Peter Hartlaub | SF Gate
San Francisco played host to Elvis Presley’s shaking hips, the Rolling Stones after “Sticky Fingers” was released, and Menudo when the multilingual boy band was eliciting its loudest screams.
But few concerts in Bay Area history struck simultaneous terror in the minds of conservative adults and joy in the the hearts of young rock and roll fans, as Kiss at the Cow Palace on Aug. 16, 1977.
“Sixteen thousand kids put up $6.50 apiece to catch tiptoe glimpses of the four silversuited contortionists from New York who constitute the rock group known as Kiss,” Chronicle reporter Steve Rubenstein wrote in an article that appeared two days later. “It was dazzling, deafening and looked outrageously profitable.”
The concert was part of the Bill Graham Presents Mid-Summer Music Festival, which included the Ramones at Winterland, and Led Zeppelin playing a Day on the Green concert at Oakland Coliseum. Opening for Kiss was the mostly unknown Cheap Trick, misidentified by The Chronicle as “Cheap Tricks.”
Kiss and the Cow Palace were both at the peak of their powers in 1977. But looking back on The Chronicle’s coverage, there were two other notable elements:
• The band performed on the day Elvis died — a fact that many young concert-goers didn’t realize until Kiss sang a tribute to the King near the end of the concert.
• Chronicle photographer Stephanie Maze focused her lens on the young crowd, taking dozens of photos that captured the feral joy of a 1970s rock concert. The resulting photo essay, which mostly went unpublished, included children as young as 10.
Kiss had released the albums “Alive,” “Destroyer,” “Rock and Roll Over” and “Love Gun” in a two-year period before the concert, and had just been named by a Gallup poll the most popular band in America. The band was entering the final stretch of the 1977 “Love Gun” tour through Canada and the U.S., so their voices were hoarse, but the stage show was polished.
Graham Hartmann | Loudwire
For Loudwire Podcast #26, we’ve got an exclusive interview with KISS legend Paul Stanley! In this podcast preview, Paul breaks down the massively anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Just a few hours before KISS’ performance at Chicago Open Air, we went backstage to speak with the iconic Starchild. After asking if he feels any pressure to write a new KISS album, as it could possibly be the band’s final recording, Stanley mentioned that even the greatest boxing champions got knocked out towards the end. When it comes to KISS’ legacy, Stanley already feels it’s golden, regardless of how a potential final album is received by fans and critics.
Anthony De Lucia, Jr. | alive75.com
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS are bringing their Rock & Brews restaurant chain to Chicago with plans to open 10 to 15 locations in the city
The Chicago Tribune reports that the rockers plan to expand the chain over the next five to seven years with the first Chicago-area restaurant scheduled to open next year, though the location is still being negotiated.
An expansion that large is considered a risky gamble. The 67-year-old Simmons said, “Either Chicago is America or it’s not. Everywhere we’ve gone, it works beyond expectation. The only thing you could say is, it’s not going to work here because we’re in Zimbabwe.”
He added, “Look, we’re not McDonald’s, we’re in a higher end, but when it works, boy, it works. When a brand gets it right for their audience, it can work almost anywhere.”
Since launching in 2012, Rock & Brews has grown to 20 locations in the U.S. and Mexico. They offer rock-themed casual dining with a wide variety of locally brewed craft beer on tap. Each location has 30 to 40 televisions, playing sports and rock videos.
The plan is to get to 100 locations in the next five years.
As the latest guitar star to feature in Ernie Ball’s ongoing web series, String Theory, Paul Stanley goes into detail about his lifelong love for the guitar, its importance in rock’n’roll, as well as his time spent in a certain face-painted 1970’s rock band. Watch the video below.
Ace Frehley is keeping his hot streak burning with a newly expanded deluxe edition of his 2009 album Anomaly, which arrives on vinyl, CD and digital formats Sept. 8. You can listen to our exclusive premiere of the bonus track “Hard for Me” above.
“I think this new edition of the album is great – a special treat for the fans,” says Frehley. “And, with the bonus tracks, they’ll get a little more insight into how the album came together.” For example, “Hard for Me” is a previously unreleased demo that evolved into Anomaly‘s lead-off track, “Foxy & Free.”
Anomaly Deluxe also features a slower version of “Pain in the Neck,” and the previously digital-only track “Return of the Space Bear.” It will also include enhanced album art, a new live poster and extensive liner notes featuring track-by-track commentary from Frehley.