KISS is on its final tour, Gene Simmons pledges ahead of Anaheim date


Nearly 20 years after KISS’ farewell tour, Gene Simmons insists the band will hang it up for good when its “End of the Road” engagements conclude. Simmons, who turns 70 in August, said he simply cannot perform too far into his eighth decade wearing 40 pounds of armor and platform boots.

“This is a good time to do one last victory lap,” the band’s bass player, co-lead singer and public face, said by phone. “You want to go out on top.”

KISS has been rocking a feverish fandom since the mid-1970s, the shows as notable for outlandish makeup and costumes as for the similarly festooned “KISS Army” of attendees. The tour comes to the Honda Center in Anaheim on Feb.12, and Simmons promises that KISS — not precisely known for restraint — will exceed its previous spectacles.

“It’s by far the largest and most over-the-top we’ve ever done,” Simmons said.

This includes the band descending from the rafters to open the show. Fans can expect pyrotechnics aplenty and, of course, Simmons spitting fake blood and — dressed in a studded dragon costume — breathing fire.

“There’s nothing subtle about what we do,” he said, adding the show will incorporate gravity-defying antics and “more firepower than most Third World countries.”

Also familiar is the band’s long list of hits. The Kabuki makeup-painted rockers are performing “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Shout it Out Loud” and “Beth” on this tour, according to recent set lists, as well as stadium staples like “Detroit Rock City,” “Deuce” and “Black Diamond.”

When pressed if this truly is the end for KISS as a touring entity, Simmons said it’s a fair question given the propensity of acts — from Cher to the Eagles — hitting the road long after their promised codas.

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