By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
Photo by Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY
"Look at Kiss culture," says Gene Simmons, radiating pride. "People tattoo their bodies with Kiss faces, name their children after our songs, have Kiss conventions.
"This is Planet Kiss; we just live on it. The stage is holy ground, and what we do is electric church."
Holy hyperbole! The kabuki kibitzers of big-top rock are back in greasepaint and spandex, armed with a new album and a fresh stage spectacle to solidify a legacy built on thundering riffs, pyrotechnics, superheroic role-playing and hucksterism.
The singer/bassist, 60, and guitarist Paul Stanley, 57, are meeting in the Sunset Strip office of manager Doc McGhee to chat up Sonic Boom, Kiss' 19th studio album and first since 1998's Psycho Circus. The album, out today exclusively at Walmart, is a three-disc set with a CD of re-recorded hits and a DVD of a Buenos Aires concert packaged with 11 new songs. It's $12, "the price of a sandwich," Simmons crows.
The band began writing last spring, rehearsed tunes in May and recorded in June, wrapping up Boom by mid-July. Reviews have lauded the album's return to the crunch and muscle of '70s classics Destroyer and Love Gun.