KISS (band)
Overview
Kiss is an American rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 band formed in New York City in January 1973. Well-known for its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing
Fire breathing
Fire breathing is the act of creating a fireball by breathing a fine mist of fuel over an open flame. Proper technique and the correct fuel create the illusion of danger to enhance the novelty of fire breathing, while reducing the risk to health and safety...

, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

. Counting the '78 solo albums, Kiss has been awarded 28 gold albums
Music recording sales certification
Music recording sales certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped or sold a certain number of copies, where the threshold quantity varies by type and by nation or territory .Almost all countries follow variations of the RIAA certification categories,...

 to date, the most of any American rock band.
Encyclopedia
Kiss is an American rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 band formed in New York City in January 1973. Well-known for its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing
Fire breathing
Fire breathing is the act of creating a fireball by breathing a fine mist of fuel over an open flame. Proper technique and the correct fuel create the illusion of danger to enhance the novelty of fire breathing, while reducing the risk to health and safety...

, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

. Counting the '78 solo albums, Kiss has been awarded 28 gold albums
Music recording sales certification
Music recording sales certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped or sold a certain number of copies, where the threshold quantity varies by type and by nation or territory .Almost all countries follow variations of the RIAA certification categories,...

 to date, the most of any American rock band. The band has sold more than 40 million albums in the United States, of which 20 million have been certified by the RIAA and their worldwide sales exceeds 100 million albums. The 1973–'80 classic lineup of Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley
Stanley Harvey Eisen , better known by his stage name Paul Stanley, is an American hard rock guitarist, singer, musician, painter and songwriter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and primary lead vocalist of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's...

 (vocals and rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

 (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley
Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Kiss. He took on the persona of the "Spaceman" or "Space Ace" when the band adopted costumes and theatrics...

 (lead guitar and vocals), and Peter Criss
Peter Criss
George Peter John Criscuola , better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss...

 (drums, percussion and vocals) is the most successful.

With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personas of comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

-style characters: Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and Catman (Criss). The band explains that the fans were the ones who ultimately chose their makeup designs. Stanley became the "Starchild" because of his tendency to be referred to as the "starry-eyed lover" and "hopeless romantic". The "Demon" makeup reflected Simmons' cynicism and dark sense of humor, as well as his affection for comic books. Frehley's "Spaceman" makeup was a reflection of his fondness for science fiction and supposedly being from another planet. Criss' "Catman" makeup was in accordance with the belief that he had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn. Because of creative differences, both Criss and Frehley were out of the group by 1982. The band's commercial fortunes had waned considerably by that point.

Buoyed by a wave of Kiss nostalgia
Nostalgia
The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form.The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of , meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and , meaning "pain, ache"...

 in the 1990s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup in 1996. The resulting Kiss Alive/Worldwide/Lost Cities/Reunion Tour was the top-grossing act of 1996 and 1997. Criss and Frehley have since left Kiss again, but the band continues with Eric Singer
Eric Singer
Eric Doyle Mensinger , better known as Eric Singer, is a hard rock and heavy metal drummer for the rock band Kiss and formerly for singer Alice Cooper...

 and Tommy Thayer
Tommy Thayer
Tommy Cunningham Thayer is an American musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist for the American hard rock band Kiss.- Early life :...

, respectively. Stanley and Simmons have remained the only two constant members. Kiss has been named in many "Top" lists. They include Number 10 on VH1's
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

 '100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock', 9th on 'The Greatest Metal Bands' list by MTV, #1 on Hit Paraders's "Top 100 Live Bands", 56th on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists Of All Time", 2nd on Digital Dream Door's "Best Hair Metal Bands", and 26th on Gibson's "50 Greatest American Rock Bands". Kiss was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

, ten years after becoming eligible. However, on December 15, 2009, it was announced that Kiss did not make it in.

Early years and struggles (1971–1975)

Kiss traces their roots to Wicked Lester
Wicked Lester
Wicked Lester was the name of the New York-based rock and roll group that would eventually come to be known as Kiss. The band, under its original name, Rainbow, formed in 1970. The most notable original members were bassist Gene Klein, , and rhythm guitarist Stanley Eisen. The two would later be...

, a New York City-based rock and roll band led by co-founders Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

 and Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley
Stanley Harvey Eisen , better known by his stage name Paul Stanley, is an American hard rock guitarist, singer, musician, painter and songwriter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and primary lead vocalist of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's...

. Wicked Lester, with its eclectic mixture of musical styles, never achieved any success. They recorded one album, which was shelved by Epic Records
Epic Records
Epic Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Though it was originally conceived as a jazz imprint, it has since expanded to represent various genres. L.A...

, and played a handful of live shows. Simmons and Stanley, feeling that a new musical direction was needed, abandoned Wicked Lester in 1972 and began forming a new group.

In late 1972, Simmons and Stanley came across an ad in the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 version of Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 placed by Peter Criss
Peter Criss
George Peter John Criscuola , better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss...

, a veteran drummer from the New York scene, who was previously in bands called Lips and Chelsea
Chelsea (American band)
Chelsea was an early 70's band from New York City. Known most notably for their drummer Peter Criss of Kiss fame. They released one album, the self titled album Chelsea in 1970 and then collapsed during the recording of their unreleased second album....

. Criss auditioned for, and joined the new version of Wicked Lester. The trio focused on a much harder style of rock than Wicked Lester played. Inspired by the theatrics of Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

 and the New York Dolls
New York Dolls
The New York Dolls is an American rock band, formed in New York in 1971. The band's protopunk sound prefigured much of what was to come in the punk rock era; their visual style influenced the look of many new wave and 1980s-era glam metal groups, and they began the local New York scene that later...

, they also began experimenting with their image by wearing makeup and various outfits. In November 1972, the trio played a showcase for Epic Records A&R
A&R
Artists and repertoire is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label.- Finding talent :...

 director Don Ellis, in an effort to secure a record deal. Although the performance went well, Ellis hated the group's image and music. On top of that, as he was leaving, he was vomited on by Criss's brother.

In early January 1973, the group added lead guitarist Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley
Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Kiss. He took on the persona of the "Spaceman" or "Space Ace" when the band adopted costumes and theatrics...

. Frehley impressed the group with his first audition, although he showed up wearing two different sneakers, one red and one orange. A few weeks after Frehley joined, the Wicked Lester name was dropped and the band became Kiss.

Stanley came up with the name as he, Simmons, and Criss were driving around New York City. Criss mentioned that he was in a band called Lips, so Stanley said something to the effect of "What about Kiss?" Frehley created the now-iconic logo, making the "SS" look like lightning bolts, when he went to write the new band name over Wicked Lester
Wicked Lester
Wicked Lester was the name of the New York-based rock and roll group that would eventually come to be known as Kiss. The band, under its original name, Rainbow, formed in 1970. The most notable original members were bassist Gene Klein, , and rhythm guitarist Stanley Eisen. The two would later be...

 on a poster outside the club where they were going to play. The runic
Runic alphabet
The runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter...

 letters happened to look similar to the insignia of the Nazi SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

, a symbol that is now illegal to display in Germany. Therefore, to avoid controversy, since 1979 most of the band's album covers and merchandise in Germany have used a modified version of the logo instead, with the SS represented by two backwards Zs.

The band's name – which is often spelled in all capital letters – has been rumored to have many secret meanings, among them an acronym for "Knights In Satan's Service" and "Kids In Satan's Service" but has been shown to be false.

The first Kiss performance was on January 30, 1973, for an audience of three at the Popcorn Club (renamed Coventry shortly afterward) in Queens. For the first three gigs, January 30 – February 1, they wore little to no makeup; the iconic makeup designs associated with Kiss made their debut during the March 9–10 shows at The Daisy in Amityville, NY. On March 13 of that year, the band recorded a five-song demo tape with producer Eddie Kramer
Eddie Kramer
Edwin H. Kramer is an audio engineer and producer who has worked with, among others, Led Zeppelin, Triumph, Kiss , Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Spooky Tooth, Peter Frampton, Curtis Mayfield, Santana, Anthrax, Carly Simon, Loudness, and Robin Trower.-1960s:Eddie...

. Former TV director Bill Aucoin
Bill Aucoin
William "Bill" Aucoin was an American band manager, well-known for his work with the rock band Kiss.-Biography:...

, who had seen the group at a handful of showcase concerts in the summer of 1973, offered to become the band’s manager in mid-October. Kiss agreed, with the condition that Aucoin get them signed to a recording contract within two weeks. On November 1, 1973, Kiss became the first act signed to former teen pop singer and Buddah Records
Buddah Records
Buddah Records was founded in 1967 in New York City. The label was born out of Kama Sutra Records, an MGM Records-distributed label, which remained a key imprint following Buddah's founding...

 executive Neil Bogart
Neil Bogart
Neil Bogart was an American record executive. He is perhaps best known as the founder of Casablanca Records, with Peter Guber....

's new label Casablanca Records
Casablanca Records
Casablanca Records was an American record label started by Neil Bogart, who partnered with Cecil Holmes, Larry Harris, and Buck Reingold in 1973, and based in Los Angeles. The label was formed after all of them had left Buddah Records and secured financing by Warner Bros. Records to start the venture...

.

The band entered Bell Sound Studios in New York City on October 10, 1973 to begin recording their first album. On December 31 the band had their official industry premiere at the Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music is a major performing arts venue in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, United States, known as a center for progressive and avant garde performance....

 in New York City, opening for Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult, often abbreviated BÖC, is an American rock band, most of whose members first came together in Long Island, NY in 1967 as the band Soft White Underbelly...

. It was at this concert that Simmons accidentally set his hair (which was coated in hairspray) ablaze for the first of many times while performing his inaugural firebreathing stunt.

Kiss' first tour started on February 5, 1974 in Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, Canada, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium is a performing arts, culture and community facility, located in Edmonton, Alberta.-General information and history:...

. The band’s self-titled debut album, Kiss, was released on February 18. Casablanca and Kiss promoted the album heavily throughout the spring and summer of 1974. On February 19, the band performed "Nothin' to Lose," "Firehouse," and "Black Diamond" for what would become their first national television appearance, on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

's Dick Clark's In Concert (aired March 29). On April 29, the band performed "Firehouse" on The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that aired in syndication from 1961 to 1982, distributed by Westinghouse Broadcasting and for much of its run, originated from studios of two of the company's TV stations.The program featured light banter with...

. This broadcast included Simmons's first televised interview, a conversation with Douglas in which Simmons declared himself "evil incarnate," eliciting titters from an uncomfortable and largely confused studio audience. Fellow guest Totie Fields
Totie Fields
Totie Fields was an American comedienne.-Life and career:Fields was born Sophie Feldman in Hartford, Connecticut. She started singing in Boston clubs while still in high school, taking the stage name of Totie Fields...

 remarked that it would be humorous if, beneath all the make-up, Simmons was "just a nice Jewish boy." Simmons deftly parried this remark with neither a confirmation nor denial, by saying simply, "You should only know." To which she responded, "I do. You can't hide the hook," a reference to the Jewish nose.

Despite the publicity and constant touring, Kiss initially sold just 75,000 copies. Meanwhile, the group and Casablanca Records were losing money quickly. The band (while touring) stopped in Los Angeles in August 1974 to begin recording their second album, Hotter Than Hell
Hotter Than Hell
Hotter Than Hell is the second studio album from hard rock band Kiss. It was released on October 22, 1974 and was certified Gold on June 23, 1977, having shipped 500,000 copies. The album was re-released in 1997 in a remastered version...

, which was released on October 22, 1974. The only single, "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll (song)
Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, released in 1974. It was released as the only single from the second album, Hotter Than Hell. Even though the song has failed to chart, it is now a staple in their live concert...

," failed to chart and the album stalled at No. 100.
With Hotter Than Hell quickly dropping off the charts, Kiss was pulled from their tour to quickly record a new album. Casablanca head Neil Bogart stepped in to produce the next album, trading in the murky, distorted sound of Hotter Than Hell for a cleaner and slightly poppier sound. Dressed to Kill
Dressed to Kill (album)
Dressed to Kill is the third studio album from American hard rock band Kiss. It is unique for having been produced by Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart, as the financial situation of the label at the time did not allow the hiring of a professional producer."C'mon and Love Me" and "Rock and...

, released on March 19, 1975, fared slightly better commercially than Hotter Than Hell. It also contained what later became the band's trademark song, "Rock and Roll All Nite
Rock and Roll All Nite
"Rock and Roll All Nite" is a song by Kiss, originally released on their 1975 album Dressed to Kill. It was released as the A-side of their fifth single, with the album track "Getaway." The studio version of the song peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard singles chart, besting the band's previous...

".

Although Kiss albums had not proved to be big sellers, the band was quickly gaining a reputation as a top-flight live act. Kiss concerts featured things such as Simmons spitting "blood" (primarily yogurt and food coloring) or "breathing fire" (spitting flammable liquid at a torch); Frehley soloing as his guitar burst into flames (light and smoke bombs placed inside the guitar); Criss's elevating drum riser that emitted sparks; Stanley's Townshend
Pete Townshend
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and author, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group The Who, as well as for his own solo career...

-style guitar smashing; and pyrotechnics throughout the show.

By late 1975, Casablanca was almost bankrupt and Kiss was in danger of losing their record contract. Both parties desperately needed a commercial breakthrough if they were to survive. That breakthrough came in an unlikely form – a double live album.

Rise to prominence (1975–1978)

Kiss wanted to express the excitement felt at their concerts (which their studio albums had so far failed to do), with their first live album. Released on September 10, 1975, Alive! achieved Gold
Music recording sales certification
Music recording sales certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped or sold a certain number of copies, where the threshold quantity varies by type and by nation or territory .Almost all countries follow variations of the RIAA certification categories,...

 status and spawned Kiss' first top 40 single, a live version of "Rock and Roll All Nite." It was the first version of "Rock and Roll All Nite" with a guitar solo, and this recording has come to represent the definitive version of the song; supplanting the studio original (the live version is the basis of most covers, such as the cover by Poison
Poison (band)
Poison is an American glam metal band that achieved great success in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. To date, Poison has sold over 30 million records worldwide and have sold 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,...

 in 1987). In recent years the band admitted that additional audience noise had been added to the album, not to deceive fans, but to add more "excitement and realism" to the show.
The success of Alive! not only brought Kiss the breakthrough they had been seeking, but arguably saved Casablanca, which was close to bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

. Following this success, Kiss partnered with producer Bob Ezrin
Bob Ezrin
Robert Alan "Bob" Ezrin is a Canadian music producer and keyboardist, known for his work with artists including Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004.-Biography:...

, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

. The result was Destroyer (released March 15, 1976), Kiss's most musically ambitious studio album to date. Destroyer, with its rather intricate production (utilizing an orchestra, choir, and numerous tape effects), was a departure from the raw sound of the first three studio albums. Album art was designed by Ken Kelly, who had drawn Tarzan
Tarzan
Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani "great apes"; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer...

, Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian is a fictional sword and sorcery hero that originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films , television programs, video games, roleplaying games and other media...

 and who also worked with acts such as Rainbow
Rainbow (band)
Rainbow were an English rock band, controlled by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore from 1975 to 1984 and 1994 to 1997. It was originally established with American rock band Elf's members, though over the years Rainbow went through many line-up changes with no two studio albums featuring the same line-up...

, Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow (band)
Sleepy Hollow is a rock band that formed in Lodi in 1999. Their music is an eclectic blend of classic heavy metal, progressive rock, and psychedelic rock influences. All members share vocal duties...

,and Manowar
Manowar (band)
Manowar is an American heavy metal band from Auburn, New York. Formed in 1980 the group is known for its lyrics based on fantasy and mythological topics along with their "loud and bombastic" sound...

. While the album sold well initially and became the group's second gold album, it quickly dropped down the charts. Only when the ballad "Beth
Beth (song)
"Beth" is a song by Kiss, originally released on their 1976 album, Destroyer. To date, it is their highest-charting single, reaching #7 on Billboard's American charts. It is one of only two Gold selling singles for the band , and their first of two Top Ten singles...

" (the B-Side to the single Detroit Rock City) began to gain more airplay, on FM radio did the album's sales rebound. "Beth" was a #7 hit for the band, and its success revived both the album (which achieved platinum
RIAA certification
In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards...

 status by the end of 1976) and ticket sales for Kiss.

In October 1976, Kiss appeared on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special was a Halloween-themed television special starring Paul Lynde broadcast October 29, 1976 on ABC. It featured guest stars Margaret Hamilton in her first reprisal of her role as The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Also guest starring are Billie Hayes...

, lip-synching "Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City
"Detroit Rock City" is a song by the American hard rock group Kiss featured on their 1976 album, Destroyer. The song was written by Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin and is about a real Kiss fan who was killed in a car accident on his way to a Kiss concert...

", "Beth", and "King of the Night Time World". For many teenagers, this was their first exposure to Kiss' dramatic appearance. The show was co-produced by Bill Aucoin. In addition to the three performances, Kiss was the subject of a brief comedic "interview" conducted by Paul Lynde
Paul Lynde
Paul Edward Lynde was an American comedian and actor. A noted character actor, Lynde was well known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and Harry MacAfee, the befuddled father in Bye Bye Birdie...

 himself. This included Lynde noting, when hearing the member's first names, "Oh, I love a good religious group."

Two more highly successful studio albums were released in less than a year—Rock and Roll Over
Rock and Roll Over
-Personnel:*Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar , vocals*Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals, rhythm guitar on "Ladies Room"*Ace Frehley - lead guitar, backing vocals*Peter Criss - drums, percussion, vocals-Charts:-Certifications:...

 (November 11, 1976) and Love Gun
Love Gun
Love Gun is the sixth studio album by American hard rock band Kiss. It was certified platinum on June 30, 1977, just two weeks after the album's release....

 (June 30, 1977). A second live album, Alive II
Alive II
Alive II is a 1977 live album from Kiss. It is the group's eighth album and second live album.-The songs:The origins of Alive II go back to early 1977 when the band's manager, Bill Aucoin, had the idea to have Eddie Kramer record a live album during the evening show at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on...

, was released on October 14, 1977. All three albums were certified platinum upon or soon after their release. Between 1976 and 1978, Kiss earned $17.7 million from record royalties and music publishing. A 1977 Gallup poll named Kiss the most popular band in America. In Japan, Kiss performed five sold-out shows at Budokan Hall
Nippon Budokan
The , often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena in central Tokyo, Japan.This is the location where many "Live at the Budokan" albums were recorded...

, breaking the previous record of four held by The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

.

In May 1977, Kiss made their first of many comic appearances in Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny...

 issue 12 published by Marvel
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

. This served as a precursor to many more Kiss-related comics
Kiss (comics)
In 1977 Marvel Comics published a magazine-format full-color comic book presenting the band as superheroes. Blood from each band member was drawn by a registered nurse, witnessed by a notary public, and poured into the vats of red ink used for printing the comic at Marvel's Borden Ink plant in...

 initially published by Marvel.

The first of what is now many Kiss greatest hits
Greatest hits
A greatest hits album is a music compilation album of successful, previously released songs by a particular artist or band...

 albums, Double Platinum
Double Platinum (album)
Double Platinum is the first greatest hits album by the American hard rock band Kiss.Many of the songs on Double Platinum were remixed and significantly differ from their original versions...

, was issued on April 2, 1978. This double album included many remixed versions of their hits, as well as "Strutter '78," a re-recorded version of one of the group's signature songs. At Neil Bogart's request, the song was played in a style similar to the then-popular disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 music.

During this period, Kiss merchandise became a substantial source of income for the group. Some of the products released included a pair of comic books issued by Marvel (the first one of which contained ink mixed with actual blood donated by the group), a pinball
Pinball
Pinball is a type of arcade game, usually coin-operated, where a player attempts to score points by manipulating one or more metal balls on a playfield inside a glass-covered case called a pinball machine. The primary objective of the game is to score as many points as possible...

 machine, Kiss dolls, "Kiss Your Face Makeup" kits, Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 masks, board games, bubble gum trading cards, and many other pieces of memorabilia. Membership in the Kiss Army
Kiss Army
The KISS Army is the official fan club for the American rock band KISS, as well as the unofficial name used to refer to KISS fans in general. It was started unofficially in 1975, by fans Bill Starkey and Jay Evans.-History:...

, the band's fan club, was in the six figures. Between 1977 and 1979, worldwide merchandise sales (in-store and on tour) reached an estimated $100 million.

Four solo albums on the same day (1978)

Kiss was at their commercial peak by 1978. Alive II was the band's fourth platinum album in just under two years, and the ensuing tour had the highest average attendance (13,550) in the group's history. In addition, Kiss' gross income for 1977 was $10.2 million. The group, along with creative manager Bill Aucoin, sought to take the band to the next level of popularity. To that end, an ambitious, two-pronged strategy was devised for 1978.
The first part involved the simultaneous release of four solo albums from the members of Kiss. Although Kiss has claimed that the solo albums were intended to ease rising tensions within the band, their 1976 record contract did in fact call for four solo records, with each of them counting as half an album toward the group's five-record commitment. While each album was very much a solo effort (none of the group appeared on another's album), they were all released and marketed as Kiss albums (with similar cover art and poster inserts). It was the first time that all current members of a rock band had released solo albums on the same day.

For the band members, it was a chance to showcase their individual musical styles and tastes outside of Kiss, and in some cases to collaborate with contemporary artists. Stanley's and Frehley's albums stuck pretty closely to the successful hard rock style that Kiss had utilized, while Criss' album featured an R&B style and was loaded with ballads. Simmons's was the most eclectic of the four. It featured hard rock, ballads, Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

-influenced pop, and ended with a straight cover
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 of "When You Wish upon a Star
When You Wish upon a Star
"When You Wish upon a Star" is a song written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney's 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio. The original version of the song was sung by Cliff Edwards in the character of Jiminy Cricket, and is heard over the opening credits and again in the final scene of the...

" (from the film Pinocchio
Pinocchio (1940 film)
Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and based on the story The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It is the second film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, and it was made after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and was released to theaters by...

). Simmons' many collaborators included Aerosmith
Aerosmith
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many...

's Joe Perry
Joe Perry (musician)
Anthony Joseph "Joe" Perry is the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the rock band Aerosmith. He is influenced by many rock artists especially The Rolling Stones and The Beatles...

, Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. The band consists of members Robin Zander , Rick Nielsen , Tom Petersson , and Bun E...

's Rick Nielsen
Rick Nielsen
-External links:* * *...

, the Doobie Brothers' Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, disco diva Donna Summer
Donna Summer
LaDonna Adrian Gaines , known by her stage name, Donna Summer, is an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Summer is a five-time Grammy winner and was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach...

, Janis Ian
Janis Ian
Janis Ian is an American songwriter, singer, musician, columnist, and science fiction author. Ian first entered the folk music scene while still a teenager in the mid-sixties; most active musically in that decade and the 1970s, she has continued recording into the 21st century...

, Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy , often referred to as "The Queen of 70s Pop", is an Australian-American singer and actress. In the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed fifteen singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six of those 15 songs made the Top 10...

, Bob Seger
Bob Seger
Robert Clark "Bob" Seger is an American rock and roll singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist.As a locally successful Detroit-area artist, he performed and recorded as Bob Seger and the Last Heard and Bob Seger System throughout the 1960s...

, Katey Sagal
Katey Sagal
Catherine Louise "Katey" Sagal is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She first achieved widespread fame as Peggy Bundy on the long-running Fox comedy series Married.....

 and then-girlfriend Cher
Cher
Cher is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award among others for her work in...

.

The Kiss solo albums were released on September 18, 1978. The marketing blitz behind the albums was unprecedented. Casablanca announced it was shipping five million total copies of the albums (guaranteeing instant platinum status), and they spent $2.5 million marketing them. All four solo albums made it into the Top 50 of the Billboard album chart. However, the massive preorder for these albums was soon followed by an equally enormous attempt to ship them back to the record company, followed by the subsequent discounting of these albums once sales had (very quickly) peaked. The albums were also the first Kiss albums to be seen in the "bargain bins." All four solo albums sold about as many copies as Love Gun alone. Of the four, Frehley's album was the most successful (although not by a huge margin) and spawned the only radio top 20 hit (Russ Ballard
Russ Ballard
Russell Glyn Ballard is an English singer, songwriter and musician.-Career:Ballard was initially a guitarist with Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers in 1961, together with Roy Ballard, Russ's older brother on piano and Bob Henrit on drums...

's composition "New York Groove
New York Groove
"New York Groove" is a song written by Russ Ballard and first recorded by Hello in 1975 and later by Ace Frehley in 1978.-Hello:The British glam rock band Hello first recorded the song in 1975, for their debut album, Keeps Us Off The Streets...

", originally performed by Hello
Hello (band)
Hello is a Bell Records label, teen appeal glam rock band, based in England.-Career:The core of Hello was founded in about 1969, originally being called The Age. The band was started by Bob Bradbury, previously of The Flashback Berries, with Jeff Allen , Keith Marshall and Vic Faulkner...

).

The second part of Kiss' and Aucoin's plan called for the band to appear in a film that would cement their image as larger than life superheroes. Filming commenced in the spring of 1978. Although the project was proposed to the band as a cross between A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night (film)
A Hard Day's Night is a 1964 British black-and-white comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring The Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—during the height of Beatlemania. It was written by Alun Owen and originally released by United Artists...

 and Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

, the final results fell far short of those expectations. The script underwent numerous rewrites, and the band (particularly Criss and Frehley) grew increasingly frustrated with the filmmaking process.

The final product, entitled Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park
KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park
Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park is a 1978 television film, starring American hard rock band Kiss...

, debuted on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 on October 28, 1978. Despite scathing reviews, it was one of the highest-viewed TV films of the year. It was released theatrically, after many changes, outside the U.S. in 1979 under the title Attack of the Phantoms. While later interviews with band members would have them talk about their filmmaking experience with a mix of humorous embarrassment and regret as to the finished product, they were unhappy with the final product. They felt that the film ended up portraying them more as clowns than superheroes. The artistic failure of the film led to a rift between the band and Aucoin. It has been only sporadically available on home video; currently, a version of the film is available on a compilation DVD entitled Kissology Volume Two: 1978–1991
Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991
Kissology Volume Two: 1978–1991 is a DVD/Home Video that was released by Kiss on August 14, 2007. It contains three discs, plus three separate bonus discs sold only within initial first pressings. Some initial packages included a replica ticket to Magic Mountain for Kiss meets the Phantom of the...

.

Late makeup years and decline (1978–1983)

Kiss' first album of new material in two years, Dynasty (May 22, 1979), continued their platinum streak. The disco-flavored "I Was Made for Lovin' You
I Was Made For Lovin' You
I Was Made for Lovin' You" is a song by American hard rock band Kiss, originally released on their 1979 album Dynasty. It was released as the A-side of their first single from the album. It was the band's second Gold single, selling over 1 million copies. The single was certified Platinum in the...

" became one of the band's biggest hit singles to date. Session drummer Anton Fig
Anton Fig
Anton Fig , known as "The Thunder from Down Under" is a session drummer, noted for his work in David Letterman's house band, the CBS Orchestra. Letterman often refers to Fig as "Anton Zip"or "Buddy Rich Jr."...

 did almost all the percussion on the album while Criss recovered from an auto accident. Criss did play the drums on the song "Dirty Livin'", on which he also sang the lead.

Billed as "The Return of Kiss," the Dynasty Tour
Dynasty Tour
The Dynasty Tour was a concert tour by the rock band Kiss. It was their first tour since the Alive II tour ended on April 2, 1978 in Japan.The Dynasty Tour, also known as "The Return of Kiss", was the first tour to feature the infamous flying stunt by Gene Simmons. This was also the first tour to...

 was expected by Kiss and their management to build on the success of previous tours. Plans were drawn up for a Kiss-themed traveling amusement park
Amusement park
thumb|Cinderella Castle in [[Magic Kingdom]], [[Disney World]]Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people...

, called "Kiss World", but were abandoned because of the immense costs involved. However, "The Return of Kiss" saw a marked decline in attendance.

The crowds on this tour were much younger than previous audiences had been, with many pre-adolescent children in Kiss makeup with their mothers and fathers (who were sometimes wearing the makeup themselves) in tow at most concerts. Kiss themselves did little to dissuade this new fan base, donning colorful costumes that reinforced a cartoonish image for these younger fans.

The fans were unaware of the dissension within the band. One very public indication of the heightened friction within the group was an infamous October 31, 1979 interview on Tom Snyder
Tom Snyder
Thomas James "Tom" Snyder was an American television personality, news anchor and radio personality best known for his late night talk shows The Tomorrow Show, on the NBC television network in the 1970s and 1980s, and The Late Late Show, on the CBS Television Network in the 1990s...

's late-night The Tomorrow Show
Tomorrow (TV series)
Tomorrow was an American late-night television talk show hosted by Tom Snyder...

. During the episode, a visibly irritated Simmons and Stanley try to contain the bombastic (and inebriated
Drunkenness
Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

) Frehley, whose non-stop laughter and joking overshadowed the content and conversation that takes place between Snyder and the rest of the band. Criss made repeated references to his large gun collection, to the chagrin of Simmons.

By the end of the Dynasty tour in December 1979, tensions between Criss and the rest of the band were at an all-time high. His drumming skills had noticeably eroded, and he even intentionally slowed down or stopped playing altogether during some concerts. The final show of the tour (December 16, 1979) was the last time Criss performed with the group (until the original foursome reunited in 1996), although he remained an official member for nearly six more months.

Fig also played all the drums on the next album Unmasked, although he was uncredited and Criss appeared on the cover art. Showcasing a slick, contemporary pop sound, Unmasked (May 20, 1980) had the dubious distinction of being the first Kiss album since Destroyer to fail to achieve platinum sales. Soon after the album's release, Criss's departure was officially announced.

The band auditioned dozens of replacements for Criss in June 1980, settling on a little-known drummer-guitarist-singer from Brooklyn named Paul Caravello (born July 12, 1950), who was given the stage name Eric Carr
Eric Carr
Paul Charles Caravello , also known as Eric Carr, was an American musician, best known as drummer for the rock band Kiss. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left in 1980...

. He was Kiss' first replacement member. In his "Fox" makeup, he was introduced on ABC's Kids Are People Too!
Kids Are People Too!
Kids Are People Too was a television series that ran on Sunday mornings from 1978 to 1982 on ABC. The series was a variety/news-magazine show oriented towards kids with the intention of recognizing them as people. During its four year run, the series was nominated for five Emmy Awards and won the...

, and debuted with the group on July 25, 1980 at the Palladium Theatre in New York City. This was Kiss's only U.S. show in support of the album. The band's 1980 tour
Unmasked Tour
The Unmasked Tour was a 1980 concert tour by the hard rock group Kiss. It was the first tour not to feature original drummer Peter Criss, and the touring debut of his replacement Eric Carr. The Unmasked tour was the first time that Kiss only played in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, with only...

 of Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, was one of the biggest in their history, as they played to sold-out crowds, and received overwhelmingly positive press coverage.

For their next album, the band worked with producer Bob Ezrin
Bob Ezrin
Robert Alan "Bob" Ezrin is a Canadian music producer and keyboardist, known for his work with artists including Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004.-Biography:...

, with whom Kiss had found success on Destroyer. Early press reports indicated that the new album would be a return to the hard rock style that had originally brought the band success. What was released instead was 1981's Music from "The Elder", a concept album
Concept album
In music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical." Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing...

 featuring medieval horns, strings, harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

s, and synthesizers.

The album was presented as a soundtrack to a film that was never made, making it difficult to follow the storyline. To make matters worse, having received negative feedback following their record company's preview of the album, Kiss altered the record's track sequence in most countries to emphasize potential singles "The Oath" and "A World Without Heroes," which all but guaranteed the inability of listeners to understand the already muddled storyline. Once released, fan reaction to The Elder was harsh; it failed to achieve gold status and peaked at #75 on the Billboard Album Chart.

The band made only two appearances in support of the new album, both in January 1982. One was a performance on the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 late-night variety program Fridays, while the second was a lip-synched performance that was broadcast via satellite during Italy's Sanremo Music Festival. Kiss also performed "I", and "A World Without Heroes" on Solid Gold
Solid Gold (TV series)
Solid Gold is an American syndicated music television series that debuted on September 13, 1980. Like many other shows of its genre, such as American Bandstand, Solid Gold featured musical performances and various other elements such as music videos...

.

Absent from the satellite performance was Frehley, who had become increasingly frustrated with Kiss' new musical direction. Upset with the band's decision to record a concept album (Music from "The Elder"), he did not actively participate in the album's creation, only providing lead vocals to one track, "Dark Light". He recorded his guitar parts at his home studio in Wilton, Connecticut
Wilton, Connecticut
Wilton is a town nestled in the Norwalk River Valley in southwestern Connecticut in the United States. It is located in Fairfield County. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 18,062. In 2007, it was voted as one of CNN Money's "Best Places to Live" in the United States.Located along...

 and mailed them to Ezrin. Another source of frustration for Frehley was that with the departure of Criss, and with Carr not being an equal partner in the band, he was often outvoted 2-to-1 on group decisions. In June 1982, Frehley's departure from the band was negotiated, although he did not officially leave until December, and remained a business partner with Simmons and Stanley until 1985.

Simmons stated in his autobiography Kiss and Make-Up that Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen
Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

 wanted to fill Frehley's spot. Simmons and Eddie's brother Alex
Alex Van Halen
Alexander Arthur "Alex" Van Halen is a Dutch-born American musician, best known as the drummer and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. Originally, his brother Eddie had taken lessons for drums, while Alex practiced guitar...

 convinced Eddie to remain with Van Halen
Van Halen
Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. The band has enjoyed success since the release of its debut album, Van Halen, . As of 2007 Van Halen has sold 80 million albums worldwide and has had the most #1 hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart...

. (Eddie was anxious to break up Van Halen because of rising tensions with lead singer David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. Roth was ranked nineteenth by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Singers of All Time....

, who left the band soon thereafter.)

Soon after, Kiss made major changes to their business dealings – chief among them was severing ties with their manager of nine years, Bill Aucoin, and cutting back on their unwieldy organizational tree. Although Frehley had already decided to leave the band, he was pictured on the covers of 1982's Killers
Killers (KISS album)
Killers is the second compilation album by American hard rock group Kiss. The album was released only outside the United States, but quickly became available as an import. Of the twelve songs on Killers, four were new compositions recorded specifically for the album...

 and Creatures of the Night
Creatures of the Night
Creatures of the Night is the tenth studio album by Kiss. It is the band's last album for Casablanca Records, the only label the group had ever recorded for up to that point...

, although he did not participate in the recording of either album.
Creatures of the Night (October 13, 1982) was Kiss's heaviest album to date, and although it fared better than Music from "The Elder", it peaked at #45 on the charts and was not certified gold until 1994. In Frehley's absence, Kiss utilized a number of guitarists for the recording of the album, including Vinnie Vincent
Vinnie Vincent
Vincent John Cusano, better known as Vinnie Vincent, is an American guitarist from Bridgeport, Connecticut and songwriter known for his brief membership in the band Kiss.-Replacing Ace Frehley in Kiss:...

 (born Vincent John Cusano on August 6, 1952).

Frehley's last appearance with the band (until the original foursome reunited in 1996) was on the video for the single "I Love It Loud
I Love It Loud
"I Love It Loud" is a song by the American rock band Kiss, released on their 1982 album Creatures of the Night. The song was written by bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and guitarist Vincent Cusano, although some versions of the album mistakenly credit the song as written by Paul Stanley and Cusano...

", which was co-written by Vincent. Frehley also appeared on the cover of the original Creatures of the Night album artwork. (When the album was re-mixed and re-released in 1985 with a non-makeup cover and a slightly different song order, to reflect the band's roster change and abandonment of their make-up and costuming, Vincent was again absent from the album cover, as then-current lead guitarist, Bruce Kulick
Bruce Kulick
Bruce Howard Kulick is an American guitarist, musician and a member of the band Grand Funk Railroad. Previously, Kulick had been a longtime member of the band Kiss....

, appeared there instead. The liner notes accompanying the re-mixed LP, however, have credited both Ace Frehley and Vinnie Vincent with lead guitar performances on the Creatures of the Night
Creatures of the Night
Creatures of the Night is the tenth studio album by Kiss. It is the band's last album for Casablanca Records, the only label the group had ever recorded for up to that point...

 album.)

Vincent officially replaced Frehley as lead guitarist in December 1982, as the band embarked on its 10th Anniversary Tour.

Vincent originally wanted to use his birth name in the band but this was vetoed by Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

 on the grounds that it sounded "too ethnic": specifically, according to Simmons, "it sounded like a fruit vendor"; Simmons went on to note that "fairly or unfairly, rock and roll is about image". Vincent then suggested the name "Mick Fury", but this was also disallowed. Simmons later suggested the name change to Vinnie Vincent. Vincent started actively pushing to join Kiss as a full member. Despite the misgivings that both Simmons and Stanley harbored about his personality, Vincent was taken into the band. Stanley designed a character, "The Wiz" also known as "The Egyptian Warrior", and makeup centered around an Egyptian ankh
Ankh
The ankh , also known as key of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata, was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "eternal life", a triliteral sign for the consonants ʻ-n-ḫ...

, for Vincent. According to the official authorized Kiss biography, written by David Leaf and Ken Sharp, "The Egyptian Ankh Warrior" refers to Vincent's make-up and persona, while the nickname "The Wiz" refers to his virtuosity as a guitar player. According to Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

's autobiography Kiss and Make-Up, Vincent's Kiss persona was solely "The Wiz". A persona as "The Ankh Warrior" or the like, is not mentioned in the book at all.

From 1982–1983, the new lineup of Kiss became Simmons (the Demon), Stanley (the Starchild), Eric Carr
Eric Carr
Paul Charles Caravello , also known as Eric Carr, was an American musician, best known as drummer for the rock band Kiss. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left in 1980...

 (the Fox), and Vincent (The Egyptian Warrior or the Wiz). This incarnation of Kiss was to be the last incarnation of the original make-up era.

Vincent does appear on the cover of Lick It Up
Lick It Up
Lick It Up is the 11th studio album by the U.S. band Kiss. On the day of the album's release, Kiss appeared on MTV without their trademark makeup. It was the first public appearance without makeup by Kiss since the very early days of the band...

 and was credited as the lead guitarist. Vincent was co-writer in 8 of the 10 songs on the album; "Fits Like A Glove" and "Dance All Over Your Face" were written solely by Simmons.

Vincent's personality did not mesh well with either Stanley or Simmons, and he was dismissed from Kiss at the end of the Creatures tour. He was re-hired before recording started for Lick It Up
Lick It Up
Lick It Up is the 11th studio album by the U.S. band Kiss. On the day of the album's release, Kiss appeared on MTV without their trademark makeup. It was the first public appearance without makeup by Kiss since the very early days of the band...

 because Simmons and Stanley could not find a new lead guitarist on such short notice. Personality issues arose once again and Vincent was fired following the Lick It Up tour and was replaced by Mark St. John
Mark St. John
Mark Leslie Norton , better known as Mark St. John, was a guitarist known for his brief work with the rock band Kiss.-Prior to Kiss:...

 (birth name Mark Norton). Vincent's work on Creatures of the Night was not officially recognized until the album was remastered in 1997.

Vincent was later utilized by Kiss as a songwriter on the 1992 album Revenge
Revenge (KISS album)
Revenge is the 16th studio album by American heavy metal band Kiss, released on May 19, 1992. It was the band's first album after the death of long-time drummer Eric Carr in November 1991. His replacement, Eric Singer, had played with Black Sabbath, Brian May, Alice Cooper and even Paul Stanley,...

, contributing to the songs "Unholy", "Heart Of Chrome" and "I Just Wanna". Before long however, Vincent, Simmons and Stanley fell out with each other for a third time, and again severed their musical ties.

Persistent rumors have circulated for years amongst Kiss fan circles regarding the true reason for Vincent's dismissals from Kiss with at least one band member refusing to comment except to say that legally it wasn't up for discussion. Simmons stated in an interview several years later that Vincent's firing was for "unethical behavior" but he did not elaborate by going into any great detail.

"I named Vincent Cusano, 'Vinnie Vincent'. That's the only gift he's allowed. It's interesting that Vinnie hasn't changed his name back to Vinnie Cusano. Vinnie, for the record, was fired for unethical behavior, not because of lack of talent. The guy is very talented. He was unethical. He was fired."

Unmasking and rebound (1983–1996)

Sensing it was time for a change, Kiss made the decision to abandon their trademark makeup and costumes. They officially appeared in public without makeup for the first time on a September 18, 1983 appearance on MTV, which coincided with the release of the band's new album, Lick It Up
Lick It Up
Lick It Up is the 11th studio album by the U.S. band Kiss. On the day of the album's release, Kiss appeared on MTV without their trademark makeup. It was the first public appearance without makeup by Kiss since the very early days of the band...

. The tour showing off the new album and the unmasked band members started off at Lisbon, Portugal, on October 11, 1983, at Pavilhão Dramático de Cascais, their first concert without makeup since early 1973.

Lick It Up became Kiss' first gold record in three years, but the tour was even more sparsely attended than the one for Creatures of the Night. Vincent did not get along with Simmons and Stanley, and he left the band at the conclusion of the tour in March 1984. Vincent's replacement was Mark St. John
Mark St. John
Mark Leslie Norton , better known as Mark St. John, was a guitarist known for his brief work with the rock band Kiss.-Prior to Kiss:...

 (born Mark Norton on February 7, 1956 in Hollywood, California), a session player and guitar tutor.

With St. John on board, Kiss released the glam metal
Glam metal
Glam metal is a subgenre of hard rock and heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene...

 album Animalize
Animalize
Animalize is the 12th studio album by the American band Kiss. In a continuation of the commercial resurgence begun with Lick It Up, Animalize was certified platinum by the RIAA on December 12, 1984. It was the biggest-selling Kiss album since 1977's Alive II.The album marked the only appearance by...

 on September 13, 1984. Animalize followed the success of Lick It Up, and with the video for "Heaven's on Fire
Heaven's on Fire
"Heaven's on Fire" is a song by American hard rock band Kiss, first released on their 1984 album Animalize. Written by vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley and songwriter Desmond Child, it was the first single released off of the album....

" being played often on MTV, Animalize was the band's best-selling record in America during the decade. With the success of the album and subsequent tour, Kiss had recaptured some of their earlier glory (though not to the level of their '70s heyday). St. John, however, was soon taken ill with reactive arthritis
Reactive arthritis
Reactive arthritis , is classified as an autoimmune condition that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body. Coming into contact with bacteria and developing an infection can trigger the disease. Reiter's syndrome has symptoms similar to various other conditions collectively...

 during tour rehearsals, and only performed at a handful of shows. St. John was fired from Kiss in December 1984 and was replaced by Bruce Kulick
Bruce Kulick
Bruce Howard Kulick is an American guitarist, musician and a member of the band Grand Funk Railroad. Previously, Kulick had been a longtime member of the band Kiss....

 (born December 12, 1953 in Brooklyn). Kulick was Kiss' fourth lead guitarist in less than three years, but he stayed with the band for twelve years. Kulick was one of the band's longest-running members, with the longest continuous tenure of anyone other than Simmons and Stanley, but he never wore the band's iconic makeup.

One of the first concerts Kulick played was in Detroit, Michigan's Cobo Hall
Cobo Hall
Gavin Hamilton memorial arena is a major convention center situated along Jefferson Ave. in downtown Detroit, Michigan, USA. It was named for Albert E. Cobo, mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957. Designed by Gino Rossetti, opened in 1960. Expanded in 1989, the present complex contains of exhibition...

. It was filmed for the MTV special Animalize Live. This was later released as the band's first home video (Animalize Live Uncensored).

The lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Carr, and Kulick turned out to be the most stable since the original, and for the rest of the 1980s Kiss released a series of platinum albums—1985's Asylum, 1987's Crazy Nights
Crazy Nights
Crazy Nights is the 14th studio album by American band Kiss. The album was recorded in June 1987 and officially released on September 18, 1987 by Mercury and Vertigo in Europe. The album featured keyboards which was another departure in their music style changing from their Lick It...

 and the 1988 greatest hits compilation Smashes, Thrashes & Hits
Smashes, Thrashes & Hits
-Charts:AlbumSingles- Certifications :...

. Crazy Nights, in particular, was one of Kiss' most successful albums overseas. The single "Crazy Crazy Nights
Crazy Crazy Nights
"Crazy Crazy Nights" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, originally released on their 1987 album, Crazy Nights. The single peaked at number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in America on 31 October 1987 and number 37 on Billboards Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart...

" reached #4 on the singles chart in Britain, the highest showing to date for a Kiss song.

Kiss ended the '80s with the October 1989 release Hot in the Shade
Hot in the Shade
-Personnel:*Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, vocals*Gene Simmons – bass guitar, vocals*Bruce Kulick – lead guitar, backing vocals*Eric Carr – drums, percussion, vocals-Charts:AlbumSingles- Certifications :...

. Although the album failed to achieve platinum status, it spawned the February 1990 hit ballad "Forever
Forever (KISS song)
"Forever" is a Kiss song from the Hot in the Shade album. It peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the band's first American Top 40 single since "I Was Made for Lovin' You" reached number 11 in 1979. It was the band's seventh and, to date, last Top 20 US single. It also...

", co-written by Michael Bolton
Michael Bolton
Michael Bolton is an American singer and songwriter. Bolton originally performed in the hard rock and heavy metal genres from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s, both on his early solo albums and those recorded as the frontman of the band Blackjack...

. Peaking at #8, it was the group's highest-charting single since "Beth" and was the band's second Top 10 single.

During these non-makeup years, Kiss struggled with their identity and fan base. Simmons, arguably the dominating force in Kiss during the '70s, became less involved with the group in the '80s as he pursued outside interests; most notably, a film career. After the band's unmasking, he struggled with the loss of the Demon persona. During this time, Stanley became the driving force in Kiss, as well as their most prominent member.

In February 1991, the band decided to once again enlist Bob Ezrin to produce their first album of the 1990s. Before recording could begin in earnest, however, tragedy struck. In March 1991, it was discovered that Eric Carr had a tumor
Tumor
A tumor or tumour is commonly used as a synonym for a neoplasm that appears enlarged in size. Tumor is not synonymous with cancer...

 on his heart. It was successfully removed in an April surgery, but more tumors were soon discovered in his lungs. Carr received chemotherapy
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

 and was pronounced cancer-free in July. However, in September he suffered the first of two cerebral hemorrhages. He died on November 24, 1991 at the age of 41 (the same day as Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

).

Though devastated, Kiss continued, bringing in veteran drummer Eric Singer
Eric Singer
Eric Doyle Mensinger , better known as Eric Singer, is a hard rock and heavy metal drummer for the rock band Kiss and formerly for singer Alice Cooper...

 (born Eric Mensinger on May 12, 1958 in Cleveland, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

). Singer had played with Paul Stanley previously, as part of Stanley's backing band during a 1989 solo tour. Singer also played with performers such as Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal band, formed in Aston, Birmingham in 1969 by Ozzy Osbourne , Tony Iommi , Geezer Butler , and Bill Ward . The band has since experienced multiple line-up changes, with Tony Iommi the only constant presence in the band through the years. A total of 22...

, Gary Moore
Gary Moore
Robert William Gary Moore , better known simply as Gary Moore, was a Northern Irish musician from Belfast, best recognised as a blues rock guitarist and singer....

, Lita Ford
Lita Ford
Lita Ford is a British-born, American rock musician and singer who was the lead guitarist for The Runaways and achieved popularity for her solo career between the 1980s and late 2000s.-Early life:...

, Badlands and Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

.

Kiss released Revenge
Revenge (KISS album)
Revenge is the 16th studio album by American heavy metal band Kiss, released on May 19, 1992. It was the band's first album after the death of long-time drummer Eric Carr in November 1991. His replacement, Eric Singer, had played with Black Sabbath, Brian May, Alice Cooper and even Paul Stanley,...

 on May 19, 1992. It featured a leaner, harder-edged sound, as indicated by the first single, "Unholy
Unholy (song)
"Unholy" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent. Featured on their 1992 album Revenge, the song is one of the three Vincent co-writes to appear on the album despite the fact that he had been fired from the band 8 years earlier...

". In a surprise move, Kiss enlisted the aid of Vinnie Vincent for songwriting duties. The album debuted in the Top 10 and went gold. Kiss embarked on a brief club tour of the U.S. in the spring of 1992, before beginning an American arena tour in September 1992. Kiss followed with the release of Alive III
Alive III
"Take It Off" originally was a bonus track on the Japanese, European and South American CD releases and the US vinyl release only, being placed between "Forever" and "I Love It Loud"...

 (May 14, 1993), which was recorded during the Revenge tour. Four days later, Kiss were inducted into the RockWalk of Fame in Hollywood.

During this period, Kiss nostalgia started to pick up steam. June 1994 saw the release of Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved
KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved
-Charts:Album - Billboard Singles - Billboard -External links:*...

, a compilation album featuring popular artists of the era putting their own spin on Kiss songs. The result was an eclectic mix, featuring Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz
Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and arranger, whose "retro" style incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads...

's funky version of "Deuce" (with Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

 on harmonica
Harmonica
The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

), a ska punk
Ska punk
Ska punk is a fusion music genre that combines ska and punk rock. It achieved its highest level of commercial success in the United States in the late 1990s. Ska-core is a subgenre of ska punk, blending ska with hardcore punk.The characteristics of ska punk vary, due to the fusion of contrasting...

 version of "Detroit Rock City" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks
Troyal Garth Brooks , best known as Garth Brooks, is an American country music artist who helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at number 2 in the US country album chart while climbing to number 13 on the Billboard 200 album chart...

' straightforward take on "Hard Luck Woman," with Kiss as his backup band.

In 1995, the group released the book Kisstory, a 440-page, 9 pounds (4.1 kg), detailed chronicle of the group's history to that point. That same year, the band embarked on a unique and well-received Worldwide Kiss Convention Tour. The conventions were all-day events, featuring displays of vintage Kiss stage outfits, instruments, and memorabilia, performances by Kiss cover bands, and dealers selling Kiss merchandise from every stage of the band's career. Kiss appeared live at the conventions, conducted question and answer sessions, signed autographs and performed a two-hour acoustic set composed mostly of spontaneous fan requests. On the first U.S. date (June 17, 1995), Peter Criss appeared onstage with Kiss to sing "Hard Luck Woman" and "Nothin' to Lose." It was the first time Criss had performed publicly with the band in nearly 16 years.

On August 9, 1995, Kiss joined the long line of musicians to perform on MTV Unplugged
MTV Unplugged
MTV Unplugged is a TV series showcasing many popular musical artists usually playing acoustic instruments. The show has received the George Foster Peabody Award and 3 Primetime Emmy nominations among many accolades.-Unplugged:...

. The band contacted Criss and Frehley and invited them to participate in the event. Both joined Kiss on stage for several songs at the end of the set–"Beth," "2000 Man," "Nothin' to Lose," and "Rock and Roll All Nite." The Unplugged appearance set off months of speculation that a possible reunion of the original Kiss lineup was in the works. In the weeks following the Unplugged concert, however, the band (with Kulick and Singer), returned to the studio for the first time in three years to record a follow-up to Revenge. Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
-Personnel:*Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, vocals*Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals*Bruce Kulick - lead guitar, vocals*Eric Singer - drums, percussion, backing vocals-Charts:Album - Billboard...

 was completed in February 1996, but its release was delayed for almost two years. Bootleg
Bootleg recording
A bootleg recording is an audio or video recording of a performance that was not officially released by the artist or under other legal authority. The process of making and distributing such recordings is known as bootlegging...

 copies of the album circulated widely among fans.

While Kiss continued to exist publicly as Simmons, Stanley, Kulick, and Singer, arrangements for a reunion of the original lineup were in the works. These efforts culminated with a public event as dramatic as any the band had staged since their 1983 unmasking on MTV.

Reunion (1996–2001)

With that statement on February 28, 1996, Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur
Tupac Amaru Shakur , known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide as of 2007, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world...

 introduced the original Kiss lineup (in full makeup and Love Gun-era stage outfits), to a rousing ovation at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards. On April 16, the band held a press conference aboard the in New York, where they announced their plans for a full-fledged reunion tour, with the help of new manager Doc McGhee
Doc McGhee
Doc McGhee is an American music manager, best known for working with KISS, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. The latter two groups experienced their rise to stardom under his management...

. The conference, emceed by Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien
Conan Christopher O'Brien is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer and performer. Since November 2010 he has hosted Conan, a late-night talk show that airs on the American cable television station TBS....

, was simulcast to 58 countries. On April 20, nearly 40,000 tickets for the tour's first show sold out in 47 minutes.

The first public concert featuring the newly reunited Kiss was an hour-long warm up show on June 15 for the annual KROQ Weenie Roast
KROQ Weenie Roast
KROQ Weenie Roast is a multi-artist alternative rock concert, presented annually in June by the Los Angeles, California, USA radio station KROQ-FM. Since its beginning in 1993, the event has been traditionally held on a Saturday in June, except from 2005 to 2009 when it occurred in May.Every year...

 in Irvine, California
Irvine, California
Irvine is a suburban incorporated city in Orange County, California, United States. It is a planned city, mainly developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Formally incorporated on December 28, 1971, the city has a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census. However, the California...

, during which the band nearly ignited the stage of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. On June 28, the Kiss Alive/Worldwide Tour
Alive/Worldwide Tour
The Alive/Worldwide Tour was a 1996-1997 concert tour by Kiss. It was the first tour with original members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley since their 1979 Dynasty Tour...

 began at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 in front of a sold-out crowd of 39,867 fans. The tour lasted for 192 shows over 11 months and earned $43.6 million, making Kiss the top-drawing concert act of 1996. The average attendance of 13,737 is the highest in the group's history.

In September 1998, the reunited group issued Psycho Circus
Psycho Circus
Psycho Circus is the 18th studio album by American band Kiss. The album features the original four members back together, and in full make-up....

. Despite their appearance as the first album with the original lineup since 1980s Unmasked (even though Criss didn't play on the album), the contributions of Frehley and Criss were minimal. While the images of Frehley and Criss are featured prominently on the album, most of the lead guitar work was later revealed to have been performed by future band member Tommy Thayer
Tommy Thayer
Tommy Cunningham Thayer is an American musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist for the American hard rock band Kiss.- Early life :...

 and former member Bruce Kulick. Most drum duties were handled by session musician Kevin Valentine. Despite the controversy, the album achieved a #3 chart debut, the highest position for a Kiss album until Sonic Boom debuted at #2 in 2009. The title track
Psycho Circus (song)
"Psycho Circus" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss. It is the title track from the 1998 album with the same name. The B-side is the non-album track "In Your Face", a song written by bassist Gene Simmons and sung by Kiss guitarist/vocalist Ace Frehley."Psycho Circus" was written by...

 received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. The Psycho Circus Tour
Psycho Circus Tour
Psycho Circus Tour was a Kiss concert tour in 1998-1999. It was the first concert tour in history to have 3-D visual effects. One notable show on the tour was the March 12 Bremen, Germany show. After the opening song, Paul Stanley announced that the local fire marshall had banned Kiss from using...

 opened at Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium, also sometimes called Chavez Ravine, is a stadium in Los Angeles. Located adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium has been the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers team since 1962...

 in Los Angeles, California on Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 night 1998, and was simulcast on FM radio across the U.S. It proved to be another success, and was historic for being the first to ever incorporate 3-D
Dimension
In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it. Thus a line has a dimension of one because only one coordinate is needed to specify a point on it...

 visuals into a stage show.

On August 11, 1999, Kiss was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

, in the "Recording Industry" category. August 13 saw the nationwide premiere of a Kiss-themed motion picture, titled Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City (film)
Detroit Rock City is a 1999 film about four teenagers in a Kiss cover band who try to see their idols in Detroit in 1978. Comparable to Rock 'n' Roll High School, Dazed and Confused, The Stöned Age, and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Detroit Rock City tells a coming of age story through a filter of 1970s...

. The film takes place in 1978, and focuses on four teenagers (featuring Edward Furlong
Edward Furlong
Edward Walter Furlong is an American actor whose best known film roles are John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Daniel Vinyard in American History X. He is a two-time Saturn Award nominee, winning the 1992 Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor for his performance in...

) willing to do anything to score tickets for a sold-out Kiss show in Detroit.

The next month, the group worked in collaboration with World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling, Inc. was an American professional wrestling promotion which existed from 1988 to 2001. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, it began as a regional promotion affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance , named Jim Crockett Promotions until November 1988, when Ted Turner and...

 to produce a Kiss-themed wrestler known as The Demon
Dale Torborg
Dale Christian Torborg is an American baseball trainer and former professional wrestler. He is the son of former Major League Baseball manager Jeff Torborg. He is currently the conditioning coordinator for the Chicago White Sox....

 whose face was painted to resemble Simmons. The group performed God of Thunder
God of Thunder (song)
"God of Thunder" is a heavy metal song by the group Kiss from their album Destroyer. The song has also been featured on many of Kiss's live albums, including an up-tempo version on Alive II. Many various sound effects were used to make the song including explosions, clapping, zippers, overdubbed...

 live on WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Monday Nitro was a weekly professional wrestling telecast produced by World Championship Wrestling, created by Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff. The show aired Monday nights on TNT, going head-to-head with the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw from September 4, 1995 to March 26, 2001...

 to debut the character. The band got $500,000 for the one-night, one-song performance. The character was short-lived, as all ties to Kiss were cut by WCW when its head, Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff
Eric Aaron Bischoff is an American entrepreneur, and professional wrestling booker and on-screen personality currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling...

 was relieved of his duties in September of that year.

Kiss announced in early 2000 that they would be launching a U.S. Farewell Tour
Kiss Farewell Tour
The Kiss Farewell Tour was a concert tour performed by the rock group Kiss four years after they reunited the group's original line up for a record-breaking Reunion Tour in 1996, "Kiss Worldwide Alive". A follow up tour in 1998 in support of their cd "Psycho Circus" saw lower ticket sales in the...

 in the summer, which was to be the band's last, although it was last for the original line up; the tour kicked off on March 12, 2000. The group quickly added dates to the tour, which ran through April 2001. 2000 also saw the release of a computer game, Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
KISS: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
KISS: Psycho Circus - The Nightmare Child is a first person shooter computer game developed by Third Law Interactive and published by Gathering of Developers for the PC in August 2000. It was also released later that year for the Dreamcast following a port by Tremor Entertainment...

, based on the comic book series Kiss: Psycho Circus
Kiss: Psycho Circus
Kiss Psycho Circus is a comic book series published by Image Comics and Todd McFarlane Productions. It was written by Brian Holguin and illustrated by various artists, including pencillers Angel Medina and Clayton Crain with inker Kevin Conrad...

 from Todd McFarlane
Todd McFarlane
Todd McFarlane is a Canadian cartoonist, writer, toy designer and entrepreneur, best known for his work in comic books, such as the fantasy series Spawn....

 Productions.

Post-reunion (2001–2008)

On the eve of the Japanese and Australian leg of the Farewell Tour on January 31, 2001, Criss suddenly left the band once again, reportedly unhappy with his salary. Taking his place was previous Kiss drummer Eric Singer
Eric Singer
Eric Doyle Mensinger , better known as Eric Singer, is a hard rock and heavy metal drummer for the rock band Kiss and formerly for singer Alice Cooper...

 who, in a move that was controversial among longtime fans, assumed Criss's Cat Man persona as the Farewell Tour continued.

With the band scheduled to call it a day supposedly by early 2001, a career-encompassing collection entitled The Box Set (94 tracks on five CDs) was released in November of that year, while the summer saw perhaps the most outrageous item of Kiss merchandise yet – the Kiss Kasket
KISS Kasket
The Kiss Kasket is an item of merchandise licensed by the rock band Kiss. It is an actual coffin, decorated with a Kiss logo and pictures of the band members. In introducing the Kiss Kasket, Simmons quipped, "I love livin', but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good." The Kiss Kasket...

. In introducing the Kiss Kasket, Simmons quipped, "I love livin', but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good."

On December 4, 2001, Kiss was one of the honorees at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ("The Recording Academy") Heroes Award ceremony, at the NARAS New York Chapter. NARAS has 12 chapters throughout the United States, hence 12 ceremonies throughout the year, with the honorees each being honored by the chapter closest to their residence. By receiving this honor, which NARAS has renamed the "Recording Academy Honors," Kiss effectively received NARAS' second-highest career honor, right behind the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award.

Kiss was relatively quiet through the rest of the year, but 2002 started with some controversy as Simmons took part in a controversial interview on National Public Radio with host Terry Gross
Terry Gross
Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, an interview format radio show produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and distributed throughout the United States by National Public Radio....

. In February 2002, Kiss (with Singer on drums and Frehley on lead guitar) performed during the Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

. This was Frehley's final performance with Kiss.
On March 6, 2002, Kiss performed a private concert at a resort in Trelawny, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

. Frehley, who was no longer under contract, did not perform with the group. He was replaced by Tommy Thayer, who donned Frehley's Spaceman makeup and costume for his first live appearance with Kiss. That month, the band (with Thayer) taped an appearance on the American sitcom That '70s Show
That '70s Show
That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that centers on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in the fictional suburban town of Point Place, Wisconsin, from May 17, 1976, to December 31, 1979...

. The episode, "That '70s Kiss Show", aired in August 2002. Thayer again performed with the group in April 2002, when Kiss performed "Detroit Rock City" (with pre-recorded music and live vocals) for an appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary show, which aired on May 3.

In February 2003, Kiss traveled to Australia and recorded Kiss Symphony: Alive IV
KISS Symphony: Alive IV
Kiss Symphony: Alive IV is a 2003 live album from Kiss performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra . The arrangements were made by David Campbell, who also conducted the MSO. It is the group's fourth album in the Alive series and first release under Kiss Records and Sanctuary Records...

 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Melbourne, Australia. It has 100 permanent musicians. Melbourne has the longest continuous history of orchestral music of any Australian city and the MSO is the oldest professional orchestra in Australia...

 at Etihad Stadium (then known as Telstra Dome) in Melbourne. Thayer once again replaced Frehley, while Peter Criss returned to the group. This album was the first released on Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records Group Limited was a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world...

, which has since been sold to Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 – owners of the rest of Kiss' catalog.

Despite claims made prior to the Farewell Tour that it would be the group's last, Kiss announced a co-headlining tour with Aerosmith
Rocksimus Maximus Tour
The Rocksimus Maximus Tour/World Domination Tour was a North American concert tour co-headlined by Aerosmith and Kiss. The tour was referred to as the "World Domination Tour" by Kiss and was called the Rocksimus Maximus Tour by Aerosmith. It is sometimes referred to informally as the "AeroKiss...

 in 2003. Frehley announced that his departure from the band was permanent, stating that he believed the Farewell Tour would be Kiss's last, and that he did not want to open for Aerosmith. He was permanently replaced by Thayer, as Kiss moved into a post-reunion phase that saw the band easing into a new line-up, permanently featuring Thayer as "Space Ace" and Singer as "the Catman". On this tour, still featuring Peter Criss, the group introduced the "Platinum" tickets package, with the most expensive packages costing $1,000. This package included a seat in the first five rows, a meet-and-greet with Kiss after their performance, and a photograph with the band. The tour earned more than $64 million in 2003, which ranked #7 for the year.

Simmons and Stanley did not renew Criss' contract when it expired in March 2004. Criss, on his website, stated that "No one, again, no one has called me, or my attorney about an extension for future touring. As a founding member I find this to be disrespectful to me, and to the fans that have made us one of the biggest bands in the world." Criss stated in a radio interview in 2004 with Eddie Trunk
Eddie Trunk
Eddie Trunk is an American music historian, radio personality, talk show host, and author best known as the host of several hard rock and heavy metal themed radio and television shows.- Current work :...

 that Simmons and Stanley were going to start a new Kiss, and thought he was getting too old to play for two hours (even though Criss is only 4 years older than Simmons). Criss was permanently replaced by Singer at this point.

During the summer of 2004, Kiss headlined the Rock the Nation 2004 World Tour, with Poison
Poison (band)
Poison is an American glam metal band that achieved great success in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. To date, Poison has sold over 30 million records worldwide and have sold 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,...

 as the opening act. The tour ended in August with a sold-out show in Mexico City. Selected dates on the tour were filmed for the Rock the Nation Live! concert DVD, released on December 13, 2005. Stanley, who had been experiencing increasing difficulty with his hip
Hip (anatomy)
In vertebrate anatomy, hip refer to either an anatomical region or a joint.The hip region is located lateral to the gluteal region , inferior to the iliac crest, and overlying the greater trochanter of the femur, or "thigh bone"...

, had his mobility limited during the tour. He has already had two hip surgeries performed, with more likely in the future.
After the conclusion of the Rock the Nation Tour, Kiss performed only sporadically for a number of years. The group played two shows in 2005, and another six in 2006. Four of the 2006 shows were July concerts in Japan, including two dates (July 22 and 23) as a headlining act at the 2006 Udo Music Festival. Kiss performed four July 2007 concerts, three of which were dubbed the Hit 'N Run Tour. Prior to the final show on July 27, Stanley was hospitalized with an extremely rapid heartbeat. In his absence, Kiss performed in concert as a trio for the first time ever. This was the first Kiss concert Stanley had missed during his then 34-year tenure with the group.

Kiss (along with Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

, Def Leppard
Def Leppard
Def Leppard are an English rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Since 1992, the band have consisted of Joe Elliott , Rick Savage , Rick Allen , Phil Collen , and Vivian Campbell...

, and Judas Priest
Judas Priest
Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band from Birmingham, England, formed in 1969. The current line-up consists of lead vocalist Rob Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. The band has gone through several drummers over the years,...

) were honored at the inaugural "VH1 Rock Honors" event, held May 25, 2006 in Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

. On April 9, 2006, The Associated Press announced the event by saying "the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame looks to be getting some competition." A tribute band, consisting of Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie is an American musician, film director, screenwriter and film producer. He founded the heavy metal band White Zombie and has been nominated three times as a solo artist for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.Zombie has also established a career as a film director, creating the...

 (vocals), Slash
Slash (musician)
Saul Hudson , known by his stage name Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N'...

 (guitar), Scott Ian
Scott Ian
Scott Ian Rosenfeld , better known by the stage name Scott Ian, is an American musician, best known as the rhythm & lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Anthrax. Ian is also the guitarist and a founding member of the crossover thrash band Stormtroopers of Death...

 (bass), and Supernova bandmates Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee
Thomas Lee Bass , best known as Tommy Lee, is an American musician and founding member of glam metal band Mötley Crüe. As well as being the band's long-term drummer, Lee founded rap-metal band Methods of Mayhem, and has pursued solo musical projects...

 (drums) and Gilby Clarke
Gilby Clarke
Gilbert "Gilby" Clarke is an American guitarist and record producer best known for a 3-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of Guns N' Roses, replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991 during the Use Your Illusion Tour...

 (guitar), performed "God of Thunder" with Ace Frehley.

In June 2006, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley attended the opening of the Kiss Coffeehouse
KISS Coffeehouse
The Kiss Coffeehouse is a privately owned specialty coffee retailer operating at Broadway at the Beach, an entertainment complex at Myrtle Beach, SC. Its theme revolves around the band Kiss...

 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the east coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is situated on the center of a large and continuous stretch of beach known as the Grand Strand in northeastern South Carolina. It is considered to be a major tourist destination in the...

. On October 15, 2006, Simmons, Stanley, and Criss were inaugural inductees into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame
Long Island Music Hall of Fame
The Long Island Music Hall of Fame is an organization whose office is located in Port Jefferson, New York. It was incorporated in July 2005 under the New York State Board of Regents as a non profit organization and holds a provisional charter to operate as a museum in the state of New York...

, along with performers such as Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond
Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present....

, Billy Joel
Billy Joel
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

, Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

, The Ramones and Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

.

Stanley released his second solo album, Live to Win
Live to Win
Live to Win is the second solo album from Kiss vocalist, guitarist and co-founder Paul Stanley, released on October 24, 2006.The album's title track was featured on the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft", twenty days prior to the album's release.Stanley last released a solo album in 1978,...

, on October 24, 2006, and undertook a brief solo tour in support. On October 31 the same year, the group released Kissology Volume One: 1974–1977
Kissology Volume One: 1974–1977
Kissology Volume One: 1974–1977 is a DVD/Home Video released by Kiss on October 31, 2006. It contains two discs, plus three separate bonus discs sold only within initial first pressings....

, the first of 10 possible DVD sets featuring complete concert footage, interviews, and never-before-seen clips. As of January 2007, the set is certified 5X platinum in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. A second volume
Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991
Kissology Volume Two: 1978–1991 is a DVD/Home Video that was released by Kiss on August 14, 2007. It contains three discs, plus three separate bonus discs sold only within initial first pressings. Some initial packages included a replica ticket to Magic Mountain for Kiss meets the Phantom of the...

 was released on August 14, 2007. It was certified 6X Platinum by the R.I.A.A. on October 24. What seemed to be the final entry, Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000
Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000
Kissology Volume Three: 1992–2000 is a DVD/Home Video released by Kiss and VH1 Classic Records. It was released on December 18, 2007.Kissology Vol. 3 is the third installment of the Kiss archival video series...

, was released on December 18, 2007 and has been certified 8X Platinum by the R.I.A.A. Stanley insisted that there are more volumes forthcoming in an interview with Norwegian broadcasting in the summer of 2008, but no details have been given.

In April 2007, tragedy struck Kiss again. Their former guitarist, Mark St. John
Mark St. John
Mark Leslie Norton , better known as Mark St. John, was a guitarist known for his brief work with the rock band Kiss.-Prior to Kiss:...

, died from an apparent cerebral hemorrhage at age 51. After being fired from Kiss in 1984, St. John formed the short-lived glam metal group White Tiger
White Tiger (Band)
White Tiger was an American glam metal band.-Biography:The band was formed by former Kiss guitarist Mark St. John. St. John wanted to start a project with musicians who were previously unheard of in the music business and along with St...

. In 1990 he briefly collaborated with Peter Criss in a band called The Keep, which only performed once and released no recordings. St. John largely dropped out of public view in later years, but did make occasional appearances at Kiss fan conventions.

Though Kiss has been eligible for enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 (whose rules state that an act is eligible 25 years after its first release) since 1999/2000, they were not nominated until 2009. While this snub displeases some fans, Stanley and Simmons maintain that it is meaningless to them. Nevertheless, a group of about 200 Kiss fans held a protest rally in front of the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

 on August 5, 2006. It was the first known organized demonstration seeking the induction of a band into the Hall. On December 15, 2009, it was announced that Kiss would not be among the Hall's 2010 inductees.

In 2007, a new comic book series featuring the band was released by the Kiss Comics Group in association with Platinum Studios
Platinum Studios
Platinum Studios, Inc. is a publicly traded media company based in the United States. It controls a large independent library of comic book characters, which it seeks to adapt, produce, and license for all forms of media including print, film, online, mobile / wireless, gaming, and merchandising...

. Entitled Kiss 4K: Legends Never Die, the first issue came out in a regular size and a giant 1.5' x 2.5' size, dubbed the Destroyer edition. Kiss were scheduled to play in Whistler in mid September, but the concert plans were cancelled late August because of passport problems.
Then, in 2008 saw the band picking up the pace, doing their first proper tour of Europe for nearly a decade. On January 30, 2008, guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley
Stanley Harvey Eisen , better known by his stage name Paul Stanley, is an American hard rock guitarist, singer, musician, painter and songwriter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and primary lead vocalist of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's...

 confirmed that Kiss would launch the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour
KISS Alive/35 World Tour
The Kiss Alive/35 World Tour was a concert tour by Kiss to celebrate Kiss' 35th anniversary. It was the band's first major tour since the Rock the Nation Tour in 2004. On the tour, Kiss played in New Zealand for the first time since the Alive/Worldwide Tour in 1997, as well as performing in Europe...

, playing arena and stadium shows in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. On March 16, 2008, Kiss closed the Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. It is used annually as a racetrack for the Australian Grand Prix and associated support races.-Design:...

 – Melbourne, Australia as well as performing in Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

 and Sydney as part of this tour. Kiss played at the Rock2Wgtn two-day festival held in Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

, New Zealand on March 22 and 23, 2008; a festival which also featured Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English vocalist, whose musical career has spanned over 40 years. Osbourne rose to prominence as lead singer of the pioneering English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, whose radically different, intentionally dark, harder sound helped spawn the heavy metal...

, Whitesnake
Whitesnake
Whitesnake are an English rock band, founded in 1978 by David Coverdale after his departure from his previous band, Deep Purple. The band's early material has been compared by critics to Deep Purple, but by the mid 1980s they had moved to a more commercial hard rock style...

, Poison
Poison (band)
Poison is an American glam metal band that achieved great success in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. To date, Poison has sold over 30 million records worldwide and have sold 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,...

, Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

, Lordi
Lordi
Lordi is a Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band, formed in 1996 by the band's lead singer, songwriter and costume-designer, Mr. Lordi. The band is known for wearing monster masks and using pyrotechnics during concerts...

, Sonic Altar and Symphony of Screams with special effects provided by WETA Workshop
Weta Workshop
Weta Workshop is a special effects and prop company based in Miramar, New Zealand, producing effects for television and film.Founded in 1987 by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger as RT Effects, Weta Workshop has produced creatures and makeup effects for the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys...

 of Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
The Lord of the Rings is an epic film trilogy consisting of three fantasy adventure films based on the three-volume book of the same name by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are The Fellowship of the Ring , The Two Towers and The Return of the King .The films were directed by Peter...

 and King Kong
King Kong (2005 film)
King Kong is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a remake of the 1933 film of the same name and stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. Andy Serkis, through performance capture, portrays Kong....

 fame.

Throughout the summer of 2008, Kiss headlined festivals as well as their own shows and played to a record audience of about 400 000 people. As part of this tour Kiss headlined the Download Festival
Download Festival
The Download Festival is a three day rock music festival held annually at Donington Park, England . It usually takes place in June...

 in Donington, England, on June 13. Three days later they headlined the Arrow Rock Festival
Arrow Rock Festival
Arrow Rock Festival is a rock festival that takes place on a yearly basis since 2003 in the Netherlands. This festival presents mostly classic rock bands. The original location for the festival was Lichtenvoorde; until 2007 when the venue changed to Biddinghuizen. 2008 saw another location change,...

 in Nijmegen, Netherlands. On June 28, Kiss headlined the Graspop Metal Meeting
Graspop Metal Meeting
Graspop Metal Meeting is an annual metal festival in Dessel, Belgium that has taken place each year since 1996. Despite the small size of the festival grounds the festival draws a large number of international spectators, with a total of 142,000 visitors in the course of the 2011 edition...

 in Dessel
Dessel
Dessel is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The municipality comprises only the town of Dessel proper. On January 1, 2006 Dessel had a total population of 8,773 inhabitants...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. It was the last show in the European leg of the 'Alive 35' tour. Monday, Aug. 4, Kiss played at Rockin' The Rally at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as part of the tour. South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds proclaimed August 4, 2008, to be "Kiss Rock and Roll Day" in South Dakota. In September 2008, both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley confirmed rumors that the Kiss Alive/35 Tour would continue with a big tour of North America in the beginning of 2009, a big tour in South America, when Kiss played in April 5 in Argentina, April 7 and 8 in Brazil, April 14 in Peru (first Kiss show ever in Peru) and other concerts in Venezuela (first Kiss show ever in Venezuela) and Chile, in the mid-end of the 2009 year Kiss came back to North America to continue the Alive/35 tour, starting at July 18 in Halifax, NS.

Sonic Boom and Monster (2008–present)

More than ten years after their last studio album, and following years of denials about ever wanting to do a new album, Stanley and Simmons changed their minds. In November 2008, Paul Stanley stated to rock photographer Ross Halfin
Ross Halfin
Ross Halfin is a British rock and roll photographer. He began his career working for Sounds magazine in the 1970s, shooting various artists on the punk scene including The Clash, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, 999 and The Adverts...

 that a new Kiss album was in the works. Stanley himself would be the producer, and the album would have a "real 70s Kiss sound" to it. Later that month, Simmons and Stanley both publicly confirmed the information about a new Kiss album.
The band appeared on American Idol
American Idol
American Idol, titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment...

 in May 2009 performing with Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert
Adam Mitchel Lambert is an American singer, songwriter, and actor from San Diego, California. In May 2009, he finished as the runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol...

, singing "Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City
"Detroit Rock City" is a song by the American hard rock group Kiss featured on their 1976 album, Destroyer. The song was written by Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin and is about a real Kiss fan who was killed in a car accident on his way to a Kiss concert...

" and "Rock and Roll All Nite
Rock and Roll All Nite
"Rock and Roll All Nite" is a song by Kiss, originally released on their 1975 album Dressed to Kill. It was released as the A-side of their fifth single, with the album track "Getaway." The studio version of the song peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard singles chart, besting the band's previous...

".

In July 2009, Paul Stanley announced a release date of October 6, 2009 for the new album Sonic Boom
Sonic Boom (Kiss album)
Sonic Boom is the 19th studio album and the first in 11 years from band Kiss, released on October 6, 2009. The album was recorded at Conway Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA and produced by the band's co-leader Paul Stanley and co-produced by Greg Collins...

.
It included a CD of new material, re-recorded versions of famous Kiss hits (previously released as Jigoku-Retsuden
Jigoku-Retsuden
-DVD :Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan, April 2, 1977#"Detroit Rock City"#"Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"#"Ladies Room"#"Firehouse"#"I Want You"#"Cold Gin"#"Nothin' to Lose"#"God of Thunder"#"Rock and Roll All Nite"#"Shout It Out Loud"#"Black Diamond"...

, a Japanese exclusive album in 2008) and a live DVD in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. "Modern Day Delilah
Modern Day Delilah (song)
"Modern Day Delilah" is the first single by American rock band Kiss off their 2009 album Sonic Boom.-Background:"Modern Day Delilah" was announced and released as the lead single off of Sonic Boom on August 19, 2009 to radio...

" was announced and released as the lead single off of Sonic Boom on August 19, 2009 to radio. The song was Kiss' first single release in 11 years, the song's predecessor being "You Wanted the Best
You Wanted the Best
"You Wanted the Best" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, released on their eighteenth studio album Psycho Circus in 1998. The song was written by the band's bassist Gene Simmons, and was released as the fourth single off the album on November 23, 1998. The song only charted on Billboard...

" which was released in 1998 off the band's Psycho Circus
Psycho Circus
Psycho Circus is the 18th studio album by American band Kiss. The album features the original four members back together, and in full make-up....

 album. Due to early previews of the album, the song has gained positive feedback from both critics and fans, and has been compared to the band's '70s work. In support of the new album, Kiss appeared live on Late Show with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman is a U.S. late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and is produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated. The show's music director and band-leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, is...

 on October 6, 2009 and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 7, 2009. Sonic Boom debuted at Number 2 on the Billboard 200, selling 108,000 copies in its first week of release.

On September 25, 2009, the Kiss Alive/35 North American Tour kicked off at Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI; both nights were filmed for future DVD release. These were the band's final performances there, as the venue was scheduled to be closed, however it is still holding events to this day (such as the Carnage Tour with Slayer & Megadeth, in August 2010). The tour was originally scheduled to conclude on December 6, 2009, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, however, several additional shows have been added and the last performance is now scheduled for December 15 in Sault Ste. Marie.

Kiss headlined Voodoo Fest 2009 held at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana on Halloween Night.

During their performance at the MTS Centre
MTS Centre
The MTS Centre is an indoor sports arena and entertainment venue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and home of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League. It is located on the former Eaton's site and is owned and operated by True North Sports & Entertainment. The 440,000 square feet ...

 on November 9, 2009 in Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, one of the lighting trusses caught on fire from a pyro cue. The truss had to be lowered in order to have the fire put out. During the five or so minutes it took to extinguish the fire, the band broke into the song "Firehouse
Firehouse (Kiss song)
"Firehouse" is a song by American hard rock band Kiss released on their eponymous debut album in 1974. The song was written by the bands' rhythm guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley...

". No one was hurt and the show continued on.

Kiss started the European leg of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour
Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour
The Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour was a concert tour by American rock band Kiss in support of their 19th studio album Sonic Boom, which was released in October 2009....

 in May 2010. Tragedy struck Kiss for a third time, when their former manager Bill Aucoin
Bill Aucoin
William "Bill" Aucoin was an American band manager, well-known for his work with the rock band Kiss.-Biography:...

 died of cancer on June 28, 2010 at the age of 66. Stanley and Simmons said he was like the fifth member of Kiss. The tour included their first UK arena shows in 11 years and their first visit to Slovakia. Kiss later played at two dates in US cities Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 and The North Dakota State Fair
North Dakota State Fair
The North Dakota State Fair is an annual state fair held each July in Minot, North Dakota. The fair features carnival rides, agricultural expositions, government and commercial exhibitions, and a variety of musical and performance entertainment....

 in Minot, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 in July 2010. They also played at the Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 state fair in August and the Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 State Fair in September. They also made a brief appearance at S.P.A.C. (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) in Saratoga, New York on August 17, 2010. On July 23, Kiss started The Hottest Show on Earth Tour
The Hottest Show on Earth Tour
The Hottest Show on Earth Tour was a concert tour by Kiss in support of their latest studio release Sonic Boom. It is essentially the North American and international leg of the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour, itself a continuation of the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour that started in 2008. Kiss also played...

 in the United States. The tour saw the band play numerous shows throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.

On April 13, 2011, Kiss began recording a new album due for release later in the year. Gene Simmons stated, the album "is gonna be the next step to Sonic Boom. Very similar — straight rock songs, no ballads, no keyboards, no nothing, just rock." The band also went to use old analog equipment instead of a more popular digital recording gear. Gene Simmons said about it: "Technology is a seductive bitch, she will seduce you. You press this button, you don't have to do anything. But analog is the love of your life. You can push real hard and it always gives back. For the new album, the actual recording process was 24-track tape and an old Trident board. And as many tubes as possible. You need tubes, electricity and thick wood to make that thick sound."
On August 21, 2011, it was announced on the Kiss website that the next album would be called Monster
Monster (Kiss album)
Monster is the upcoming 20th studio album from Kiss, set to be released in late spring of 2012. The album's title was confirmed by Kissonline.com on August 21, 2011 to be Monster...

.

In March 2011, while visiting Israel, Simmons announced that he had plans to bring Kiss to Israel. In May 2011, Kiss announced the first ever KISS Kruise to set sail in October 2011. The cruise will feature many activities such as the Kiss Halloween Party, Kiss Q&A on the Lido Deck and two Kiss shows (one of which is an acoustic show with no make-up), along with other artists.

Originally set for release in the fall of 2011, Monster was rescheduled for a spring 2012 release. Also, the long awaited Kissology: Volume Four DVD will be released at the same time the new album hits shelves. In addition, Stanley revealed that the cover of the new album will be similar to that of Destroyer but painted by another artist.

Kiss spent the summer of 2011 playing venues in the US and Canada, visiting cities to which they have not been in a while. They have dubbed this the "Lost Cities Tour." According to www.kissonline.com, the tour ended in Verona, New York.

The band organised a "KISS Kruise" onboard a cruise ship from October 13–17, 2011. The show involved acoustic sets as well as other activities. Over 5 days the cruise began in Miami, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and ended in Half Moon Cay. The band also announced a 2012 KISS Kruise was in the works. Gene Simmons has also just revealed to Planet Rock UK that KISS will embark on a 100 cities tour in support of Monster in the summer of 2012.

Before hitting the red carpet at the 2011 American Music Awards, Gene Simmons revelead that KISS' forthcoming album "Monster" will include 15 brand new songs, all studio written by the band. Together with the album a 4 foot high book and 10 hour DVD also called "Monster" will be out in June of 2012. KISS will then embark on a world tour in support of "Monster" that "promises to take technology to the extreme". The release date of the album has also been pushed to "a late Spring of next year."

Musical style

Because of the ambiguity in the distinction between "hard rock" and "heavy metal", Kiss' music has always been labeled one or the other. But shortly after the band's formation, critics called them "thunderrockers". They also experimented in the disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

 (Dynasty), pop rock
Pop rock
Pop rock is a music genre which mixes a catchy pop style and light lyrics in its guitar-based rock songs. There are varying definitions of the term, ranging from a slower and mellower form of rock music to a subgenre of pop music...

 (Unmasked), art rock
Art rock
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with influences from art, avant-garde, and classical music. The first usage of the term, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, was in 1968. Influenced by the work of The Beatles, most notably their Sgt...

/progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 (Music from "The Elder") and grunge
Grunge
Grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area. Inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal, and indie rock, grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song...

 (Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
-Personnel:*Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, vocals*Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals*Bruce Kulick - lead guitar, vocals*Eric Singer - drums, percussion, backing vocals-Charts:Album - Billboard...

) styles.
Their music is described by Allmusic as "a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock, driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings. It was a sound that laid the groundwork for both arena rock and the pop-metal that dominated rock in the late '80s." Its first critical review described Kiss as "an American Black Sabbath" in Rolling Stone. "With twin guitars hammering out catchy mondo-distorto riffs and bass and drums amiably bringing up the rear," said RS of Hotter Than Hell, "Kiss spews forth a deceptively controlled type of thunderous hysteria, closely akin to the sound once popularized by the German Panzer tank division." At the same time, Bennington Banner from Rock Music magazine said, "with its members bizarre, Kabuki
Kabuki
is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

-like makeup, studded black leather costumes and arsenal of on-stage firepower – both musical and literal – Kiss represents the most extreme form of hard rock in 1974."

Band members

Current members
  • Paul Stanley
    Paul Stanley
    Stanley Harvey Eisen , better known by his stage name Paul Stanley, is an American hard rock guitarist, singer, musician, painter and songwriter best known for being the rhythm guitarist and primary lead vocalist of the rock band Kiss. He is the writer or co-writer of many of the band's...

     – vocals, rhythm guitar (1973–present)
  • Gene Simmons
    Gene Simmons
    Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, actor, and rock bassist. Known as "The Demon", he is the bassist/vocalist of Kiss, a hard rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s.-Early life:...

     – vocals, bass (1973–present)
  • Eric Singer
    Eric Singer
    Eric Doyle Mensinger , better known as Eric Singer, is a hard rock and heavy metal drummer for the rock band Kiss and formerly for singer Alice Cooper...

     – drums, percussion, vocals (1991–1996, 2001–2002, 2004–present)
  • Tommy Thayer
    Tommy Thayer
    Tommy Cunningham Thayer is an American musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist for the American hard rock band Kiss.- Early life :...

     – lead guitar, vocals (2002–present)


Former members
  • Ace Frehley
    Ace Frehley
    Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley is an American musician best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Kiss. He took on the persona of the "Spaceman" or "Space Ace" when the band adopted costumes and theatrics...

     – lead guitar, vocals (1973–1982, 1996–2002)
  • Peter Criss
    Peter Criss
    George Peter John Criscuola , better known as Peter Criss, is an American drummer and singer, best known as the original drummer for the rock band Kiss...

     – drums, percussion, vocals (1973–1980, 1996–2001, 2002–2004)
  • Eric Carr
    Eric Carr
    Paul Charles Caravello , also known as Eric Carr, was an American musician, best known as drummer for the rock band Kiss. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left in 1980...

     – drums, percussion, vocals (1980–1991)
  • Vinnie Vincent
    Vinnie Vincent
    Vincent John Cusano, better known as Vinnie Vincent, is an American guitarist from Bridgeport, Connecticut and songwriter known for his brief membership in the band Kiss.-Replacing Ace Frehley in Kiss:...

     – lead guitar, vocals (1982–1984)
  • Mark St. John
    Mark St. John
    Mark Leslie Norton , better known as Mark St. John, was a guitarist known for his brief work with the rock band Kiss.-Prior to Kiss:...

     – lead guitar (1984)
  • Bruce Kulick
    Bruce Kulick
    Bruce Howard Kulick is an American guitarist, musician and a member of the band Grand Funk Railroad. Previously, Kulick had been a longtime member of the band Kiss....

     – lead guitar, vocals (1984–1996)

See also


Literature

  • Gebert, Gordon G.G. and McAdams, Bob (1997). Kiss & Tell. Pitbull Publishing LLC. ISBN 0-9658794-0-2.
  • Gebert, Gordon G.G. (1999). Kiss & Tell More!. Pitbull Publishing LLC. ISBN 0-9658794-1-0.
  • Gill, Julian (2005). The Kiss Album Focus (3rd Edition), Volume 2. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-59926-358-0.
  • Gill, Julian (2005). The Kiss & Related Recordings Focus: Music! the Songs, the Demo, the Lyrics And Stories!. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-59926-360-2.
  • Gill, Julian (2006). The Kiss Album Focus (3rd Edition), Volume 3. Booksurge Publishing. ISBN 0-9722253-5-8.
  • Lendt, C.K. (1997). Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7551-6.
  • Sherman, Dale (1997). Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of Kiss. Collectors Guide Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-896522-35-1.
  • Simmons, Gene, Paul Stanley, and Waring Abbott (2002). Kiss: The Early Years. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-81028-6.
  • Tomarkin, Peggy (1980). Kiss: The Real Story, Authorized. Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-440-04834-6.
  • Moore, Wendy (2004). Into the Void... With Ace Frehley. Pitbull Publishing LLC. ISBN 0-9658794-4-5.
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