KISS front man and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene Simmons hosts the official release party for the new book “Gene Simmons is a Powerful and Attractive Man And Other Irrefutable Facts,” on March 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event takes place at his Rock & Brews restaurant in El Segundo, located at 143 Main St.
Tickets to the event are $75 and will include a three-course prix fixe dinner, a signed book and a photo with Simmons.
“This book even makes me blush,” said Simmons. “It is wildly illustrated and a fun read, and I am looking forward to welcoming my friends and fans to this exclusive launch event at Rock & Brews.”
The book, written by Christina Vitagliano with a forward by Simmons, pays homage to the rock legend, showcasing more than 250 outlandish ‘facts’ about Simmons’ stage persona, love life, and more.
Vitagliano and the book’s illustrators will also be in attendance at the launch.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visitrockandbrews.com/elsegundo.
Master Blaster | Rocket News 24
As you may have noticed, KISS have recently made their way back to Japan and it’s always a treat when they do. This year we’ve already seen them make a well-received cross-genre music video with Momoiro Clover Z and release a line of skin smoothing facepacks with the Japanese cosmetic brand Isshin.
If those weren’t surprising enough, now KISS has collaborated with shodo calligrapher Ryugen Sobukawa for a limited collection of KISS-themed works each autographed by a member of the band.
Oh, and they cost a small fortune…
In total there are only 80 of these works made, but they are divided into four types based on each member of the band. First the canvas has a stylish writing of “KISS” in English next to a kanji interpretation of a character’s name.
Each of the 20 originally made works for each member was also autographed by them. Gene Simmons even did it in full make-up and costume. You know the feeling of being the only person to a “costume party” who actually wore a costume. Something tells me that’s a constant nightmare for KISS.
Each piece of art is very beautiful and blend the edginess of the rock group with the elegance of classical Japanese calligraphy perfectly. In an interesting twist, although rock is considered a new art compared to shodo, each of the artists are transposed in age. The 35-year-old Sobukawa (pictured above next to Simmons) wasn’t even alive when KISS first appeared on stage in Japan.
Okay! So I’m sure all you KISS fans are champing at the bit to get some of these limited-edition writings. The good news is they’re all ready to be ordered from Sobukawa’s website linked below!
The bad news is they cost 432,000 yen (US$3,570) a piece. Now of course the true KISS fan will need to get all four which if my abacus is correct will run you about 1,728,000 yen ($14,280). Come on, what are you waiting for? It’s not like you’re going to be buried in your KISS coffin with all your money. Might as well enjoy it.
JR Smalling, author of Back on the Streets will having a book signing event at the New Jersey KISS Expo on Friday, March 20th at the NJ KISS Mart in Ridgefield Park, NJ. Admission is FREE! Just bring your book or buy one there. Come meet JR in an intimate setting along with all the big KISS collectors of the area!
All info about the book signing is HERE at NJKISSExpo.com
Mike McPadden | VH1 Music
“Heavy” and “metal.” In a physical sense, those words apply quite literally to pinball machines and video games, but there’s also no denying the spiritual, maybe even cosmic connection between headbanging music, quarter-pumping classic arcade fun, and crashing on the couch in front of the latest home-gaming system with hard rock blasting and maybe some certain other kind of substance blazing.
On occasion, amusement manufacturers have combined hard rock aesthetics with coin-op hardware and/or at-home video games—sometimes to kickass effect, and other times to such goofy results that even those kick ass in terms of supplying metalheads with a good time.
Power up now for some continuous play with the Top 15 hard rock and heavy metal pinball machines and video games.
The same year that Kiss inundated fans with four simultaneously released solo albums along with bubblegum cards, dolls, and do-it-yourself makeup kits, the band also released a signature pinball machine.
While the other ephemera may have faded through the years (except for Ace Frehley’s solo LP; that will always rule), Kiss pinball remains one of the all-time arcade greats. For four decades now, the machine has also served as a crucial “tell” when it comes rock-and-roll bars and clubs: when you see Kiss pinball in the corner, you can rest assured you’re in a cool place.
In fact, Kiss pinball is so perfect that, despite mind-blowing forward-leaps in coin-up technology and Gene and Paul’s famous passion for cash-ins, the group has never updated the original machine, except as a PlayStation video game in 2001. That, for sure, was not quite the same.
Promising “hot licks,” “gonzo guitar,” “awesome stacks,” and overall “metal mayhem,” Heavy Metal Meltdown perfectly captures and conveys headbanger overkill circa ’87.
The back-glass depicts three wailing axe-masters—fake Jimmy Page on the left, fake Ted Nugent on the right, and fake Eddie Van Halen looming largest and loudest in the middle—while miniature fake Marshall amps piled on top blare out riffs, licks, solos, and general bombast. Ace ball manipulation lights up the letters H-E-A-V-Y and M-E-T-A-L in glorious Flying-V formation.
Heavy Metal Meltdown is the one pinball machine above all others that should be played by flipping the bumpers while keeping one’s fingers in perpetual devil-horn salute.
No force in rock-and-roll has done more for pinball than the Who, specifically by way of their landmark rock opera Tommy and its enduring anthem “Pinball Wizard”—the famous chronicle of how a “deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!”
The 1975 movie version of Tommy inspired an unofficial machine called Wizard, the ads for which featured the movie’s female lead, Ann-Margret. More directly, Tommy spawned the 1976 Captain Fantastic pinball game, which showcased Elton John dressed in costume as the Pinball Wizard character he plays in the film.
Leaping ahead a couple of decades, the Who mounted a huge, lavish Broadway production of Tommy in 1993. A dynamic stage hit worldwide, the show also launched The Who’s Tommy: Pinball Wizard machine.
Like the theatrical production, Pinball Wizard dazzles and rocks with lights, sounds, graphics, and explosive tabletop action that’s so intense it may well leave you deaf, dumb, and blind for a spell after playing.
KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently selected GUNS N’ ROSES‘ debut album, 1987′s “Appetite For Destruction”, as one of his thirteen favorite LPs of all time. Speaking to The Quietus about the effort, Gene said: “The thing about that record is that it had an honesty that rock and roll had been missing. The ’80s were a terrible time when guitars didn’t sound like guitars and there were drum machines, but then all of a sudden here comes this group, GUNS N’ ROSES, who plug in their guitars and just didn’t mess around with any fancy stuff. And the songs were undeniable!”
He continued: “‘Welcome To The Jungle’ is an undeniable song in the same way that [THE ROLLINGS STONES'] ‘Satisfaction’ has that great riff with the lyrics on top of it. Great lyrics, great imagery, and as soon as you heard that high-pitched voice that harkened back to a Robert Plant-ish approach to singing, which hadn’t been heard in quite a while… Well, it still works today. That’s got to be coming up to 30 years old, but you put that on today if it was a brand new band, I would say, ‘Who’s that?’ That intro is almost symphonic, and it just defined the band. You hear that song, and then the rest of the album follows through. ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ is head, hands and feet above the other material.”
Gene added: “Bands have a few songs that just stand up, you know? You think THIN LIZZY, you think ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. You think THE STONES, you think ‘Satisfaction’. You think LED ZEPPELIN, you think ‘Stairway To Heaven’. There are just certain songs that, either because of the melody or lyric or the sound of the song, intrinsically say, ‘This is what that is.’ The only band who doesn’t have that thing, just because they have so many god damn good songs, is THE BEATLES.”
Andrew lee | Japan Times
The Kiss show at Tokyo Dome on March 3 was the third time I’ve seen the band play live.
The first time was in Sydney in 1980 — my first-ever live concert. At 13, I was a massive Kiss fan, dressed to the nines and all made up like the group’s original drummer Peter Chris, “the Cat,” much to the amusement of my father, who chaperoned.
I lost interest in Kiss around 1983 when the members took off the makeup. However, I decided to go see them for a laugh in Ottawa in 1996, when the original lineup put the costumes back on. I was living in Canada at the time, and my mates and I couldn’t help but chuckle when guitarist Paul Stanley shouted to the crowd, “We played Montreal last night, but they didn’t rock as hard as you do Ottawa!”
So, when I saw Kiss was coming to Japan I simply had to go once more, especially because the band announced it would be playing its Tokyo Dome gig with idol group Momoiro Clover Z — Momokuro to their fans. It was an appropriately kitsch move for a band of old dudes whose masked onstage personas have become so iconic that even Hello Kitty can be found wearing the masks of the Lover, the Demon, the Spaceman and (most appropriately, I guess) the Cat.
The hordes of fans that gathered to see the show were a curious blend of idol superfans and classic-rock aficionados — the multicolored outfits of those there to see Momokuro floated among the black T-shirts and denim uniforms of the Kiss Army, like oil on dark water. Those two sets of fans would have been an impossible mix had it not been for the curious fact that both groups were mostly made up of middle-aged men.
To say Momokuro fans are maniacally loyal is an understatement, so I’d been curious as to how Kiss’ management could ensure that a stadium full of them would stay to watch the aging rockers once the girls’ set had finished. However, in a stroke of sheer marketing genius, prior to the tour Kiss and Momokuro released a joint single titled “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” — which guaranteed that the two would play together on the night of the show.
As the lights in Tokyo Dome went down and the Momokuro fans lit their glow sticks, I was really surprised to see Kiss come on. I thought Momokuro was going to be the supporting act and therefore play first. It seemed the answer to getting Momokuro fans to stick around was for Kiss to open.
Kiss began with “Detroit Rock City” and pushed through a set list of both old and new songs. But when Paul Stanley asked, about seven songs in, “Do you love me Tokyo?” I’m not sure the love was there, many in the crowd were just politely waiting for the megahits and Momokuro to show up.
Kiss has toured Japan 11 times over the past 40 years and I suspect the band has stuck with the same shtick for most of those shows. Gene Simmons spat fire during “War Machine,” blood when he flew on wires above the stage during “God of Thunder.” Tommy Thayer launched rockets from his guitar and Paul Stanley charmed the locals by singing a verse, in Japanese, of the Kyu Sakamoto classic “Sukiyaki.” The antics delighted the Kiss Army, but it may not have been quite enough to convert the Momokuro fans.
Perhaps the show was too quiet? The sound didn’t seem that loud for the most part, which was especially noticeable during “I Love It Loud” and “Shout it Out Loud,” and Stanley’s interaction with the crowd seemed strained at first — perhaps because he needed to win over the Momokuro fans.
The inclusion of the idol group may have actually worked to Kiss’ disadvantage, previous shows across Japan saw the band performing by themselves and those audiences would’ve likely all been card-carrying soldiers in the Kiss Army. At Tokyo Dome there was a good chance that half the audience didn’t even know who Kiss were.
However, the highlight of the night was without a doubt the encore. Momoiro Clover Z finally came out on stage and their fans let loose with their glow sticks. Backed by taiko drummers, the two groups united to perform “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I suspect the legion of Momokuro fans were disappointed the girls only played two songs, but for the Kiss Army it was more than enough. And of course, Tokyo rocked harder than Osaka.
Dave Lifton | Ultimate Classic Rock
The Rolling Stones‘ 1967 album ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request‘ is often derided as a weak attempt to explore psychedelic music in the wake of the Beatles‘ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ But in a new interview, the drug-infused record received a defense from an unlikely source, the famously drug-free Gene Simmons.
Picking his 13 favorite albums for the Quietus, the Kiss bassist says he likes it because it got the Stones to go “outside of their comfort zone. That’s what I find interesting [...] it has production value and songwriting that isn’t found on any other Stones records. ’2000 Light Years From Home,’ ’2000 Man’; I mean, we covered ’2000 Man.’”
Some of Simmons’ choices are obvious. He picks albums by bands that started at the same time as Kiss (AC/DC and Montrose), his biggest influences (Beatles, Jimi Hendrix) and groups that followed in his wake (Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard). He also surprises us by listing 90s efforts from Beck and Foo Fighters. But it’s his take on ‘Satanic Majesties’ that caught our eye; he likes it because its weirdness shows that there was more to them than simply borrowing from the blues. (It’s also one more way to explain ‘Music from the Elder.’)
“With the Stones’ music, the strings and backwards stuff, there is some very, very good material on that record,” he continues. “They happen not to like the record. I think it’s a unique record that shows that the Stones have some depth. There is some bad, out-of-key background singing because they were never the best singers, they didn’t have harmonies like the Beatles. The thing about it is that they were blues-based and they veered away from it on that record and went into almost Celtic and classical areas. It was a pastiche, a multi-coloured quilt! You can look at a band like a coin and say, ‘I see everything, I don’t need to see anything more’, but there is that other side. That other side is what I think is more interesting. The depth.”
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
They’ve gone from makeup to unmasked, hard rock to prog, and been one of the world’s biggest rock bands for several decades, releasing a slew of classic studio and live LPs along the way. Ranking the Kiss discography isn’t a job for the faint of heart, in other words — but in this installment of Worst to Best, we give it our best shot.
It’s been well established that the ’80s were a bumpy time for the band, so it should be no surprise that the lower reaches of our list lean heavy on the decade of synths, drum machines and MTV. But we haven’t ignored the lowlights of the ’70s and ’90s, either, or the group’s forays into disco and grunge.
Of course, as with every other Worst to Best list, we come not to bury the band, but to praise them, and with the whiffs in the discography out of the way, we tackle the tough task of organizing the group’s best albums — which means singling out some of the less-heralded entries as well as attempting to put all of the classic Kiss records in the right order.
So which Kiss album is worst, which one is first, and how does our list stack up against your personal running order? The answers to all those questions can be found by hitting “play” on the video at the top of this post, so what are you waiting for? Let’s start the countdown.
Anthony De Lucia, Jr | www.alive75.com
The drive to deliver the ultimate classic KISS Tribute experience reaches a new milestone this month, when J.R. Smalling joins Alive! ’75 for their March 28th show at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA.
“I cannot begin to describe how excited we are to have J.R. Smalling join us at the Sherman” says Anthony De Lucia, Jr., the shows creator and producer. “This takes our show to a whole new level and provides yet another element of excitement and opportunity for the classic KISS fan!”
We suspect J.R. Smalling needs no introduction to our readers, but for the few that may wonder what all the fuss is about, he is the voice of the Alive! album, a member of The Original KISS KREW (TOKK) and their first road manager. J.R. and The Original KISS KREW have recently published a brand-new book titled “Out on the Streets” that chronicles their tales on the road with the hottest band in the land during the “Glory Days” of 1973 through mid-1976!
Anthony continues: “We knew right from the start when we built this production that we needed it to be something different – something more than just another KISS tribute band. There are already plenty of KISS Tribute acts out there, and a number of them do a really great job. Our challenge was to find a way to differentiate ourselves and bring something new and interesting to the table. Something that KISS fans would want to see.”
“It wasn’t enough for us to simply dress-up and play KISS songs. We wanted to do more – capture an era, focus on a theme, deliver a complete experience. We didn’t see anyone doing anything like this so we jumped right in. The Alive! album is iconic – arguably the most significant KISS album ever, on a whole number of levels. Bringing the album to life has become our passion, and we work very hard on every detail to do just that. Now having J.R. Smalling involved makes it that much more special!”.
More special indeed, and the two elements together make for a great combination. Classic KISS fans get an exciting, period-specific live concert experience in Alive! ’75, and with “Out on the Streets”, they get an up-close and behind-the-curtain look at KISS during these very same formative years on the road.
“When the guys from Alive! ’75 reached-out to me I was immediately intrigued.” says J.R. Smalling. “The approach they’ve taken with their KISS-tribute show is unlike any other I’ve seen – it’s very, very cool. And the period they bring to life, well, that was my time! I’m stoked to be part of this and I am looking forward to meeting fans at the show.”
And with J.R. on board at the Sherman, the Alive! ’75 “experience” goes to a whole new level. Besides having copies of the recently released book “Out On the Streets” available for sale at the show, J.R. will be available to meet and greet fans and autograph copies of the book. And as if that wasn’t enough, J.R will host an interactive Q&A discussion with the Alive! ’75 audience, telling stories, taking questions and talking about what is was like back then with the hottest Band in the land!
“This is huge for Alive! ’75 – it’s an opportunity for classic KISS fans to hear directly from a guy who was there in the trenches with KISS as they fought their way to super-star status” says Anthony. ”And there’s more where this came from. We’ve got a bunch of conversations underway and lots of ideas being kicked around. We are vey excited about the possibilities and will continue to bring more and more of the 1975 classic KISS experience to future shows!”
With so many KISS-tribute bands in the marketplace, Alive! ’75 – A Tribute to KISS looks to be different by providing a complete package, including the period-specific 1975 experience. For die-hard classic KISS fans (those who appreciate their early works), as well as general fans of rock ‘n roll nostalgia, this is definitely an experience not to be missed!
Tickets are now on sale for their Stroudsburg, PA, performance on March 28th. Complete details on this one-of-a-kind experience may be found at www.alive75.com Contact ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ for more information. For more details and/or to order a copy of “Out on the Streets”, see The Original KISS KREW at www.theoriginalkisskrew.com.
You wanted the best…You got the worst! This special episode finds your Strange Ways bros looking back on some funny moments that have happened over the course of the show, so far! This episode is NOT FOR THE INNOCENT, and please don’t listen with your kids! We really want to thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy this special episode, KISS ARMY!!!!
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
The classic rock contingent will be well represented during Season 14 of That Metal Show.
As previously reported, Geddy Lee will put in an appearance during the season premiere Feb. 21, but the Rush frontman is far from the only guest set to expand the show’s boundaries outside of merely metal. He’ll be joined throughout the next run of new episodes by a list of classic rockers that includes Ace Frehley, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and Marky Ramone.
Promising “the most diverse season in the show’s history,” a That Metal Show press release backs up that claim with a fairly eclectic assortment of upcoming guests that also makes room for John Petrucci of Dream Theater; members of Tesla, Thin Lizzy, Anthrax and Slayer; Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker, Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss and Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali — and adds “Metal Modem” appearances from Motorhead and David Coverdale ofWhitesnake.
Offering a dozen new episodes to be broadcast Saturdays at the show’s new 9PM time slot, Season 14 of That Metal Show will also include an assortment of fan favorite segments, including “TMS Top 5,” “Rank” and “Take It or Leave It,” as well as “Stump the Trunk,” in which audience members test host Eddie Trunk’s rock knowledge for a chance to win a prize. Tickets for tapings, which take place Tuesday nights at Metropolis Studios in New York City, are availablehere.
The new season of That Metal Show continues a tradition that’s been in place at VH1 Classic since 2008, and adds to a history that already boasts appearances from a long list of stars, including members of Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Metallica, Aerosmith, Pantera, Kiss, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses, Queensryche, Heart and others. To get caught up or watch past episodes all over again, visit ThatMetalShow.VH1.com or download the VH1 app.
A great selection of KISS items between $1.00 and $3.00!
Some are blowouts, some are discounts and some are just great items lowered to a ridiculous price to draw you to our site! Regardless of the reason, you can’t miss out on these great deals!
WE SHIP ALL ORDERS OUT WITHIN ONE BUSINESS DAY
Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock
At this point, it’s almost a bigger deal when a major band doesn’t rely to some extent on pre-recorded music during live performances, but it’s still kind of embarrassing when a group gets caught miming. Just ask the members of Kiss, who were forced to answer questions about what was actually “live” after a recent gig.
The band’s currently in Japan for a brief run of tour dates, and as you can see in the above clip, they’ve added their new single “Samurai Son” — one of two songs they recently collaborated on with Japanese pop group Momoiro Clover Z — to the set list. But as they told followers in a new tweet, some of what audiences are hearing isn’t being played by the guys onstage.
That announcement might seem like a bold admission from a band that’s earned the right to do whatever it wants without needing to make excuses, but as Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons quickly pointed out, the group might not have been moved to post the tweet if they hadn’t been caught. True to form, he even managed to mix some old-fashioned Simmons showmanship into his reply.
Whatever their reasons for doing it, we applaud Kiss for ‘fessing up without being defensive about it — and that goes double for Simmons, who added in another tweet that the band “came clean and admitted it … albeit it was after we got caught and it was all over YouTube.”
The KISS Museum is back from a wild weekend at the incredible New York City toy fair to bring you the latest news on some of the newest KISS merchandise to be hitting the streets soon.
Starting off, the new KISS 3 3/4 inch figures have been a much anticipated arrival. The prototypes shown here are an exciting idea of how the final products will look. There have been small, cartoonish KISS figures released in the past, but none as detailed as these – guitars included!
One of the most original KISS products out in a long time, and something we are looking forward to own, is the KISS Light-up Logo Journal. This book-sized piece has blank sheet music pages for writing notes, (or music) and features a light-up logo on the cover that flashes the famous K-I-S-S letters sequentially, just as the stage logo of the ’70s!
Next is a collection of several different KISS lunch boxes, including a mini-tin tote set, good for keeping business cards or whatever small items you may need. The updated full-size lunch box comes complete with, instead of a thermos, a travel mug and coaster set – much more practical for the adult KISS fan.
A few pieces for the automobile will be available soon too, such as several different KISS license plate holders, (with one being glow in the dark), and a set of KISS Car Wind Shield Shades, the Gene prototype shown here being one of 4 that will soon see the (bright) light of day…
One of our favorite items to see in person was the Blade-Runner-inspired KISS Light-up Umbrella with a shaft that has the option to glow in one of the 4 KISS Solo Album colors or rotate sequentially between all four. A nice, large, high-quality item with well-built electronics. Even has a built-in flash light in the handle.
Rounding things off is a large collection of glass ware and drink ware. The stand-out for this category are two brilliant sets of KISS Coasters – one being highly-detailed cut-outs of the guitars and a drum. Next is an awesome “puzzle-set” of coasters of an amazing collage that comes together to form a single image. Great display pieces you need to have shown on your coffee table. And to put the coasters on, there are quite a few variations of KISS Shot Glasses, KISS Coffee Mugs, KISS Travel Mugs, KISS Pint Glasses and a KISS Water Bottle.
Items will start to be released in the early to late spring, 2015.
KISSmuseum.com will be a major distributor for this new KISS line of merchandise and will be shipping on or before the release date.
All the new KISS Merchandise will be at KISSmuseum.com when released in the near future -check back with us then! (we are not currently taking pre-orders).