One last Kiss: Rock band says farewell

Michael Singer, Contributing Writer

When the legendary band Kiss appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” on March 1, it announced the final 50 shows of the bands’ career.

From its self-titled debut record in 1974 to its last studio record in 2012, Kiss has outlasted most rock bands, reinvented the rock and roll wheel and inspired countless artists across every genre of music.

Kiss’ music was built on classic 1970s rock and roll and the band wanted to be an artist it had never witnessed on stage, so its members put on face paint and created their own characters.

After the breakthrough of the band’s fourth overall record and first live record, “Alive!” Kiss-mania took the world by storm. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the band’s next nine records, from 1976 to 1979, were certified platinum.

Members of the band came and went. By 1982 original guitarist Ace Frehley and original drummer Peter Criss left the band and were replaced by Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr. Ten years later, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer were in the band only to be replaced by the original members again. Nothing lasts forever – Frehley and Criss were replaced by current guitarist Tommy Thayer and the return of drummer Eric Singer.

That leaves us where we are right now, staring down the next 10 months before Kiss rocks Madison Square Garden for the final time.

Before every Kiss show, the band comes out to a recording that says, “You wanted the best, well you got the best. The hottest band in the world, Kiss!” and then it comes down to the stage from the roof on mini platforms.

During the band’s shows, fireworks and pyrotechnics go off. Bassist Gene Simmons spits out blood and flies on stage, guitarist Tommy Thayer shoots rockets out of his guitar and lead singer Paul Stanley flies on a zip line to a stage in the middle of the crowd.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “I’ve seen Beyoncé or Harry Styles do this at their concert before.” Who do you think started all this?

In the mid-1970s, Kiss wanted to put on a concert that its members would have wanted to see when they were young so they came up with shooting off fireworks, making the drum kit levitate as well as having guitars shoot off rockets and have smoke come from the inside.

So yes, while Styles and Beyoncé are cool, every trick they pull is a clone of a Kiss show. I hate to break it to you.

Kiss has inspired many artists and bands that have come after it across all generations and musical styles.

Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga and Pantera have recognized Kiss as an inspiration. One classic rock band, a pop star and a heavy metal band have all cited Kiss in one way or another. It’s not too often that you see three different artists be inspired by one single band.

For the music world, it’s bittersweet. On one hand, the next 10 months are a celebration of all things Kiss but on the other hand, it’s the “changing of the guard” between rock bands. Who knows who will pick up the torch but someone has to do it, right?

If you look at the rock scene, The Who, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones are all up there in terms of age and are close to calling it a career. Even Ozzy Osbourne recently decided to step away from the stage.

I for one do not want to see the band retire. For years I have grown up listening to Kiss, going to its shows and I have been a member of The Kiss Army. To see the band walk away is a tough pill to swallow.

There is something to look forward to. All throughout the End Of The Road Tour, the band has stated that “any member is welcome to join us onstage.” The Kiss Army, myself included, hope original members Frehley and Criss rejoin Kiss with full face paint. It’s time to bury the hatchet and let the original members rejoin.

Kiss is a band that was for the fans. The band now looks to put 50-plus years of rock and roll to bed in New York City, where it all began. Kiss started out with a dream to take over the world and after selling out arenas worldwide, it’s safe to say that it accomplished its goals.

A band that was composed of The Catman, The Spaceman, The Demon and Starchild will soon take one last bow from rocking and rolling all night and step away from partying every day.