As the KISS Army prepare to see their heroes (somewhat controversially) inducted into the Rock and Rockk Hall of fame tonight, this long read appears in Grantland. As someone who has followed KISS on and off since 1975, I can tell you it’s good.
I love writing about Kiss. I love it too much, probably. I’ve written about this band semiconstantly for the past 20 years, sometimes for reasons that weren’t justified and sporadically with motives that weren’t justified and intermittently with logic that wasn’t justified. But Kiss go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tomorrow, so today I’m Timothy Olyphant.
The New York rock-and-roll group Kiss was formed in 1972, when two workaholic Jews (guitarist Stanley Eisen and bassist Chaim Witz) aligned forces with two boozehound Christians (drummer Peter George John Criscuola1 and guitarist Paul Frehley). Their adopted stage names are household, unless you are very young, crazy old, or not interested in loud music: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley (the last adopting “Ace” because the band didn’t need another Paul). The group was spawned upon the dissolution of Simmons and Stanley’s previous band, Wicked Lester, a folk-rock five-piece Simmons likes to compare to the United Nations (due to their mixture of ethnicities and nonuniform physical appearance). Wicked Lester scored a record deal with Epic, but most of the music was never officially released.
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