They didn’t want a band, they wanted an extravaganza
By LARRY GETLEN
Nothin’ To Lose
The Making of KISS, 1972-1975
by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
In the fall of 1973, the managers of the rock band KISS hired a magician by the name of Presto to teach one of the band members how to spit fire.
Band manager Bill Aucoin thought it would be a great on-stage stunt for the band’s singer/rhythm guitarist, Paul Stanley. But when he brought it up to the band and asked, “Which one of you guys doesn’t want to do it,” every hand went up except for that of singer/bassist Gene Simmons. From that day forth, Simmons’ fire-breathing has been one of the band’s key live attractions and an essential part of the rock star’s image.
Only problem is, Simmons didn't raise his hand by mistake, and never wanted to take on the dangerous stunt.
“I thought he said, ‘Which one of you guys wants to breathe fire?’ ” Simmons says in this oral history of the band’s early years. “I thought, f - - -, I don’t wanna breathe fire. It was a negative question and I forgot to raise my hand, so I was stuck.”
“Nothin‘ To Lose” delves into the often surprising origins to many of KISS’s stunts, outfits and gimmicks, which helped make them the most successful rock band ever to come out of New York City.