Shock rock band doing it ‘for the fans’ 20 albums in
By Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun
Canadians have always embraced KISS.
In the shock rock band’s early days, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were playing rooms a far cry from the arenas and stadiums they are now known to fill with pyro and solid rock thunder.
“Canada has always been great to us,” Stanley said in a recent interview with The Vancouver Sun. “Our first tour included lunch rooms and cafeterias of schools in Edmonton and Calgary when nobody knew who we were. So we’ve always had a great time, whether it’s in Moncton, Sudbury, Lethbridge — places where people go, ‘What are you doing here?’ and we say, ‘You don’t decide where you’re born but we decide where we play.’”
Forty years later and with a 20th studio album in tow — the old school, Detroit-style rocker Monster — little has changed about KISS’s philosophy: Rock and roll all night, party every day.
Doing so, KISS continues to offer a fan-oriented experience like no other band can, a recipe that has generated millions of KISS Army members, and licensing and merchandising revenue like few acts on the planet boast.
Celebrating the kickoff of its latest Canadian tour with a press conference at its KISS Army Depot pop-up store at Vancouver’s Tom Lee Music, KISS was staking its claim that fans have always craved the merch.
“The whole idea with the KISS Army Depot was to let the fans run their own store,” Stanley said. “It’s a guerrilla store, so-to-speak. It circumvents the big business and it allows the fans to have the say of where it goes.”
A number of the pop-up stores have appeared across the country in some of the cities where the band will be stopping: Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary — even though the recent flooding has forced the band to cancel its performance — and Toronto.