Monday, December 31, 2012

LRI Book Review- Peter Criss - Makeup To Breakup

Peter Criss is the latest member of KISS, my favorite band from way back, to write a book. Gene was first (of course, you thought he’d let anyone cash in before him???) and Ace followed recently with his oddly titled (for a recovering alcoholic) book “No Regrets”. So, having said that, comparisons to those books are inevitable. Ace’s book was lacking in details, missing some timeline years and seemed to be pulling a lot of punches, almost as if he’s still on the payroll for KISS, LTD. Gene’s book was pretty good, better than KISSTORY but not nearly as good as one of Ken Sharp or Dale Sherman’s books. He really didn’t lay it on the line about himself or Paul Stanley but his girlfriend (now wife) Shannon Tweed’s book was okay so if you read them both it’s a nice one-two punch from that end of the spectrum. Which brings us to Peter.

For a guy who has always been derided as the least essential KISS-er, the odd man out, the least popular solo album, Peter Criss has finally delivered. Family Guy’s Peter Griffin once famously said “Nobody wants to be Peter Criss…..not even Peter Criss”. Ironically, once or twice in “Makeup To Breakup” Peter actually says there were times he wished he could stop being Peter Criss and go back to being Peter Crisscoula, the kid from Brooklyn. “Makeup To Breakup” begins with that kid’s story and I must admit I was very surprised at how interesting the pre-fame portion of the book is. Criss was wise to pair with co-author Larry “Ratso” Sloman who famously worked with Howard Stern to deliver his page-turning best sellers. The resulting flow of Peter’s story is compelling, easy to read and always, always feels like it’s in his own voice which is my number one criticism of most rock bios. It also doesn’t hurt that Peter comes across as the most emotional and “real” member of KISS to write a book compared to Ace and Gene. He wears his Italian heart on his sleeve and his story is filled with the kind of emotional highs and lows that rivet fans and non-fans alike.

Peter Criss was rumored to be working on a book years ago entitled “A KISS Without A Face” and it’s hard to tell how much of that book made it into this book but we are probably all much better for having to wait. The initial struggles of making it in music and falling outs with KISS bandmates and wives are all here but equally interesting are the stories of slugging it out in shitty bars post-KISS as well as the extreme peaks and valleys following the massively successful KISS Reunion Tour in 1996. We hold out hope that Bruce Kulick, Vinnie Vincent or Paul Stanley will throw their hats in the literary ring as I am sure that each one of them has a totally interesting and totally different viewpoint but for now “Makeup To Breakup” is the best KISS book to come from a band member and much of that is due to the emotional undercurrent omnipresent in Peter’s story. You feel his excitement, you feel his pain and it’s so easy to read it’s almost cinematic. Combined with ex-wife Lydia Criss’s excellent book “Sealed With A KISS” (which features another side to many of these stories and far more photographs) there probably is enough for a screenwriter to work with. Lydia talked to us for an upcoming interview and disputed a great deal of Peter’s claims (saying he is prone to exaggeration) but the fact of the matter is, this book is never boring and is one helluva read.

I really don’t want to spoil any of the more jaw-dropping elements of “Makeup To Breakup”, you can google countless other reviews if that’s what you’re looking for, but no one is left unscathed in Peter’s book, particularly not Gene or Paul which was to be expected. Peter really doesn’t seem to mind ruffling feathers and that surprisingly even includes even a few less than flattering mentions of his bandmate Ace. If you’re looking for wild, drug and alcohol fueled exploits (some involving Criss’s party buddy John Belushi) you will find them. If you’re looking for unbridled, at times blushingly candid, sexual scenarios with women of all ages you’ll find them. You want fly on the wall accounts of the Destroyer recording sessions including producer Bob Ezrin’s motivational tactics? You got em. The inner workings of the KISS company and the personalities of those involved have rarely been spoken about with such candor by someone so closely involved. Lots of those people involved may not like all of this and this book may be sweeping away ashes of bridges burned years ago but it’s better to be brutally blunt than brutally boring. As a KISS fan or fan of rock music in general you would be hard pressed to find a more fun book to read. I’d easily give “Makeup To Breakup” five stars if it had more photos. As it stands, it’s easily a four star effort. Well done, Catman.

* * * *

See original story HERE.

Today in KISStory - December 31

Today in KISStory - Dec. 31, 1973: As Gene breathes fire, he sets his hair on fire for the first time.

Today in KISStory - Dec. 31, 1974: Dick Clarks New Years Eve marks the first TV appearance by KISS.

Today in KISStory - Dec. 31, 1993: KISS performs on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Today in KISStory - Dec. 31, 1996: KISS performs at The Continental Airlines Arena On New Year's Eve. Segments are shown on on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Today in KISStory - Dec. 31, 1999: KISS plays Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and records/films material for what should have been 'ALIVE IV' but was later titled "Alive: The Millennium Concert".

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gene Simmons Takes On New Job: Race Track Promoter | Pic: YouTube

Gene Simmons achieved international fame as the front man for KISS, but in recent years, he’s made most of his dough through business and marketing efforts.

Considered the world’s best self-promoter, perhaps next to Donald Trump, Simmons and KISS have earned millions from themed golf courses, stuffed dolls, bobble heads, a casino, and much more.

At Wednesday evening’s Opening Day at California’s famous Santa Anita Park, Simmons promised to help out good friend and racetrack owner, Frank Stronach, by assisting with marketing and making Santa Anita “the coolest place on Earth”.

In a filmed announcement, Simmons says, "The past is magical and the present is all going to change. We’re going to get Brad and Angelina out here. They’re all going to come here because it is going to be the coolest place on Earth."

Simmons and Stronach have been friends and business partners for years. Simmons’ marketing company, Simmons Abramson Marketing, marketed an energy drink called ‘Franks Energy Drink’, inspired by Stronach. Additionally, Frank’s daughter, Belinda, helped Simmons revive his record label in 2008.

KISS Almost Caught Unmasked In 1979

 Photographer: Jerry Bennett |

Here's a photo of Gene, Paul & Ace With AMI Promotions Director Ric Aliberte & bodyguards Big John Harte & Eddie Balandas at WRBQ Radio in Tampa, Florida, on June 13 1979.

Gene Simmons On Stage In Bristow, VA

Ash Newell Photography |

Here's Gene Simmons live on stage kicking off "The Tour" at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion) in Bristow, VA on July 20, 2012.

See full photo HERE.

Photo Credit:  Ash Newell Photography |

Saturday, December 29, 2012

KISS 'Monster' Makes Billboards "Best Of 2012 Rock Albums"

KISS' "Monster" album has come in at the #64 position on Billboard's "Best Of 2012 Rock Albums" chart.

The "Best Of 2012 Rock Albums" chart ranks year-end top-selling albums across all rock genres, ranked by sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gene Simmons Interviewed On KTLA

Gene Simmons chats about the new KISS album and his love of Santa Anita Park.

KISS On Stage In São Paulo, Brazil

 Photo Credit: Divulgação |

Here's a great photo of Gene, Tommy, and Paul live on stage at Arena Anhembi in São Paulo, Brazil on November 17, 2012.

See the full size photo HERE.

Photo: Gene Simmons Attends Opening Day At Santa Anita

 Photo Credit: Ray Paulick (Twitter)

Here's a photo of KISS' Gene Simmons and Santa Anita Park President George Haines on Opening Day.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Peter Criss 'Makeup To Breakup: My Life In And Out Of KISS'

 Bob Wilson |

The main reason most of us pick up a rock star’s autobiography is to live vicariously through the anecdotes of the famous. Many times the star in question feels the need to rise above “the dish”, and serve us a plate of attempted deep insights, or possibly to highlight how “intelligent and gifted” they are. Peter Criss on the other hand, makes no attempt to have us believe he spent many of his Kiss days ruminating on whether the unexamined life is worth living, in his most recent effort “Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of KISS”. Rather the former Peter Criscuola leaves us wondering whether or not he really was a cat with nine lives, because it seems he used about seven of them up before half of the pages are turned.

Kiss never projected much pretense about what they were attempting to do on stage, which is to present a heavy metal circus, and simply to entertain. Criss recounts how Kiss started out paying their dues in seedy venues, and rose at their pinnacle to New York’s Madison Square Garden. It is refreshing to not hear him complain about the perks that went along with his rise to music stardom. His idol Gene Krupa never had it so good.

Criss does tend to whine at times that he was misunderstood, especially by his second wife, and Gene Simmons. You have to scratch your head when Criss tells us that his second wife was a shrew for leaving him. Mainly that is because Criss had taken a Magnum, and blew a hole in the ceiling of the first floor of their posh Connecticut home with wife, infant daughter, and a Kiss toadie on hand. Said toadie ran screaming from the manse two miles to alert the Connecticut police, who sent a SWAT team to the cat’s lair.

Fortunately, this ended peacefully, with the local police imposing the sentence of a night at the local Marriott Hotel until he calmed down the next day. Criss recounts the tale (no pun intended) with great rancor for the police, seemingly deriding them for not locking him away. Yet, he is still confounded how his wife would find him unstable enough to leave him. The former Coppertone sun screen model is depicted as just short of Judas Iscariot, although Criss also had admittedly roughed her up, and neither seems an innocent.

The Kiss road antics do not disappoint the voyeur in the reader, coming close to what we would expect from the Emperor Caligula if he could sing, and shoot rockets from his guitar. The Cat-Man takes some verbal revenge for Simmons bashing him in the press, telling us in a highlight that Gene Simmons managed the later career of “Lilly Munster” actress Yvonne DeCarlo. The hy-gene challenged Simmons is said to have “bagged” Lilly when she was 63 years old. While intended as a barb, when Simmons read this account, you can’t help but think it left him with a satisfied smile.

Wild nights after shows of Ace, Paul, Gene and a road crew that seemed so twisted it would take pliers to warp them more, will fulfill the Kiss Army’s expectations. Stage highlights include Criss hitting Simmons with a tossed drumstick, and Simmons kicking him with his large serpentine boot in reply. The image is, as the commercial says, “Pricless”. Peter responded by going after Simmons backstage with a broken champagne bottle, while both were in full regalia.

Criss left Kiss the first time in a drunken and drugged haze, while retaining 25% of the Kiss corporation. Later, on the reunion tours, Criss felt underpaid to the point of being robbed by Paul and Gene, and said he hated them so much, he fantasized about shooting them . He does not seem to grasp that he still did collect quite a check, and he could have sunk the brand when he squandered his first go round with the group quite carelessly. Perhaps the frontmen held some resentment about that, and felt he had already been compensated. That aside, the squabbles are entertaining to hear recounted.

A car wreck straight form the song “Detroit Rock City” could have left Criss dead, as could have a youth of gang violence in Brooklyn. Place the second obligatory comment about him having nine lives here. He also tells us how he struggled to keep his Catholic faith through the tours and Roman orgies, and it plays as a sincere inner conflict. It is refreshing that a rock star admits he enjoyed the fame, and is grateful to his fans for helping to make it possible for him to fulfill his dreams.

Maybe some would say that they didn’t need to know that Peter rubbed himself to have a bigger bulge when he came out from behind the drums to sing “Beth”. Or that Paul Stanley stuffed his crotch during a tour with Aerosmith, and the band flayed him for apparently changing sizes. If you are a person who did need to know that, crack the cover open. The band will meet you in the “Ladies Room”, ready to rock and roll all night, and party everyday

KISS Monster 2013 Tour Dates

Feb 28 – Perth, Australia
March 3 – Adelaide, Australia
March 5 – Melbourne, Australia
March 6 - Melbourne, Australia
March 9 – Sydney, Australia
March 10 – Sydney, Australia
March 12 – Brisbane, Australia
March 16 – Mackay, Australia
June 1 - Stockholm, Sweden
June 3 - Helsinki, Finland
June 6 - Solvesborg, Sweden
June 8 - Stavanger, Norway
June 11 - Copenhagen, Denmark
June 12 - Berlin, Germany
June 14 - Prague, Czech Republic
June 15 - Vienna, Austria
June 17 - Udine, Italy
June 18 - Milan, Italy
June 20 - Zurich, Switzerland
June 22 - Clisson, France

Visit the KISS Tour page for venue information with links to tickets and Meet & Greet packages -

New KISS SHM-CD's To Be Released In Japan In 2013

Seven KISS albums will be released as KISS SHM-CD's in Japan on March 20, 2013. Titles include "Unmasked", "The Elder", "Creatures Of The Night", "Lick It Up", "Revenge", "Carnival Of Souls" and "Psycho Circus".

The high quality format SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) has greater audio quality through the use of a special polycarbonate plastic.

Using a process developed by JVC and Universal Music Japan discovered through the union of the two companies in research for LCD manufacturing, SHM-CD make is an improvement of transparency in the sensitive side of the disc, allowing a reading more accurate data on the CD player laser head. The SHM-CD format is fully compatible with standard CD players. "

Order HERE.

KISS Frontman's Advice To Wollongong Teen

Few people can say they've received life coaching from Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, but then again, few people are as passionate about the lead singer as Wollongong teen Jack Shaw.

"When I met Paul Stanley for the first time, in 2007, I asked him 'how did you get to this - the fame and everything else?'," Jack told the Mercury.

"He replied: 'You've got to start small to get big'."

Which is exactly what the 14-year-old has done.

Earning money doing chores around the house and holding down an after-school job, Jack has accumulated a personal collection of Kiss memorabilia conservatively valued at $30,000.

A self-confessed fanatic, Jack's sizeable trove includes everything from personally signed guitars and gold records to intricate figurines. And why, you ask?

"Because they're the greatest band that's ever been - they're much more than just the music," Jack beamed.

"They have all the different aspects you can explore, such as the great stage show, the great music, the make-up and the whole mystique, as well as the memorabilia.

"I've been following them ever since I can remember. The first concert I went to I was about six.

"If you have a passion, I guess you follow it. People might know a lot about rugby league, or Matt Cooper - I know about my heroes, which is Paul Stanley and Kiss."

It's no surprise that the teen will be at both Sydney shows when Kiss tour Australia in March.

Jack has dipped into his savings again for a chance to meet the entire group, forking out $1500 (with a little help from mum) for an access-all-areas pass to the shows.

He will also add to his personal tally of 50 or so signed items while he's there.

"I get to meet all four for the first time in March, which will be amazing," Jack said.

"You get a 40-minute private sound check with the band, then you get around a 30-minute autograph session and seat with the first section during the performance - right up close to the stage.

"I'm also hoping to go to the two Melbourne shows as well."

KISS Fan Tattoo

Photo: Richard Gomez

Thanks to Richard Gomez for sending KISSopolis this photo of his cool new Gene Simmons/KISS logo tattoo.

Free KISS Band Memorabilia Ad On Craigslist


Hey KISS Army! Check out this Craigslist ad from Pasadena:

You wanted the best and you got the best: my KISS collection. I'm saying goodbye to my KISS memorabilia. I always planned on becoming a serious collector, but I never got around to it, and it's time to say Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll to my modest collection. And it's important to me that it find a good home. Do you, or someone you know, love KISS? I mean, do you really really really, REALLY love KISS? Then this collection can be yours --- for FREE.

I was talking to somebody backstage before, and they were tellin' me it would be great for yourself, or as a last-last-last minute KISSmas present to the KISS fan in your life.

There are no bills, there are no fees. There is one requirement, though. You must tell me in 250 words or less why you - or your friend, or husband, or brother, or wife, or Shandi, or whoever - deserves this collection more than anyone else. What does KISS mean to you? Why will yours be the best home for my collection? What part have these Creatures of the Night played in your life? The essay that moves, touches, or makes me think, or cry, or laugh the most, will win.

HOWEVER, if none of the essays accomplishes the above, there will be no winner. Put some imagination and heart into it, people!

So, get up and get your grandma out of here! You've got work to do.

Now, you're probably wondering what you'll get for your 250 words? The collection includes the following...

All 4 unopened McFarlane Toys KISS Action Figures from 1997, each with mini gold replica solo album.
2 Legends of The Fridge refrigerator magnets of the band - opened, but still in packaging.
1 official KISS Bean Bag dolls - all four dolls in Psycho Circus packaging, number 0727 of 25000.
1 Ralph Marlin unused KISS tie from 1997.

1 Chu-Bops mini-album cover from 1980 for KISS Unmasked. Chu-Bops were a piece of album-shaped bubble gum inside a mini album cover. This has been opened, and there is no gum. It's a really cool collector's item.

1 Rock And Roll Over album cover stand-up display.

13 issues of the official KISS Psycho Circus comic book (issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
1 copy of 1992 Rock Fantasy comic book called KISS II.

4 issues Goldmine record collector's magazine (1990, 1996, 1998, 2000) featuring really great interviews and merchandise info - these are great reads!
16 issues of KISSaholics, an underground 'zine from the early 90s with KISS info, articles, interviews, etc.

1 official mini-program from the KROQ Weenie Roast, June 15th 1996 - KISS' first official reunion show.
1 official 3D glasses from the Dodger Stadium show on Halloween Night, 1998.

1 unopened box of official KISS Condoms 3-pack from 2002.

1 copy KISS Hotter Than Hell: The Stories Behind Every Song book by Paul Elliott.
1 copy KISS Strike Photo Special 1980-1983 - thin book of black and white photos of the band from the early 80s.
1 copy KISS Live! (with German S's on the logo) thin book detailing the history of the band.
1 copy KISS Modern Icons book from 1997.

1 unopened official 1998 KISS Calendar.
1 unopened official KISS makeup kit from 1997.

1 unopened box of the COMPLETE collection of KISS Collector Cards Series One from 1997.
1 sealed KISS Limited Edition Preview Set of cards, #12942 of 15000.
2 Johnny Lightning Racing Dreams KISS collector's cards (#17 and #35).

2 KISS Licensing & Merchandising Booklets (late 90s) aimed at convincing retailers to stock KISS merchandise.
1 Official KISS Merchandise catalog from the Psycho Circus era.

1 unopened KISS Kollectable PrePaid Phone Card featuring Ace Frehley from 1996.
1 KISS My Access interactive phone card from 1996.

1 still-sealed copy of the March 1999 issue of Playboy with Gene Simmons on the cover.
2 copies official Premiere Issue of KISS Psycho Circus magazine (not the comic book).
1 copy August 1996 SPIN magazine with Ace Frehley on the cover.
1 copy August 1996 Musician magazine with Gene Simmons on the cover.
1 copy Metal Edge KISS Psycho Circus tour magazine.
1 copy official Metal Edge KISS ALIVE Worldwide Tour 1996/1997 magazine.
1 copy December 1998 Metal Edge magazine with KISS on the cover.
1 copy KISS Rocks The World 1996-1997 Reunion Tour Magazine.
1 copy First Issue Marvel Comics KISS Nation magazine/comic book.
1 copy Guitar World KISS magazine featuring articles and transcribed songs.
1 copy October 1998 Raygun magazine with KISS on the cover.
1 Go Figure magazine (mag about action figures) with Gene Simmons on the cover.

1 copy VHS KISS Detroit Cobo Hall 1976 concert.
1 copy VHS KISS Konfidential from 1993.
1 copy VHS KISS X-Treme Close-Up from 1992.
1 copy VHS KISS The Second Coming, 2 tape set with booklet.

Whoo! Aw-right! That's everything.

If you submit your entry soon enough, it may be possible to get you the merch in time for a last-minute KISSmas gift. You know your man is workin' hard, he's worth a 250-word essay (it can also be fewer than 250 words).

Can you believe this offer? Am I great or what? Almost as great as Gene Simmons thinks he is.

Why are you still reading this? Get to work! And good luck, KISSfan!

See ad HERE:

Santa Anita Park's Opening Day Gets 'KISSed' With Sun, Gene Simmons

  Brenda Gazzar |

ARCADIA - Opening day for Santa Anita Park's 76th winter/spring meet delighted fans with mostly sunny skies and for some, a few moments with KISS frontman Gene Simmons.

In an impromptu photo session, Simmons - clad in a black pin-striped blazer, red handkerchief and his signature black leather pants - posed for photos while chatting casually with media and fans in the Paddock Garden.

"You can feel the excitement," Simmons, a savvy businessman who is now helping Santa Anita's parent company, The Stronach Group, with marketing and entertainment at its racetracks, said Wednesday shortly after the first race had posted. "First of all, Arcadia is just beautiful. The drive up here is just gorgeous. Even God likes it - look at the day. He placed the setting, the mountains, the location ... The people (working at the track) are nice too."

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Steve Coronel (Ex Wicked Lester Guitarist And KISS Songwriter) Talks Growing Up With The Demon And Pre-KISStory

Steve Coronel is best known as the original guitar player in Wicked Lester, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s pre-KISS recording act. That’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg though and while people would possibly still be lining up to interview Steve were that the only criteria he has lots of other interesting conversation points. He knew the KISS guys way before the fame and makeup and in fact, recommended a young Stanley Eisen come over to his apartment to audition for a band vacancy his best bud from junior high ( Gene Simmons) had. He’s a pretty damn good guitar player to this day (as I heard during the course of the interview) and songwriter having written the songs “She” and “Goin Blind” which are now rightfully considered KISS Klassics among a lot of material for his post KISS band, LOVER. Steve is an interesting guy with an interesting and down to earth viewpoint on one of the most idolized and sensationalized bands in rock and roll history. I make no bones about my love for KISS and constant quest for more KISS information so with that, I dialed up Steve who was fun, engaging and totally up for my questions. Read on…

Legendary Rock Interviews: Hey Steve how’s it going?

Steve Coronel: Real good John, I was just rehearsing guitar…(plays a bit of blues scale with a nice tone). I’m still jamming.

LRI: I am still diggin some of your old songs. I caught your episode on Decibel Geek Podcast and really enjoyed it and I know you are doing a couple other interviews. Is it sort of surreal to be doing interviews again after all this time?

Steve: You know it’s a choice. I was recently interviewed for Sweden Rock magazine which was nice. I could have done these interviews a long time ago but I really don’t do these things for the ego boost. I have known people from that era in the 70s who were all about those little things they did back in those days and all about themselves. I realize I am a very small part of a very large organization. I’ve never wanted to embarrass myself by affiliating myself with things that I really don’t belong in. Recently, as tings have mellowed out a little bit more and there’s been so many years passed I have taken a little bit softer view on that time. That’s really my answer.

Read more HERE.

Three Sides Of The Coin Podcast #3 - The Voices Of KISS

Three Sides Of The Coin Podcast

In episode #3 we discuss the voices of KISS, the lead vocalists. Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry KISSmas

Merry KISSmas To All Of The KISS Army!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Get Your KISS Credit Card Now

KISS Army:

KISS and UMB CardPartner have joined forces to launch a KISS Army Visa® Platinum Rewards credit card. KISS fans can now carry the Hottest Band in the World around in your wallet and add fire to every purchase.

The KISS Army Visa® Platinum Rewards card offers qualified cardholders exceptional benefits including no annual fee, a low APR and reward points for shopping at participating merchants*.


Reminder: Vote For KISS At The 2012 Ultimate Classic Rock Awards

KISS have been nominated in seven different categories at the 2012 Ultimate Classic Rock Awards. You can vote up to once per hour until the poll closes on Jan. 15, 2013 at 11:59PM ET.

Vote HERE for KISS:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jay Leno's Last Minute Holiday Help With Gene Simmons

Jay Leno and his team asked Gene to come on and do an early morning appearance for The Tonight Show, as he surprised a family in the San Fernando Valley.

Gene Simmons Sings 'Jingle Bells' With Jay Leno On 'The Tonight Show'

Here's video of Gene Simmons and Jay Leno singing 'Jingle Bells' for one lucky family on 'The Tonight Show's' Christmas Jay Walking Special on Friday, December 21, 2012.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peter Criss On 'Rockline'

Original KISS drummer Peter Criss was special guest on the syndicated radio show 'Rockline' to talk about his new book.

'Rockline' is a nationally syndicated radio interview program hosted by Bob Coburn that broadcasts live via satellite every Monday and Wednesday night. Founded in 1981, it is considered to be the longest running, uninterrupted program in rock history.

Click here to listen:

Gift Of The Day: Gene Simmons KISS Demon Nutcracker

Bronwyn Barnes |

Not sure what to get the pop culture geek in your life this holiday season? PopStyle is here to help! From the hottest gadgets to the oddest collectibles, we’re rounding up the best gifts in movies, music, TV and books with our Gift of the Day.

Gene Simmons has gone from splitting blood to cracking walnuts?

Holiday decorations company Kurt Adler’s line of licensed nutcracker collectibles includes franchises from Star Trek to South Park. Since the members of Kiss have never met a licensing opportunity they didn’t cash in on, I present the Gene Simmons “Demon” nutcracker ($34.95 at

Friday, December 21, 2012

KISS's Lead Guitarists Through The Years

Hard to believe four decades have passed since Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons first joined up with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to form KISS. Through the years, with rare exceptions, the band has held firm to its explosive mix of riff-driven rock, arena ready anthems and the occasional soaring ballad. Along the way, several lead guitarists have stepped in to put their distinctive stamps on the KISS sound. Below, we offer profiles of each of those gifted players, and trace their tenures with the band.

Read more HERE.

KISS Solo Comic Variant Cover


Here's a sneak peek of artist Tone Rodriguez's special KISS Solo Comic cover for retailer, Jetpack Comics. This is the pencil-stage, inks to follow soon.

Hotter Than Hell Satin Pass

[HOTTER THAN HELL SATIN PASS] Thanks to Louis Antonelli for sharing this original satin pass from KISS' December 21st, 1974 show at the great old Michigan Palace in Detroit!

Today In KISStory: Dec. 21, 2001: "KISS Saves Santa"

Today In KISStory: Dec. 21, 2001: The original KISS line-up of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss appeared on the 16th episode of the third season of the animated comedy series "Family Guy" titled "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas". In this episode, KISS voiced their own characters and played themselves in Peter Griffin's favorite (fictional) Christmas TV special "KISS Saves Santa".

Thursday, December 20, 2012

KISS Kruise III Site Launches

The official website for the KISS KRUISE III is now online! If you are a KISS Kruise alumni, you received an email today containing your presale booking day and time. Take note of that, and when your date comes up, you can book online next month at!

New this year for the KISS KRUISE III:

- A Family Mini-Suite option to give families more room to stretch out for an affordable rate
- Improving the Stardust seating and allowing guests to select their own seat when booking
- KISS will be hosting a Meet & Greet JUST FOR KIDS (2-14, no parents allowed)! Each child will get ONE item autographed along with a large group photo with the band.

For more details, visit the KISS KRUISE III website at! And, if you didn't sail with us on a previous Kruise, you can still sign up for the general presale on the site.

See the site HERE:

KISS Helps Young Man Expand Horizons

Band’s music, garb has been key in coping with autism

Marco Rivas Sotelo was 9 years old when he first saw a music video featuring the band KISS. Years later, as a young adult coping with autism and learning disabilities, the music he liked as a youngster propelled him to step out of his comfort zone to try to establish a local fan club as a tribute to the band with a float in this year’s Casa Grande Electric Light Parade.

“I like their music,” he said.

Rivas Sotelo’s KISS-inspired float in the 2012 Electric Light Parade earned a third-place award in the “most original” category behind Fiesta Grande RV Resort and Arizona Public Service Co’s entries.

“We’re really happy with third place,” Rivas Sotelo said.

But for Rivas Sotelo, the real reward came not from the third-place honors, but from knowing that he accomplished a long-standing goal to pay tribute to the band with a float in the parade and made a few new friends along the way.

“We learned there are a lot of KISS fans — especially kids and hopefully, Marco can build on that,” said Yvonne Johnson, a vocational rehabilitation volunteer who works with Rivas Sotelo.

After seeing KISS in concert a few years ago, Rivas Sotelo longed to put together a tribute float for the Electric Light Parade. Last year he tried to organize a float but between his communication issues, lack of transportation — Rivas Sotelo does not drive — and too few resources, he was unable to organize the entry.

“This year he started earlier. He had purchased the costumes after Halloween last year and started planning,” Johnson said. “I helped him with transportation, but he did everything else himself with his friend.”

Rivas Sotelo, who was diagnosed with autism at age 4, said he tries not to let his disabilities interfere with his life. The 22-year-old graduated from Casa Grande Union High School in 2008 and works as a sign holder for a jewelry store. He also volunteers at the Casa Grande Main Library.

In planning his parade entry this year, Rivas Sotelo turned to Facebook, posting an announcement about his hope to build a KISS-themed float for the parade and asking for assistance. He also hung up posters in various locations throughout town.

People responded.

A friend offered use of his trailer and through Facebook, Rivas Sotelo coordinated with other fans, one who had a KISS-themed car and another who had a KISS-themed truck. Both joined with Rivas Sotelo for the parade.

Johnson and another friend helped with the logistics of the float and by providing transportation for Rivas Sotelo and his friend.

“Marco and his friend really did everything,” Johnson said. “It was their idea and they made it happen.”

Another friend volunteered to drive the truck that pulled the float in the parade.

By the day of the parade, several people had been involved and Rivas Sotelo, along with three of his friends, dressed as the four members of the band KISS and took to their lighted stage on the float.

“I felt like a different person when I had the costume on,” said Rivas Sotelo, who dressed as Spaceman Ace Frehley for the parade. “It was great.”

Along the parade route, Rivas Sotelo said people cheered for their float.

“By the end of the parade, there were close to 20 extra people on or following the float,” Johnson said.

Since the parade, Rivas Sotelo hopes to unite area fans into a formal fan club. Knowing there is a large KISS fan base in Casa Grande, Rivas Sotelo said next year’s float will be better. And next year, he hopes to enter his tribute float in parades in other communities as well as Casa Grande.

“Anybody can make a dream happen if you don’t give up,” he said

Happy Birthday, Peter Criss

Happy Birthday to original KISS drummer Peter Criss!

We hope you have a great day, Peter!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

KISS Army Baby

Here are two photos of Christian who was born Sept 29, 2012. His Mom said he 'loved kicking away to Rock n Roll All Night while in utero'.

Thanks to Melinda E. Bird for sending KISSopolis this photo.

Three Sides Of The Coin Podcast: Did Vinnie Vincent Save KISS?

In episode #2 we discuss Vinnie Vincent. Did Vinnie Vincent save KISS with his songwriting skills?

KISS Army Baby

Here's a photo of 9 week old Dutch baby Thijs in a KISS shirt. Thijs has a twin brother named Pim who is also a KISS fan.
Thanks to Harma Vondeling for sending KISSopolis this photo.

Today In KISStory - Dec. 19, 1987: KISS Sing ‘White Christmas’ Live

KISS perform the holiday Christmas classic 'White Christmas’ acapella on Dec. 19, 1987 at New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut.

KISS "Monster" Logo Changed


The "Monster" logo on the album cover has been changed with the second printing. Here you can see the original logo on the left and the logo for the second printing on the right. Even at Amazon you will only see the new logo now.

KISS Monster iBook Available Now


“KISS’ 20th studio album ‘Monster’ is scary good” – Associated Press, 2012

On December 18, KISS will release their first ever iBook for their critically acclaimed, recent studio album release, MONSTER. The content of the iBook is comprised of a special edition digital book which includes an exclusive bonus video, “Shout It Out Loud (Live in Anaheim 1976),” interviews with all four members as well as a multitude of additional unpublished pictures and a preview for the blistering new music for DESTROYER: RESURRECTED and MONSTER.

Rock legends KISS returned with Monster, the 20th studio album in their historic career released October 9, 2012, through Universal Music Enterprises. The 12-track, straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll album features collaborations among all four members—including co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and longtime members guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer—in an album that shows the band at the top of its game. And that’s saying something, considering their illustrious, 40-plus year history—28 U.S. gold albums, the most gold records for any American rock band, 40 million sales in the U.S., and a total exceeding 100 million worldwide.

iBook content includes:

• Interviews with all four band members as well as album co-producer Greg Collins
• Exclusive bonus video of “Shout It Out Loud (Live in Anaheim 1976)” from the KISS vault
• A plethora of photos exclusive to this iBook including backstage shots, live performances and snapshots from the recording studio
• Lyrics plus band commentary on all MONSTER tracks
• Article on the band’s support of our troops
• Features on the band’s merchandising, the Monster Mini Golf experience, the KISS Kruise and the 2012 newly remixed reissue of DESTROYER: RESURRECTED, plus KISS’s newest box-set collection, The Casablanca Singles: 1974-1982
• Loads of KISS facts throughout including an interactive map of the U.S. with historically important locations
• Audio samples of the 12 MONSTER tracks and the iTunes exclusive bonus track “Right Here Right Now” as well as DESTROYER: RESURRECTED

This book is available for download on your iPad with iBooks or on your computer with iTunes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

KISS X Volcom Full Zip Hoodies


The Demon...The Starchild...The Catman...The Spaceman. Together they are KISS, one of the most wildly successful bands in history, with a career spanning almost 40 years, with 45 certified gold records, an
d over 100 million albums sold worldwide. Wearing their trademark face paint, the band carved out a place in rock history with their over-the-top live shows - introducing pyrotechnics, blood-spitting, fire-breathing, and a smoking guitar to amazed concertgoers. Now KISS and Volcom have collaborated for a limited number of KISS X Volcom merchandise, melding the four iconic faces of the band with Volcom's signature full-zip hooded sweatshirts and sock puppets. Now KISS fans of all ages can become part of the legend! Zip it up, put your feet up and blast your favorite album..."you wanted the best, you got the best" -KISS X VOLCOM.

See the line at:

Merry KISSmas Sweater


Check out this original sleeveless KISSmas sweater made by Heather Perry of 'Drunk Girl Designs'.

Monday, December 17, 2012

KISS Characters To Star In 2013 Individual Comic Book Issues

KISS are making a comeback as comic book characters. Beginning in March, IDW Publishing will release a four-issue series starring the Demon, the Starchild, the Catman and the Spaceman. Up first will be Gene Simmons‘s Demon character in a story inspired by the song ‘Radioactive’ from the rocker’s 1978 solo album.

ngel Medina will once again illustrate the new Kiss comics. He was responsible for the ‘Kiss Psycho Circus’ comics that were released between 1997 and 2000. “Issue one sees the Demon taking on none other than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” IDW’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Ryall tells Classic Rock Magazine. He adds, “No one draws widescreen apocalyptic action better than Angel Medina. It’s a thrill to have Angel back in the Kiss fold.”

While the Demon returns for this new series, it’s not 100 percent clear whether the other characters representing the rest of the band will be the same as well. ‘Kiss Psycho Circus’ also starred the Starbearer, King of Beasts and the Celestial. Lineup changes could force a new creative direction or they could follow the formula that worked the first time around.

What’s The Rockbrat Viewing Today? KISS: Animalize – Live Uncensored

Some facts – I owned this thing back in the day. The day – as in 1985. Can I say that ? I wonder how that rates in this world of ‘Kiss cool’  where, it is how old you were when you got into Kiss, which gives you the serious cred amongst your fellow Kissers…you know what I am talking about here – the ones who fudge the truth a little (the Cowboy wrote about it recently and you hear it now and again on Kiss podcasts) ”I got into Kiss in 1975 when I was five years old” Sure you did. Most children that age are still content to play with cars, crayons and horses, yet it would seem some supercool kinderbrats - (back in 1975 at least), had their ears to the ground   and were dissected the Dressed To Kill album. P-lease. So what if you got into Kiss in 1988 ? Where’s the shame?

Read more HERE.

COTN Podcast #52 - KISS "Music From The Elder" Review

Cassius is joined by Mitch Lafon and Adam Smith to review what is arguably KISS' most controversial album...Music From 'The Elder'.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

KISS "Monster" Makes Noisecreeps 'Best Metal Albums Of 2012' | Chris Epting

"There were some terrific metal/hard rock releases this year but my pick of the litter is KISS' Monster. Forget the makeup and still stellar stage show - this is about the music and these four guys brought it big time this year. Monster is a nice big slab of metallic hard rock created by a band that could easily kick back and ride the wave of their legacy into the sunset, but instead chooses to crunch and grind, still more than able to craft killer riffs with fire and brimstone lyrical hooks. "Wall of Sound," "Back to the Stone Age" and "Shout Mercy" (among others) harken back to the Love Gun era without feeling at all stale. In fact, these guys seem more inspired thanever, a testament to the blue-collar work ethic that has always defined this band for many of us."

Win A KISS Casablanca Singles Box Set

Enter for a chance to win a Win A KISS Casablanca Singles Box Set.

Enter HERE:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Latest KISS Magazine Cover: "Norway Rock Magazine"


KISS grace the cover of the latest edition of "Norway Rock Magazine". The magazine features an interview with Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer of KISS.

Peter Criss Interviewed On Eddie Trunk's Radio Show

Original KISS drummer Peter Criss discusses his book "Makeup to Breakup" on Eddie Trunk's Show. The first five minutes of the interview are missing.

Eddie Trunk writes: "Huge thanks to Peter Criss for coming into the studio and hanging for over two hours last night on my Q104/syndicated show. Peter was happy and healthy and sharing so many amazing stories about his life in and out of Kiss. We also gave away copies of his great new book. Also played all Kiss music as we celebrated the 22nd annual Merry KISSmas. Really had a blast and the response to Peter being so open about so many things has been phenomenal."

KISS Tattoos

Here are a few KISS tattoos sent in to us by the KISS Army.