By Alan Sculley
Earlier this year, Kiss received a big dose of vindication when the original edition of the band — singer-guitarist Paul Stanley, bassist-singer Gene Simmons, guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss — were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Today's edition of Kiss — with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer having replaced Frehley and Criss — is following up that event with a tour that marks the 40th anniversary of the group. The group will play Aug. 24 at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown.
Obviously, Kiss has had a major impact on rock 'n' roll — in terms of albums sold (more than 100 million worldwide), stage shows (groundbreaking pyro-filled productions) and appearance (their iconic makeup gave a blueprint for any number of acts from Slipknot to Daft Punk to the Residents).
The makeup — with Stanley as the starchild, Simmons the demon, Frehley the space ace and Criss the catman — remains perhaps Kiss' greatest signature, and it helped create a mystique that was a big part of the band's appeal in the 1970s and early '80s — the group's peak years as hitmakers.
Looking at today's pervasive social media, Stanley doubts Kiss could have kept the secrecy that created a larger-than-life image for the band.
“I think that certainly, in all walks of life in terms of public figures, there is a certain mystique that is gone because everything is known,” Stanley says. “I think mystique is healthy. And I think to glamorize and fantasize is a good thing. I'm not sure that Kiss could have accomplished what we did initially in this time because (in the '70s and '80s) we could make sure that photos weren't available and the paparazzi didn't have photos of us out of makeup. We could create this mystique.”