Elanor Goodman | Team Rock
An unassuming poster marks the door to the Kiss Expo, which leads into a shopping mall in Harajuku. We take the lift to the fifth floor, walk past some boutiques selling women’s knitwear and frilly blouses, and enter a hidden world of Kiss memorabilia. Tellingly, the first item on display is the band’s formation contract from 1976, promising each band member 25% of the band’s revenue. Then there are gold discs aplenty, a selection of historic and smashed guitars, the infamous Kiss Kasket, a video showing Gene Simmonswith X Japan mainman Yoshiki, and studded costumes from throughout the years – though sadly, the mannequins are not anatomically correct. “Kiss are sexy – we need to go to the sausage shop!” jokes Mark Stroman, one of the brains behind the event.
Aside from Gene Simons and Paul Stanley, Japanese music critics Masa Ito and Yuichi Masuda advised on the collection, which has been three years in the making and mainly consists of items donated by fans. The organisers now hope to grow the event and take it to the US and Europe. “There are two sides to this exhibition – one is the history and memorabilia for the diehard fans, and the other is fun experiences for new fans, like virtual reality headsets,” says curator Hana. “We’re exploring more ideas, and hoping to have the whole band appear next time!”
Here’s what we learned from a walk around…
He isn’t shy about showing off his home, and the staff give out virtual reality headsets so we can tour his and Paul Stanley’s cribs. He points out his branded pinball machine, toilet paper, baby bottles, condoms and other items, while our eyes try to adjust to the floor-to-ceiling Kiss Kaos. Ow.
It’s all very well having gold discs, but what about the under-appreciated tape? Gene has one to commemorate shifting more than 500,000 units of 1975 concert album Alive in the now-obsolete format. It’s probably worth more than anything we will ever own. Ever.
Fresh from being used on their American tour, it’s the first time the Fire Sword has been displayed. Never mind stage shows, if you were going to fight dragons, zombies or White Walkers, you’d want this flaming weapon by your side.
One display shows the Marvel Kiss Special original comic book from 1977, which was made with the band’s own blood. Above, there’s a big colour picture of them pouring the blood into a big vat of red ink, while dressed in full costume. We really want the comic. Does Santa come on Halloween?
There’s a scrapbook containing family photos of Gene. Photos include one of his mum looking weirdly serious while tickling him, and hilarious ones of him driving a miniature car and dressed up western-style like the Milkybar Kid. Proof that he’s long been a showman.
Stef Lach | Team Rock
Gene Simmons says it’s the job of musicians to create “magic time” on stage to help fans forget about the mundanity of everyday life.
The Kiss bassist describes the live arena as an “electric church” and says he believes live music can make a real difference to the lives of those in the audience.
Speaking after appearing with X Japan on stage in Tokyo at the weekend, Simmons tells Metal Hammer: “At the end of the day, all that matters is what happens on that stage – that’s electric church. That’s glory hallelujah, all hail rock’n’roll, where people who spend lots of after-tax money come to the show and their girlfriends have been torturing them about where did you go and traffic jams and all that.
“And it’s our job – anyone who gets up on that stage – to create magic time. To make you forget about all that stuff and take you away, so just for those few hours…and then you get back to gravity, and all the chaos that’s out there.”
KISS ARMY – it’s a Halloween party, it’s a Kruise pre-party, it’s whatever you want it to be as we salute all of the thing things that go bump in the night in THE KISS ROOM!
Matt Porter is joined by Bobby Dreher, Dotti Jones, Joe Polo from Podcast Rock City, Ken Mills, and more, PLUS we have THE KISS ROOM HOUSE BAND, Steve Campagna, Steve Foerst, and Fran Galanti, playing live in the studio!
All of the tricks, treats, tunes and KISS talk that you expect every month in THE KISS ROOM!
Originally broadcast on Friday, October 14, 2016 via Montco Radio, where Music and Minds meet.
Podcast Rock City
This week we celebrate 200 episodes! Join us live at the 2016 NJ KISS Expo! We share all the events… dinner and party the night before. Fans stopping by to congratulate us on 200 episodes. Special guests such as Robert Conte, Mark Montague, Eric Singer, Bruce Kulick, Roman Fernandez, Danny Stanton, Wicked, Tim Sullivan stopping by to congratulate us and update us on what they are doing! We had a blast! We were overwhelmed and so thankful for everyone that stopped by to say hi and congratulate us! Three Sides of the Coin is a show about being a KISS fan, a show about KISS fans and what better way to celebrate 200 episodes then to have the fans be part of the show! THANK YOU!!
Ryan Kartje | OC Register
The Arena Football League’s L.A. KISS, faced with dwindling attendance and concerns about the league’s viability, has ceased operations.
“As I understand, (the KISS) won’t be involved in any football moving forward,” AFL Player’s Union Executive Director Ivan Soto wrote in an email on Monday.
The KISS, named after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band led by co-owners Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, became the third AFL team to fold and the fifth to leave the league over the past week. In that span, the Orlando Predators and Portland Steel also folded, and the Jacksonville and Arizona franchises announced intentions to join the rival Indoor Football League. That leaves just four teams in the AFL, half the number that started the 2015 season.
KISS players and season ticket-holders remain completely in the dark. No official announcement about the team’s status has been made by the team or the league. Calls made to KISS officials over several days were not returned. When pressed about the future of the KISS, a spokesperson for the league referred only to a recent release that said the AFL was “focused on solidifying its foundation for the long term.”
That future apparently won’t include the KISS. The team’s players, along with those from the other two folding franchises, were put in a player pool for a dispersal draft held Friday for the league’s remaining teams. All undrafted players become free agents, according to an AFL spokesperson.
Martin Kielty | Team Rock
Kiss drummer Eric Singer has recalled the “awkward moment” when he came third in a drumming contest – while future Guns N’ Roses sticksman Steven Adler didn’t reach the final.
And he’s used the memory to demonstrate how life can be unpredictable.
Neither of them were established musicians when they entered the Los Angeles competition in 1984, hosted by veteran drummer Carmine Appice.
Singer tells MusicRadar: “It was a radio station. You sent in a tape and from that they picked 50 people, 15 girls and 35 guys.
“They had you play in a parking lot – out of that they picked the finalists. Steven Adler didn’t get picked for the finals. I remember he was upset.
“His mother went up to Carmine Appice, ‘How come my son Steven didn’t get picked?’ I was standing right on the sidewalk next to him, while his mother was asking Carmine. It had to be an awkward moment.”
He continues: “The funny thing was, three years later he’s in the biggest band in the world – so you never know how things are going to turn out.
The KISS Room
Scott Ian has defended Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons‘s decision not to resurrect KISS‘s original lineup, explaining that “those guys know what’s right for their band.”
During a brand new interview with Florida’s 99 Rock radio station, the ANTHRAX guitarist was asked if he thinks Stanley and Simmons should reunite with former KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. He responded: “Look, I’m a lifelong fan of that band. But the bottom line is, and what people need to understand is, look, it’s Gene and Paul‘s band. They are the guys that have worked their asses off since 1973 to keep that band, that business moving forward all the way into 2016 and still on the level that they’re doing it.”
He continued: “I know a lot of fans get pissed off — ‘Oh, those guys are being dicks’ or whatever — and it’s, like, you have no idea. You have no idea what it takes to make a band last that long at the level that KISS is. So it’s their band and it’s their decision.
“As a fan, I would love to see Ace Frehley play one more time in KISS. And I’m gonna be completely honest, and this is no knock on Peter, but the last time I saw them with Peter, on the KISS/AEROSMITH run, like thirteen years ago or something, whenever that was, the tempos were terrible; everything was just way too slow. So if that’s the case, no, I don’t wanna see that; I wanna see stuff played at the right tempo. If [Peter] could play it at the right tempo, then more power to him, and I would love to see that; of course I would. But, you know, it’s not my band. It’s Gene and Paul‘s band, and those guys know what’s right for their band; they’ve proven it. Stop questioning Gene and Paul.”
Podcast Rock City
Ken Sharp | Rock Cellar Magazine
Outspoken and brash, arrogant and opinionated, profane and vulgar, supremely narcissistic and sexist, are among the colorful descriptions both the public and media foist at KISS’ founding member Gene Simmons.
Acutely aware of how he is perceived, Simmons even named his last solo album Asshole. When meeting with the “God of Thunder,” one will notice he’s polite and gracious, proving there’s much more behind the self-proclaimed “Man of 1000 Faces.”
Currently on the road with KISS for their “Freedom To Rock” jaunt of the U.S., the band, or brand, as Simmons often likes to describe the Roll & Roll Hall of Famers, are not content to rest on their laurels and count their mountainous pile of greenbacks. Rather, they continue to press the envelope with a keen understanding of the transformative power of how a rock and roll band can be marketed in today’s world.
Yet as Simmons attests, his accomplishments with KISS have far exceeded his expectations. “It is really weird that KISS, which never really started out as anything but this bizarre dream of four knuckleheads off the streets of New York just wanting to do one record, that four decades later, the RIAA crowned us as the number-one Gold record award winning group of all time in America. It’s amazing especially since we’ve only had three hit singles, Beth, I Was Made For Loving You and Forever.”
For a group routinely dismissed by short-sighted critics as a flash in the pan, a “joke band” comprised of talentless cretinous musical goons soon to be forgotten and quickly discarded on the junk heap of failed rock bands past, KISS are having the last laugh. Detractors be damned, 46 years since the original band–Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss–first came together, in 2016 KISS continue to transcend the parameters of what a rock band can do.
Whether starring in their own Scooby Doo cartoon (Scooby Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery), teaming up with menswear designer/clothier John Varvatos or collaborating with Japanese teen sensations Momoiro Clover Z on Samurai Son, the band’s first # 1 single in the “Land of the Rising Sun,” yesterday and today KISS stubbornly follow the beat of their own drum and continue to thrive, loudly.
Witness their latest “Freedom To Rock” tour, which is drawing in a significant generation of younger fans eager and excited to be baptized, KISS-style. We sat down with the band’s resident “God of Thunder,” Gene Simmons, who offered a primer in all things KISS, past, present and future.
Rock Cellar Magazine: The new KISS tour is labeled the “Freedom to Rock” tour. When did you first feel the freedom that music provided as a creative outlet?
Gene Simmons: That’s a very good question. When you’re a pimple-faced little kid, we’re all trying to figure out where we fit on the chess board of life. We try to sort of hang to or latch on to that thing that makes us acceptable and it’s usually not mathematics, unfortunately, or sciences. The kid that put in the time to excel at math and science, the rest of the kids at school don’t just go, “Oh yeah, I need to hang out with that guy.”
Kory Grow | Rolling Stone
Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson share stories from their mid-Seventies tour with Kiss in a new documentary, Time Stand Still, which will play in theaters next month. While on the road, Lifeson used to put a paper bag on his head and put his hands through his pants to entertain his bandmates and Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. He called his character “The Bag.” The film will screen in multiple theaters for one night only November 3rd before its DVD and Blu-ray release on November 18th.
“Bring the Bag over here,” Lifeson says in a clip, doing an impression of Frehley in a high-pitched voice. “Howie, where’s the Bag?” Lee echoes, referring to the band’s lighting director.
They would fool around, much to the consternation of Kiss’ Gene Simmons. “Gene was very, very upset with the Bag,” Lifeson recalls, “and that made Ace even happier.”
“Gene was straight,” Lee said. “He wasn’t high like we were. He had a different sense of reality when he came into Ace’s room. We were drinking and smoking and generally being idiots.” Lee goes on to tell a story about how Simmons clashed with Lifeson when they had two women in Frehley’s room.
Time Stand Still provides a look at the group’s R40 tour with narration by Paul Rudd. Lee, Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart all participated in interviews for the film. The film will be accompanied by 20 minutes of extras, including interviews with Simmons, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Heart’s Wilson sisters, Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and producer Nick Raskulinecz. Continue reading
Lyndsey Parker | Yahoo Music
Sitting side by side at X Japan founder Yoshiki Hayashi’s Los Angeles recording studio to discuss the new X Japan rockumentary We Are X, Yoshiki and KISS bassist/mouthpiece Gene Simmons don’t seem to have much in common. Yoshiki is sweet, serious, and slight; Gene is loud, brash, and 6’2” even sans his signature platform-footed dragon boots. But the two are in many ways kindred spirits, united by their unwavering belief in the power of rock ‘n’ roll. They’re also two of the only rock stars to ever be immortalized by Sanrio as Hello Kitty dolls — Yoshiki’s doll even has a name, Yoshikitty — which says a great deal about Yoshiki’s international superstar status, even if the classically trained Japanese rocker still isn’t a KISS-level household name in the States.
The X Japan and KISS legends are two of the few rock stars to ever be recreated in official Hello Kitty form.
“It’s amazing. Miracles can happen,” grins Yoshiki, seated beside Simmons and a cluster of Hello Kitty figurines at one of his deluxe studio’s many grand pianos. “I’m sitting next to Gene Simmons, and he’s talking about my band. It’s like, that’s unbelievable.”