Introduction Before KISS was formed, they were known as Wicked Lester. Wicked Lester had more of an emphasis on folk rock. Wicked Lester was disbanded in 1972 and formed the band KISS in 1973.
KISS Original Lineup The original lineup of KISS consists of: Paul Stanley: vocals, rhythm guitar Gene Simmons: vocals, bass guitar Peter Criss: vocals, drums Ace Frehley: vocals, lead guitar This lineup is known as KISS‟s most famous lineup
Paul Stanley Lead Vocals, rhythm guitar Takes the persona of “The Starchild” Given name: Stanley Harvey Eisen Stanley‟s original makeup design was “The Bandit” Stanley without makeup
Gene Simmons Bass guitar, lead vocals Takes the persona of “The Demon” Given name: Chaim Weitz Simmons without makeup Simmons blowing fire
Ace Frehley Lead guitar, vocals Takes the persona of “Space Ace” Given name: Paul Daniel Frehley Frehley Frehley‟s without smoking makeup guitar
Peter Criss Drums, vocals Takes the persona of “The Catman” Given name: George Peter John Criscolla Criss without makeup
1974 – The Beginning KISS Hotter Than Hell In 1974, KISS released their first two albums. Both albums did not sell well but contained many classic KISS songs including “Strutter”, “Deuce” and “Black Diamond” on KISS, Hotter Than Hell” andEven thoughtheir records “Let Me Go, Rock „n‟ Roll”where not on Hotter Than Hell.selling verywell, KISS KISS‟s costumescreated their were muchown loyal simpler becausefollowing with they did not havetheir innovative much money atlive the time.performanceswith stagetheatrics.
1975- From Bottom To Top Dressed To Kill In 1975, KISS released two albums, their first, “Dressed to Kill”. This album did not sell very well and KISS could have lost their recording contract. Alive!During this time KISS finally hit their bigand for the next breakthrough with theirfew years, KISS live album “Alive!”were thought to be which captured theirsatanic by many raw sound from theirpeople especially live performances andadults. They was their first record tothought KISS sell 500,000 copies.meant “Knights InSatan‟s Service”.
1976-1977: The Glory YearsDestroyer In 1976, KISS released their breakthrough album Destroyer. . It did not sell as well as expected until a radio station played the song “Beth” sung by Peter Criss. After that the album sales skyrocketed and Destroyer became KISS‟s first album to sell a million copies. It is known as KISS‟s best studio album among fans and contains KISS classics like “Detroit Rock City” and “God of Thunder”. Alive 2 Rock And Roll Over In 1977, KISS released their second live album, Alive 2, whichLove Gun contained live versions of their songs from 1976- 1977. In 1977, KISS released Love Gun. The album sound is very Also in 1976, KISS released Rock And Roll Over. This similar to the straight forward album marked the return of the straight forward hard hard rock that was found on rock that was found on their earlier releases. This their previous album. This album contains KISS classics like “Calling Dr. Love” album contains KISS classics and “Take Me”. like “Love Gun” and “Christine Sixteen”.
1976-Present: Merchandise KISS merchandise first appeared in 1976 and have generated more merchandise revenue than any other rock band. KISS merchandise has included everything from: Lunchboxes Condoms Action Figures Caskets Comic Books Video Games
1978: Solo Albums In 1978, each member of KISS would release a solo album. The solo albums created tensions between the band members because the solo albums were similar to a contest to see which album would sell the best. This caused each band members growing egos to clash against each other. Paul Stanley Gene Simmons Paul Stanley‟s solo Gene Simmons‟ album was the most solo album similar to the sound of sound was KISS. similar to The Beatles. Ace Frehley Peter Criss Ace Frehley‟s Peter Criss‟ solo album is solo album the favourite is known as among fans the worst and critics. among fans and critics.
1978-1980: Changing Times In 1978, KISS stared in the television movie, KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Unmasked The movie was poorly received by the band because of the idiotic way the movie made them appear. The tensions with the band members were very high at this point which is clearly show by this video.Dynasty In 1979, KISS released the In 1980, KISS released the album, album, Dynasty, which Unmasked. The album‟s pop rock contained the disco hit “I Was sound was not received well by fans Made For Lovin‟ You”. and critics. It was their first album not Drummer, Peter Criss, would to go platinum (one million records only play on one track sold) since 1975‟s Dressed To Kill. because of a serious car Peter Criss was credited for playing crash. This would be the last the drums though he had already left album Peter Criss would play the band. Anton Fig played the drums on until the reunion. Drums on this album. were played by Anton Fig.
Eric Carr 1980-1982: Decline Eric Carr would replace Peter Criss on drums in 1981. Carr Vinnie Vincent Music From The Elder drumming was influenced by the style of Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham. He took the persona of “The Fox”. Vinnie Vincent would replace Ace Frehley on guitar. He took the persona of “Egyptian Ankh Warrior”. In 1981, KISS released theCreatures Of The Night concept album, Music From In 1982, KISS released the The Elder. The album‟s art album, Creatures Of The Night. rock sound was received The album was KISS‟s heaviest poorly by fans and critics. to date thanks to Eric Carr‟s KISS thought the album was drumming. The album sales a bad idea to begin with. The were poor though it is sales of the album were so considered one of KISS‟s best poor that they did not tour to albums by band members and support the album. This was fans. Even though, Ace Frehley the last album Ace Frehley is one the cover, he does not would play on until the play on the album because he reunion. had already left KISS.
1983-1984:KISS Unmasks Mark St. John With KISS‟s decline in Mark St. John popularity, they thought it would replace would be a good time to try Vinnie Vincent something different. In 1983, as guitarist for KISS appeared in public for the Animalize the first time without makeup album. It would for an interview on MTV. This be his only put KISS back into the music album with spotlight after a few years of KISS. obscurity.Lick It Up Animalize In 1983, KISS released the album, Lick It Up. This was KISS first In 1984, KISS album to go platinum in released the the U.S. since 1979‟s album Dynasty. The album Animalize. The sales were boosted by album went MTV airplay of their platinum in the music videos. This U.S. thanks in would be the last album past to MTV with guitarist, Vinnie airplay of their Vincent after he was music videos. fired because of his behaviour
Asylum 1985-1990 In 1985, KISS released the album, Asylum. The album was the first with guitarist, Bruce Kulick. KISS would start to wear more flashy and colourful clothing because many glam metal bands were doing this successfully and KISS wanted to follow Bruce Kulick would join Bruce Kulick that trend. KISS as lead guitarist forCrazy Nights the Asylum album. He would stay with KISS until In 1987, KISS the reunion tour. release album, Crazy Hot In The Shade Nights. The album sound was similar to the Bon Jovi album, In 1989, KISS released the Slippery album, Hot In The Shade. The When Wet album is KISS‟s longest and featured studio album clocking in at keyboards. 58:39. The album contains the hit power ballad “Forever”.
Eric Carr 1991-1994 Eric Singer Eric Singer would November, 21st, 1991, was a sad day become the drummer for KISS with the death of drummer of KISS after Eric Eric Carr. Eric Carr was one of the Carr‟s death. He would best drummers of all time and was remain with KISS until loved by KISS fans. He was replaced the reunion but would by Eric Singer. return later after Peter Criss‟s departure.Revenge Alive 3 In 1992, KISS would release the album, In 1993, Revenge. The KISS would album is release the considered one of live album, the best KISS Alive 3. The albums ever made album was among fans and the third in band members. It the Alive was the first album series. with drummer Eric Singer.
1995-2001: The ReunionKISS Unplugged The Original Lineup of In 1995, KISS KISS surprised performed unplugged everyone when they on MTV with original appeared together at members Ace Frehley the 1996 Grammy‟s. A and Peter Criss. This few months latter they caused speculation held a press conference that a reunion could be to announce their in the near future. reunion. In 1998, KISS The 1996-1997, Psycho Circus released the Alive/Worldwide tour album Psycho was the first tour with all Circus. It was the original members since Detroit Rock City first album since the 1979 Dynasty tour. 1979‟s Dynasty This tour is KISS‟s most to have the successful tour of all original lineup time. play on the In 1999, the movie, Detroit album though Rock City was released. The Ace Frehley and movie is about four teenage Peter Criss did KISS fans who try to get into not participate in a KISS concert. The movie most of the bombed at the box office tracks. though it has become a cult classic among KISS fans.
Tommy Thayer 2002-Present Eric Singer Gene Simmons: Family Jewels Tommy Thayer Eric Singer would replace would become Ace Frehley as KISS‟s full time lead guitarist drummer in in 2002. He 2004 replacing donned Ace Peter Criss. He Frehley‟s donned Peter “Spaceman” Criss‟ persona. “Catman”Gene Simmons: Family Jewels was a persona.reality show that aired on A&E from 2006-2012. The show followed Gene Simmonsand his familys life. Monster Sonic Boom In 2009, KISS released the In 2012, album, Sonic KISS Boom. It was their released the first album since album, 1998‟s, Psycho Monster. The Circus. The album album has was well received received by fans and critics positive who praised it for reviews from being similar to fans and their 1970‟s work. critics.
KISS Army 1976 KISS Army Ad The KISS Army is a fan club that was started in 1975. During KISS‟s glory years (1975-1978) the KISS Army had about 100,000 members and made $5,000 USD per day. If you enlisted in the KISS Army, you receive KISS merchandise like a KISS Army key chain for $5.00 a year. KISS Army is also is used as the name for KISS‟s fan base. KISS re-launched the KISS Army in 2007 after many years of inactivity. The slogan for the KISS Army is “KISS Wants You!”