PUBLISHED IN THE KITCHENER WATERLOO RECORD Wednesday, March 26, 1997

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

Not only are PAUL STANLEY, GENE SIMMONS, ACE FREHLEY and PETER CRISS KISS in make-up, but they've kissed and made up.

A reunion during a taping of MTV Unplugged in August 1995 following the band's groundbreaking convention swing sparked forgiveness between the seminal New York glam rock band's founders -- Stanley and Simmons -- and Criss and Frehley, whom both been summarily dismissed in 1981 and 1982 respectively from the band's ranks for substance abuse problems.

"To be honest, we weren't expecting much," said the serpent-tongued, bass playing Simmons last week from a New York hotel.

"But they were free and clean. There was no sign of substance abuse, or self-delusion. We were shocked, and delighted."

Plans were drawn up for a reunion tour in full flame-throwing, blood-spitting, armor-plated KISS regalia -- explosions, explosions and even more explosions -- and a nostalgia-hungry crowd transformed the shows into the Hot Concert Ticket of 1996, grossing over $43.7 million.

As far as Simmons is concerned, KISS is picking up in 1997 where it left off last year.

"This tour is the #1 ticket seller in the world," he claims, and knowing this is no idle boast, smugly adds: "Hey, I'm cocky."

However, if anyone has earned the right to be confident over the years, it's been KISS. Since their formation in 1973, the band has released over 30 albums and sold more than 70 million records, dumbfounding critics and outlasting fickle pop music trends. The KISS Army has soldiered on to become one of the most dominant , defiant and mystical cross-demographic configurations in pop history, enlisting the young and the old in common appreciation for four wildly costumed musicians whose most profound declaration is "I wanna rock and roll all nite, and party every day."

This irony is not lost on Gene Simmons.

"What we do is not essential," he states. "Farmers, teachers, garbage collectors: they're important. I'm serious. Try to see how society functions for a few days without garbage collection. Try eating without the farmer providing your food.

"We are very, very lucky guys. What we do is not a practical job."

However, Simmons also recognizes that KISS is adored, and says the least the band can do is offer the sonic and visual equivalent of a thrilling rollercoaster ride for over two hours.

"There's a lot of self-delusion from rock stars, where so many bands feel as though they're doing you a favor by being up on stage," he says.

"You bought the ticket! You're the boss! We work for you!"

Simmons goes as far as to suggest KISS owes it to their audience to deliver the best dollar-for-dollar spectacle on the planet, and will settle for nothing less.

"People are willing to pay us enormous amounts of money to play, and women want to have our babies," states Simmons. "The least we can do is live up to that loyalty and love."

 

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1973 -- 001. -- KISS -- Casablanca

1974 -- 002. -- Hotter Than Hell

1974 -- 003. -- Dressed To Kill

1975 -- 004. -- Alive

1976 -- 005. -- Destroyer

1976 -- 006. -- Rock 'N Roll Over

1977 -- 007. -- Love Gun

1977 -- 008. -- KISS Alive II

1978 -- 009. -- Double Platinum

1979 -- 010. -- Dynasty

1981 -- 011. -- Unmasked*

1982 -- 012. -- The Elder

1982 -- 013. -- Creatures Of The Night**

1983 -- 014. -- Lick It Up***

1984 -- 015. -- Animalize ****

1985 -- 016. -- Asylum

1986 -- 017. -- Crazy Nights

1988 -- 018. -- Smashes, Thrashes & Hits

1988 -- 019. -- Hot In The Shade

1990 -- 020. -- Revenge

1992 -- 021. -- Alive III*****

1993 -- 022. -- KISS Unplugged******

1994 -- 023. -- You Wanted The Best..

1995 -- 024. -- Greatest KISS

1997 -- 025. -- Carnival Of Souls

1998 -- 026. -- Psycho Circus*******

1999 -- 027. -- Detroit Rock City

* -- Eric Carr replaced Peter Criss

** -- Vinnie Vincent replaced Ace Frehley

*** -- First tour without makeup, also with Vinnie Vincent (guitar)

**** -- Mark St. John replaced Vinnie Vincent

***** -- Eric Singer replaced Eric Carr

****** -- Marked first reunion of original four

******* -- First album tour marks return to full-fledged cosmetics

 

SOLO ALBUMS, SIDE PROJECTS

1980 -- Peter Criss, Peter Criss

1980 -- Ace Frehley, Ace Frehley

1980 -- Gene Simmons, Gene Simmons

1980 -- Paul Stanley, Paul Stanley

  -- Frehley's Comet

 

TIMELINE

1973 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- vocals, bass

  -- Ace Frehley -- guitar

  -- Peter Criss -- drums

1980 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass

  -- Ace Frehley -- guitar

  -- Eric Carr -- drums

1982 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass, vocals

  -- Vinnie Vincent -- guitar

  -- Eric Carr -- drums

1984 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass, vocals

  -- Mark St. John -- guitar

  -- Eric Carr -- drums

1985 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass, vocals

  -- Bruce Kulick -- guitar

  -- Eric Carr -- drums

 

1992 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass, vocals

  -- Bruce Kulick -- guitar

        -- Eric Singer -- drums

1996 -- Paul Stanley -- vocals, guitar

  -- Gene Simmons -- bass, vocals

  -- Ace Frehley -- guitar

  -- Peter Criss -- drums

 

 

FAST FACTS

 

THANKS: Samantha Johnson, Donna Lidster, Philip Bast

©1997, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

 

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