By KATE SNOW and DESIREE ADIB
Photo by Keysha McGrady
Fans of All Ages Still Flock to Band's High-Energy Concerts
Those grease-painted glam lords of campy metal are at back at it. Thirty-five years after their first album, Kiss has just put out "Sonic Boom," a new studio disc that's being sold exclusively next to the Cheerios and Windex at Walmart stores nationwide.
It has been 11 years since their last album, and despite their age -- singer and bassist Gene Simmons is 60 years old, while singer/guitarist Paul Stanley is 57 -- they are strapping on platform heels, smearing on the makeup and hitting big arenas nationwide for a 47-city tour.
"If the audience really wants you, they keep calling you back," says band co-founder Simmons. "I mean, look at us. I couldn't be in any other band, I'm a misfit. I'm an outsider. I can't be in the [Rolling] Stones or U2. Those little people would get in my way."
Outspoken singer Simmons may capture the spotlight as the fire-breathing face of Kiss, but "Sonic Boom" was the brainchild of Stanley. The two original members are joined by guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, replacing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.
"I could never imagine that we would be doing this this long, 35 to 40 years later and to be selling out," says Stanley. "I mean I could certainly see some of the guys in the band being in a padded cell thinking they were playing for a big crowd still. But here we are doing this, and it's amazing!"