Kiss was formed in New
York in '72 by guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley (Stanley Eisen) and Gene
Simmons (Gene Klein). The line-up was rounded out by drummer Peter Criss
(Crisscoula), located through a Rolling Stone ad, and lead guitarist Ace
Frehley (Paul Frehley), who answered an ad in the Village Voice. The
band's cartoon image, kabuki makeup and 4th-of-July stageshow concept
was in place from the start, and they began promoting their own hall
shows in NYC. TV director Bill Aucoin saw them, became their manager,
and secured a deal for them with Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records within
two weeks. Three LPs were released in a year's time, but the live fourth
LP, Alive! (1975) contained their first huge hit, "Rock And Roll All
Nite." Until the early '80, Kiss was unstoppable, with two huge-selling
Marvel Comics, a network TV movie and four simultaneously-released solo
albums under their studded belts. In '80, Criss left for a solo career
and since then, the drum and lead positions have been ever-changing. In
'83, the band stripped away the makeup and celebrated renewed interest.
wanted the best, you got it! The hottest band in the land: KISS!" So
went the rally cry at the beginning of a Kiss concert, an event of
exploding pyrotechnics, vomited blood and louder-than-God hard rock.
Their fan club--The Kiss Army--swelled to six-figures strong during the
band's '70s heyday, and between 1974 and today they've sold in excess of
70 million albums.
the original band reformed (made up?), and took their full
costume-makeup-pyro 1976 show on the road--for a year-long
stint--resulting in one of the most successful rock tours ever.
Conjecture that the band wanted to quit on a high note has remained
unproven; anything could happen in Kiss' future.