01/26/2015

Kingmakers In Makeup: 15 Future Metal Superstars That Opened For KISS

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From their earliest tours onward, Kiss’s Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons prided themselves on selecting their opening acts. So for all the shock and awe properly heaped upon Kiss for their larger-than-lust, louder-than-life concert spectaculars, one aspect that gets overlooked is the group’s peerless skill as talent scouts.

As with each live performance’s (in)famous costumes, sets, fire, blood, lasers, thunder, lightning, robotics, and earth-shattering amplification, Kiss understood straight away that the first special effect to either grab or lose an audience immediately would be the musical act that kicked off any given night’s proceedings.

So for thirty-one tours over the course of forty years, Kiss has broken dynamic new talents to their massive, ferociously loyal fans that now spans multiple generations. The number of Kiss openers who became world-class headliners themselves is astonishing. Here’s a chronological look back at fifteen of the biggest and the best.

Rush  1975

1975 was a crucial year for both Kiss and Rush, so it was fortuitous for the two decidedly unique entities to come together.

Kiss struggled on the brink of extinction until the September release of their mega-platinum mainstream breakthrough album, Alive! Rush transformed as drummer Neil Peart took the lyrical reigns and the group issued the two albums that set the boilerplate for their superstardom to come: Fly by Night and Caress of Steel.

As a result, the Dressed to Kill tour began in 3,000 to 5,000 seat venues and, about sixty shows later, the bands were playing arenas. One thing that didn’t change, however, was the difference in how Kiss and Rush unwound backstage after the show.

Both groups still affectionately remember Kiss exploding into full superstar bacchanal mode while Rush would quietly slink off back to the hotel, maybe smoke a little weed, and watch TV.

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