is gene simmons and eric carr u rule all kiss and i can play loads of kiss songs on drums

Loyal Soldier of the KISS Army | Reviewer: Elros | 8/21/11

I have been a fan of KISS since 1976 at the tender age of three, and I had the privelage of seeing them live for the first time two years ago at a concert in Washington, DC. I can tell you that when it comes to doing live shows, KISS remains unmatched. Both Gene and Paul are extremely prolific songwriters, and their songs kick serious ass. To those of you on this review who think that they suck, well, you certainly have the right to your own opinion, but I also know that there are quite literally hundreds of millions of fans all over the world, including myself, that would vehemently disagree with you. However, I will give you props for leaving your names, as well as having the courage to speak your minds. For the one KISS hater that chose to remain anonymous, I say TO HELL WITH YOU! You are nothing but a GUTLESS COWARD! As far as I go, well, let me just list their accomplishments over the last 37 years to give you younger fans a better perspective, and to give you haters a serious reality check:

They are regarded as the most recognizable, and one of the most influential rock n' roll bands of all time.

They have accrued more gold albums than any other rock band in history.

Nearly 100 million records sold worldwide.

The most marketed band in history.

Hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, spanning multiple generations.

A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Mind you, a rare honor for a rock band).

Countless other bands and solo artists have named KISS as an early influence (Garth Brooks, Lenny Kravitz, Van Halen, just to name a few).

KISS has basically led a Hall of Fame-calibur career, despite the fact that that haven't been inducted (YET!) which, in my view, is an absolute travesty. As I said before to all of the haters, you are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with it, or to like it.

Kiss sucks | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/15/11

Anyone who thinks kiss is even musically talented is a f*cking moron----Kiss is by far the worst band ever......The are just a bunch of ass clowns on stage with gay make-up----I boggle smy mind to think some people still listen to that crap....they are worse than any boy band ever........and ps......SLIPKNOT RULES>>>>>>>F*UCKING MAGGOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kiss | Reviewer: arastosmat | 6/16/11

To Captain Spazz... First Kiss really doesn't do much screaming they actually sing and dont sounds like shit such as slipknot. And 2nd if you say people are mental and need to go to a doctor at least spell doctor correct please. You can't even say that was a typo it was so far off! Also to kaneohe Kiss went without their makeup from 83-96 look stuff up before you try to sounds intelligent please. And Sammy unless you listen to country or odler rock nearly no one can sing, they all sound like shit. Thankfully KISS is not one of those who sound terrible. And finally Tiffany if your mom was at those parties lets face it she was messed up on drugs too! And 96 was their reunion so they were partying like none other since they were back together!

KISS is truly horrendous | Reviewer: abc | 10/30/10

People who wear KISS t-shirts are kind of like guys who have mullets and/or goatees or girls that have dyed, bleach-blonde hair wnd fluffy bangs; you want to ridicule them for their lack of taste, but you realize that they're so far in the hole that pity is the only thing you can muster. Take the makeup off of these geriatric clowns and tell me if they would have EVER gotten a recording contract. Their look is as hardcore as John Wayne Gacy. Their sound is as hardcore as Britney Spears (the 12-yr old Mickey Mouse Club version)

KISS is just the worst | Reviewer: kaneohe | 10/29/10

KISS is likely the worst band ever. To label them a "font of mediocrity" would be overwhelmingly generous. If not for the makeup, humanity would have been spared the 30+ year aural assault of these geriatric clowns because their "talent" alone would have never earned them a paying gig, much less a recording contract. Pure, unadulterated, bubble-gum rock shit. These guys make the Archies look like the Beatles.


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