By Robin Leach / Las Vegas Sun
Fire breathing, spitting blood, guitars on fire, levitating drum kits and extraordinary pyrotechnics have always been hallmarks of KISS led by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and it all finally took them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The rockers’ worldwide record sales are more than 100 million, making them one of the bestselling bands of all time. Incredibly, the group that formed in 1973 is going stronger than ever, and its Army of fans grows larger, too.
Now KISS is celebrating its 40th anniversary with its first-ever residency — at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel — where Gene promises: “What happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas, not if we have anything to do with it. We intend to blow the roof off the Hard Rock.”
KISS will play nine shows Nov. 5-23 with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer rounding out the action. Beneath that bizarre makeup beats the hearts of two astute businessmen who are marketing marvels. We actually share the same Wall Street investment banker.
I’ve known Gene and Paul for many, many years, so it’s always good to have a long chat with them. I caught up with Paul just before he left for Mexico City and his annual KISS Cruise.
You’ve just wrapped another one of those major tours?
We did 42 shows and played to 600,000 people, so right now I’m just catching my breath. Tomorrow I leave for Mexico City to headline a festival, then we have the KISS Cruise, which we do every year, and that’s sold out with 3,500 people from 33 countries. Then we come to Las Vegas, which is the icing on the cake.
Revisiting a childhood obsession as the rock-star superheroes come to Vegas
By Sean DeFrank / VegasSeven.com
I have a confession to make:
Despite appearances, I was never really in the Army. Yes, I wore the uniform, knew all the terminology and infiltrated its ranks, but after all these years—on the eve of KISS’ residency at the Hard Rock Hotel—I finally have to come clean: I was never an official member of the KISS Army in the ’70s. I had friends in elementary school who paid the $5 annual fee to become card-carrying members, but for reasons unknown to me even now, I never formally enlisted.
Having such a strong devotion to the band, maybe the official membership just seemed extraneous to me. After all, I bought all the affiliated merchandise, or rather my family did: posters, T-shirts, magazines, action figures, trading cards, puzzles, lunch box, a windbreaker jacket, you name it. Even the KISS Your Face Makeup Kit, which my mom used when I was Paul Stanley for Halloween in fifth grade (his makeup was the easiest to do). I had all the albums, some on vinyl and 8-track, even the four lame 1978 solo projects. OK, three were lame; Ace Frehley’s easily outrocked the others.
It wasn’t just my parents who were aware of and supported my habit. My stoic maternal grandfather purchased a copy of Alive II not only so I could listen to it when I visited, but also so he could learn more about this band I was infatuated with, a subtle gesture of love that wasn’t lost on me even then. And I remember distinctly the day in 1978 my paternal grandmother brought home the slick promotional magazine for KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park from the grocery store.
My dad promised he would take me to a KISS concert if they ever came to Las Vegas. But they only performed here once during the ’70s—in May 1975 at the Sahara (with Rush opening!)—not long before I became obsessed with the band.
Here are two of the most recent additions to the Official KISS Merchandise store.
The KISS Women's Military-Style Cap - This black distressed military cap pops with the KISS logo in bright, clear diamond crystals. Order now at http://www.shopkissonline.com/hats/kiss-women-s-military-style-cap-new.html
The KISS Bling Beanie - Look cool while keeping warm! This black beanie is adorned with clear diamond crystals. Order now at http://www.shopkissonline.com/hats/kiss-bling-beanie.html
Here's Gene on stage at the Honda Center last night in Anaheim, California.
Photo by Keith Leroux for KISSONLINE.
Here's Paul in action last night at the LA KISS season ticket holders concert in Anaheim.
Photo by Keith Leroux for KISSONLINE.