The 80s would be an interesting time for KISS, a decade defined by lineup instability, the near-death of the band, the removal of their trademark makeup, and a return to gold and platinum level success. Yes, in rock’s glitziest decade, once gain, KISS found themselves in a familiar, yet frustrating position as a band who needed to prove their worth to both critics and fans alike.
Love them or hate them, with Alive!, KISS created the live album as we know it, but they didn’t stop there. Over the course of the band’s nearly fifty-year history, KISS has consistently put out live music. Let’s dig into all of those albums, some of which may surprise you, and see how they stack up.
From a young age, Brian James Fox knew he wanted to play the drums, and after moving cross-country from Milwaukee to California, cutting his teeth on the Orange County club circuit, and making his way in various cover bands to make ends meet, Fox joined forces with starcrossed guitar virtuoso, and former KISS and Black Sabbath alumni, Mark St. John, and David Donato, along with Mark’s brother, Michael Norton, to form White Tiger.
Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Rich Kosak, the founder, and de-facto frontman of the world’s greatest KISS tribute, Mr. Speed. Among other things, we touch on what he’s been up to during the lockdown, the origins of Mr. Speed, how the band puts on such a world-class show, all things KISS, what’s next for Mr. Speed, and what he’s looking forward to the most once COVID-19 breaks.
KISS’ legacy runs deeper than “Rock ‘N’ Roll All Night,” “Beth,” “Detroit Rock City,” and “I Was Made For Lovin’ You.” Sure, those are great songs, but KISS’ music is so much more than that. I hope you dig this article, and I hope it inspires you to dive deeper. KISS may be at the “End Of The Road,” but they aren’t done quite yet. I hope you double back. I hope you take the journey.
There is no denying that “Space Ace” has a special swagger about him…that certain something that simply makes him special. Ace is both unable and uninterested in reading music and is generally averse to playing by anybody else’s rules but his own. Still, Ace has managed to forge a fifty-year career in music and has seen the wildly unheard-of success that street-walking guys from the Bronx don’t often see.
KISS has always been a polarizing band that people either loved or hated. Even if you are not the biggest fan, there is one message I want you to take away from this article: Go back to those seldom listen to tracks, by the artist you love, and give them a listen. You might discover a new favorite song and start making your personal “top lists.”
Robert V. Conte is an editor, writer, and pop-culture consultant who, armed with his vast memorabilia collection, utilizes his expertise on a myriad of officially licensed products, including Godzilla, KISS, and Sesame Street.
You hear a lot about “mood music.” Well for me, the music of KISS is “any mood music.” So, today I’ve done just that. KISS Guitarists Ranked, will run through my personal ranking of the group’s lead guitarists.