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KISS: Music, Makeup, & Pyrotechnics

It's kind of difficult to approach this piece about KISS, there are several former record biz folks and many fans that know the band and it's story. The original group: Paul Stanley (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Gene Simmons (Vocals and Bass), Peter Criss (Drums and Vocals), and Ace Frehley (Lead Guitar and Vocals), started the band in NYC in 1973.

 

KISS wanted to be different and decided to use makeup and each player would be a character: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman (Frehley), and The Catman (Criss). They created a spectacular stage presentation, with pyrotechnics, fire breathing, guitars shooting rockets, etc., that helped make them one of the biggest Arena Acts of the day. But there was a problem in that their records were not selling as well as hoped.

 

The guys decided that stuff done in the Studio did not match up well with their Wild Live Performances, and so they recorded a Live Album at a concert in Detroit's Cobo Hall, (A rock and roll legendary venue) titled it, ALIVE, and had their first Gold Record, with the single version of, ROCK AND ROLL ALL NITE, hitting the Pop Charts.

 

Their success also saved the great Neil Bogart and Casablanca Records from bankruptcy. I saw them play a few times and accidentally spent some time with Gene Simmons one night at a Cher autographing event when he was dating her. Gene had a fascinating story:  born Chaim Witz in Israel, he and his mother came to the USA, and after creating a new-self, with talent and high intelligence, he lived the American Dream with all the bells and whistles.

 

This just scratches the surface of the KISS story, but gives me a nice setup for this video of the boys doing ROCK AND ROLL ALL NITE, at the aforementioned Cobo Hall in Detroit, and a look at the excitement they generated in 1975, with good picture and audio.@therealdonrocks

 

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