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Old 07-06-2010, 05:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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~ Classic Rock Forums ~
Band of the Month
July 2010



Ahh Kiss, where do we start with one of the most colorful bands in the history of rock and roll? I guess the beginning. I won't go too far back and try and keep this about the band KISS, while touching on pre-Kiss just a little bit.

Kiss has been an American rock and roll band since January 1973. The original lineup consisted of 4 members: Gene Simmons (bass), Paul Stanley (guitar), Peter Criss (drums) and Ace Frehley (guitar). This official lineup remained constant from 1973 to 1980, the timeframe that most fans and critics alike would consider the "heyday" of Kiss.

The band has put out 19 studio albums along with a couple dozen live albums, compilations and box sets throughout their career. They have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Here is a quick glimpse at some of the early album covers during the first 'era', provided by site web mistress, Magic (thank you kindly m'dear)

Studio Albums (1974-1980)

Kiss (1974)
Hotter Than Hell (1974)
Dressed To Kill (1975)
Destroyer (1976)
Rock and Roll Over (1976)
Love Gun (1977)
Dynasty (1979)
Unmasked (1980)





Humble Beginnings:


Kiss rose from the ashes of the band that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were previously in before Kiss, Wicked Lester. Wicked Lester was formed in 1970 under the name Rainbow, but changed their name in 1971 to Wicked Lester. The band recorded one album in late 1971 to which the rights were purchased by Epic Records. The album was never officially released, however there have been bootlegs circulating for years. In 2001, Kiss released a box set which included 3 songs from the Wicked Lester sessions.

Here is an early picture of the members of Wicked Lester:



Wicked Lester only performed two live shows during their time together. In 1972, Gene and Paul decided that the reason Wicked Lester wasn't going anywhere was due to a lack of musical vision. By the fall of 1972, Peter Criss had joined the band after placing an ad in Rolling Stone. It didn't take long before two other members of Wicked Lester left the band leaving only Simmons, Stanley and Criss. The band practiced as a trio for a few weeks and it was during this time that the group first started dabbling with the idea of stage costumes and wearing make-up.




A few weeks later, the band was contacted by Ace Frehley after a friend of his saw an ad in a local paper, The Village Voice. As the story goes, Ace showed up for his audition wearing two different colored shoes ... one red, one orange. The audition was along with a number of other guitarists. Paul, Gene and Peter weren't too impressed with Frehley's stage presence, but they were impressed with his guitar playing and saw that he could be a fit in what they were trying to do with their music. Within a couple of weeks, Ace Frehley was officially the newest member of Wicked Lester.

By January 1973 the band decided to change the name. Rumor has it that Paul, Gene and Peter were together talking about it. Peter said he liked the name Lips. Paul reportedly suggested "What about Kiss?" and there it was, the band was now officially KISS. Ace designed the famous, official Kiss logo.

Also in January 1973 was the time when the band decided on their official stage personas; Paul being The Starchild, Gene being The Demon, Peter being The Cat (or Catman) and Ace being The Spaceman (or Space Ace). Kiss was now set to start a career that had quite a rocky start but would continue for 37+ years.




*** continued in the next post. My apologies for the slowness of getting the BotM thread started, but between the long holiday weekend, work (which has been horrid) and computer viruses.... it's not been much of a holiday. Anyway, more coming, starting with their first official Gig.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010



GREAT EPIC START BROTHER!!!!

Congrats to KISS for being band of the month...I'll contribute a couple cool Wicked Lester tunes!!

Pretty Psychedelic...







Gene Simmons in his trippy days...



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Old 07-06-2010, 05:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

MP: Thanks

That Wicked Lester stuff is pretty different, most of it sounds nothing like what turned into KISS. For me, I find it easy to see the Beatles influence on a couple of those WL tunes. I've only heard 6 or 7 of them, but never the full album. (Damn Epic Records!!!!)

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Old 07-06-2010, 05:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

Kiss played their couple of gigs at the end of January 1973 at the Popcorn Club in Queens, NY in front of just a few people. They didn't wear all of the makeup and costumes that they became famous for until a couple of months later.

In March '73, they band recorded a demo with producer Eddie Kramer, someone who had previous produced or engineered albums for Carly Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, Traffic, John Mayal, Humble Pie, Peter Frampton and NRBQ. Fast forward through their career and you'll find that Eddie actually produced a half dozen Kiss albums (including Ace's "solo" album in 1978) as well as some of Ace's post-Kiss work.

While playing shows in the fall of 1973, the band met Bill Aucoin who had seen them perform a number of times earlier that year. He offered to become their manager. Kiss reluctantly agreed but on the condition that he could get them a recording contract within weeks. As of November 1st, Kiss became the first act signed to Emerald City Records (soon to be renamed Casablanca), which was owned by Neil Bogart, formerly of Buddah Records. Unrelated, but Neil did have a nose for talent and good songs as can be seen by some of the artists/singles that came out of Buddah in the late 60's and early 70's. (source)


Kiss performed their first official concert on New Year's Eve, 1973 opening up for Blue Oyster Cult. During the show, Gene accidentally set his hair on fire for the first time (something that has happened numerous times over the years). This was reportedly his first live fire-breathing performance.

Here's a shot of him doing just that, at a concert in 1976:





And a couple more early band shots:



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Old 07-06-2010, 05:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

Awesome Start Lynch!!!!!! I really love the beginnings of Kiss. Great tunes MP, I still hope they release the Wicked Lester album officially. I know there are at least a couple of different versions floating around out there (one with Stephen Coronel on guitar & one with Ron Leejack on guitar) but I would love to see Simmons & Stanley package it up nice & release it officially.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

-As Rainbow the band did play one gig in Staten Island which was supposedly recorded (which I would love to hear!!). They played 2 sets that night & some of the tunes which were played that night were 'Little Lady' (which ended up becoming 'Going Blind'),'Suitor', 'Eskimo Sun', 'Keep Me Waiting', 'Love Her All I Can', 'Locomotive Breath' & 'Tuesday Afternoon'. Paul supposedly spoke with a British Accent that evening.

-Rumor has it that during one of the Wicked Lester recording sessions Simmons stepped out for a hot dog & came back with a hooker to service the band

-Paul & Gene didn't hit it off too well upon their first meeting with mutual friend Steven Coronel but down the road Simmons was renting equipment out & Paul's band Uncle Joe rented equipment from Gene one night & Gene stuck around for the gig & was pretty Blown away by Paul's performance, particularly on Free's 'Alright Now'

-After guitarist Ron Leejack left Wicked Lester John Segal (JJ French of Twisted Sister) rehearsed at least a half dozen times with them & then was told it wasn't working out

-Peter Criss recorded one album with Chelsea & when that band dissolved they reformed as Lips & walked into Buddah Records with bongos & acoustic Guitars & played but were thrown out. Peter claimed it was by the label's president Neil Bogart but from what I've read it was the Vice President who threw them out. It was Bogart's decision to pass on them though.

-NY Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan was Peter's best man at his wedding to Lydia in 1970
-To earn studio time Simmons & Stanley sang backing vocals which are very noticeable on Lyn Christopher's s/t album from 1973. They are credited on the album & was the first time they used their names Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons.

-Ace got his nickname while in a band called King Kong because he would hook the members up with chicks

-At one of those gigs before he was in Kiss Ace was drunk out of his mind & a club owner refused to pay him so Ace took him on & wound up in the hospital for 2 months with a fractured Cheekbone. He was in long because the surgery to repair it was botched
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

They have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.
If they earn a dollar for every album........

Just goes to show you how KISS ignorant I am, I had never heard of Wicked Lester. Definitely different than the KISS I know.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

Great start, Lynch!

Let the KISS Army unite!!



Great job by everyone so far...

I love the early days of Kiss - they were a blast.

Here's Wicked Lester version of ''She'' with flute and a flute solo...



Originally Posted by rtbuck View Post
-As Rainbow the band did play one gig in Staten Island which was supposedly recorded (which I would love to hear!!). They played 2 sets that night & some of the tunes which were played that night were 'Little Lady' (which ended up becoming 'Going Blind'),'Suitor', 'Eskimo Sun', 'Keep Me Waiting', 'Love Her All I Can', 'Locomotive Breath' & 'Tuesday Afternoon'. Paul supposedly spoke with a British Accent that evening.
Locomotive Breath....flute...I'm guessing Kiss were Tull fans back in the early 70's.

Would love to hear Paul Stanley sing 'Tuesday Afternoon'!
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010

Hey it looks like someone finally found their "Muse"...oops I mean "Mullet" of course.

Not bad so far Lynch, the OP looks top drawer.

I'm not sure I'll ever be part of the Kiss Army per se, but I'll drive the truck for the rest of the troops...
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: KISS ~ Band of the Month ~ July 2010


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Sorry for the lack of info... this weekend, will get a number of albums, concert stuff, etc put up. (July has just been a turd for me so far *sniffle* )
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