Duluth quilter, costume designer comes to Gene Simmons’ aid

Christa Lawler | Duluth News Tribune

boot_1Gene Simmons wears 10-inch black platform boots with 1-inch lifts. They are about half as tall as a preteen boy and are covered in horns. There is Velcro around the base, so that a dragon face can be attached.

“The handle of the zipper was a Rite Aid toenail clipper,” said Karen McTavish, who spent 3½ hours repairing a zipper on the KISS frontman’s signature boot before the rock ‘n’ roll band performed Wednesday at Amsoil Arena. “This is the weirdest job I’ve ever had in my life. Funniest and weirdest.”

The boot zipper was going down on its own, said McTavish, the quilter behind McTavish Quilting Studio. She called in help from Claudia Clark Myers — former costume designer for the Minnesota Ballet, the College of St. Scholastica and the Baltimore Opera Company — who came over bearing needles made for leatherwork.

The duo took out the faulty zipper, then used a combination of McTavish’s Bernina Sewing Machine, hand-stitching with 100 percent polyester thread and a special adhesive that works on fabric and leather, said Myers, who claims to be too old to be a KISS fan.

“It was difficult,” she added. “We just did the best we could and I was happy to see a picture on the front page today that it was on his boot and intact and there wasn’t a big headline about Gene Simmons’ costume falling apart in the middle of the performance.”

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Gene Simmons ‘Can’t imagine’ continuing KISS without Paul Stanley


genesimmonsvegas2014_638Bill Louis of the WNCX radio station in Cleveland, Ohio recently conducted an interview with KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. You can now listen to the chat below.

Asked if he would ever consider continuing KISS without fellow founding member Paul Stanley, Gene said: “You know, I can’t imagine it, but anything’s possible. In fact, if anything, I think all of us would be proud as hell, because one day we’re gonna hang up our platform heels, I’d like nothing better than if four new, young, deserving, hard-working guys would put on the makeup and carry the torch. That would be the coolest.”

Simmons also talked about KISS‘ philosophy and the initial inspiration for the group’s formation. He said: “The whole idea behind KISS was we wanted to put together the band we never saw on stage — a band that would combine Fourth of July fireworks shows and transformers technology and anything else that would give people bang for the buck. And as I sit here proudly talking to you, even though we never played the singles game, KISS is actually America’s No. 1 gold-record-award-winning group of all time, in all categories. Which is really quite a mouthful, ’cause we never really tried to figure out what singles are. We don’t look like your favorite band. We don’t look like COLDPLAY or anybody else that’s in style and fashionable. In fact, we have always been anti-fashion. Think about it: which band would wear more makeup and high heels than your mommy and simply think of the stage as electric church and that it’s hallowed ground and only the few and the deserving should be on that stage. And just ’cause you have ripped jeans and a t-shirt doesn’t mean you belong on stage. That’s our philosophy. And in either case, if the audience looks exactly like you, why are you on stage? Get out of here! Give me spectacle. Give me somebody to look up to, who sweats, who doesn’t use a backing track or disco boys on poles who escaped from Las Vegas. And nobody lip-syncs. We work for it. I think it’s safe to say KISS is the hardest-working band in show business, period.”

KISS kicked off its “Freedom To Rock” tour on July 4 with in Tucson, Arizona. The trek will hit 40 cities through the summer — many of them places that the band has either never played or hasn’t played in years.


Veteran gets to roadie at the KISS Concert in Wichita



WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – KISS rock and rolled in Wichita Monday at Intrust Bank Arena.

Sgt. Alaxandra Harris was given the chance of a lifetime to be a roadie for the band.

“I got selected to be the roadie for a day. We mostly just kind of got to set up and work with all of KISS’ actual roadies to help them with sound check and getting all the packets together, and we’re gonna help with the meet and greet.

Alexandra was also allowed to bring one guest to enjoy the experience.

“I’m kind of just a little bit of a KISS fan like this big, no, I’m a huge KISS fan and I got to get Gene Simmons guitar and put upon the stand,” said Sherri Page, veteran.

KISS made a donation for Hiring Our Heros during Monday’s concert. All of their shows on this tour will feature veteran roadies.

Alive! ’75 to Perform at the 2016 Rock Carnival in Lakewood, NJ on Sept. 30th!

Anthony De Lucia, Jr. | www.alive75.com

Alive75_7 Alive75-LogoAlive! ’75 continues to penetrate new markets across the northeast, most recently being invited to perform at the 2016 Rock Carnival at First Energy Park in Lakewood, NJ, on Friday, September 30th…

“We are so excited to be included in this year’s Rock Carnival line-up” says Anthony De Lucia, Jr., the band’s  manager and resident “Demon”.  “Being a part of a multi-day hard-rock bill, that includes Ace Frehley of all people – how cool is that!?  We are completely humbled by the opportunity and looking forward to introducing our one of a kind  classic KISS tribute experience to a few thousand fresh new hard-rocking  fans!”

The boys of Alive! ’75 are only in their second year of action, but you’d hardly know it when seeing their show.  After successful pilot-performances in late 2014, they decided to take their show as far as they could, and they’ve learned a lot in a very short time.  “The response to our first show was overwhelming!  So many people were digging our concept.  This was originally meant to be a one-time thing for us but we decided to keep at it.  We’ve listened to all the feedback along the way, both good and bad, and we continue to strive to deliver a better and better classic KISS tribute experience every time out.”

Something must be working, as we hear booking their 2016 tour has proven to be much easier than last year.  “Being self managed and promoted, it’s been a challenge to get talent buyers to give us the time of day” says Anthony.  “But those that do quickly become fans of the production and our repeat opportunities are growing exponentially.  2016 was infinitely easier to book than last year and we already have a number of 2017 dates locked-in.” Continue reading

Allentown Fair billboard gets tongue-in-cheek about KISS concert and cows

John Moser | The Morning Call

mc-allentown-fair-billboard-gets-tongue-in-che-001There’s a classic rock legend that Gene Simmons, bassist for the band KISS, had a cow’s tongue grafted onto his own to form his trademark appendage.

Now, a new billboard along Route 145/MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township takes a tongue-in-cheek – or, rather, out of cheek — twist on the legend to promote Allentown Fair’s Aug. 30-Sept. 5 run and the Sept. 1 concert by KISS.

On the huge sign, a cow representing Allentown Fair (perhaps its mascot Moodonna?) has its face painted to match Simmons’ onstage KISS makeup, and has a Simmons-like tongue protruding from its mouth.

And in this case, the tongue definitely has been grafted on: It’s a puffy, pink 3-D appendage.

KISS donates $150,000 to veterans at concert in Colorado Springs

Anica Padilla | CW2

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Paying tribute to America’s veterans and service members is more than just lip service for the iconic rock band KISS.

When KISS brought their “Freedom to Rock” tour to Colorado Springs Monday night, the band donated $150,000 to a group that helps veterans.

“Without the military, we wouldn’t be here,” vocalist Gene Simmons said in a video posted on YouTube. “KISS has always been about giving back. We know we’re very lucky. We take this as a matter of heart.”

KISS partners with “Hiring Our Heroes” and the Veteran Tickets Foundation to “salute military heroes across the country,” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation website.

“The ‘Freedom to Rock’ tour stops are all home to a large number of Army and Air National Guard or Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Reserve members,” the website states.  The band donates a limited number of tickets to veterans in each community.

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Ace Frehley reveals first gig and first band at 14 years old

Fuse Staff

Ace Frehley may be a founding member of KISS, one of rock’s biggest bands ever, but what about before that? While at Fuse talking about his solo project Origins, Vol. 1, Frehley revealed he was in countless bands leading up to KISS. His earliest memory in front of an audience was as a 14-year-old boy, performing at a Jewish youth program in Riverdale, New York. Watch more above now.

Want more? In 2014 Frehley and fellow rock guitarist Chris Caffery sat down together for Fuse to trade stories, guitar solos and more! Watch below:

Pacific University Legends Salutes Tommy Thayer and Generates More than $500,000 to Support Athletics and Music

Joe Lang | Pacific University

pulttlh-pspjpeg-5315c0875ac1693cPacific University paid tribute to one of its longtime trustees, Beaverton native and KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, during the finale of Thayer’s highly successful Legends fundraiser held June 26 in Portland.

Presented by Pac/West, guests of Legends 2016 thanked Thayer for 10 great years of support the event has generated for the university’s 24-sport NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics program.

Approximately 150 invitees attended the Legends Finale, a one-of-a-kind exclusive dinner, auction and concert that grossed nearly $500,000 to launch a lasting tribute to the beloved host: the Tommy Thayer Endowment for Athletics and Music at Pacific University.

The evening commenced with cocktails and silent auction, and followed with a multi-course gourmet dinner, live auction featuring vacation getaways and much more, and signature concert that ultimately brought to a close the event’s successful run that began in 2007.

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Gene Simmons rules out a full KISS reunion

Clive King | Contact Music

Gene Simmons has ruled out a reunion of the original Kiss line-up.

The 66-year-old rocker shut down speculation that a recent collaboration between the ‘Lick It Up’ hitmaker’s former guitarist Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley signalled return of the founding members.

When quizzed on the rumours, he said: ”No, that means nothing. We’ve tried that. Ace and Peter [Criss, original KISS drummer] came into the band and were thrown out three different times because of drugs and alcohol. I mean, how many strikes do you want? And to new fans, it means nothing.”

The bassist-and-singer formed KISS in 1973 in New York City with his pal Paul and the band – along with current members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer – were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

The rock band are famous for their own stage personas and trademark black and white face paint, and Gene – whose alter ego is known as ‘The Demon’ – would love for four young musicians to take over the KISS characters and carry on the group’s legacy.

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