After decades of entertaining music fans, it appears that KISS may be coming to an end. Paul Stanley hinted that the band is planning a major tour in 2019 that is being called “The End of the Road.” Yet, despite the original lineup planning to hang up their costumes for the final time, there have been talks of KISS continuing beyond the farewell tour.
Talks of a band sans Paul Stanley (The Starchild), Gene Simmons (The Demon), Ace Frehley (The Spaceman) and Peter Criss (The Catman) first emerged when Stanley insinuated in a Pure Grain Audio interview that KISS could continue without any of the original members.
“When a band or anything, a team, lasts 40 years, 50 years, the only way for it to continue is to evolve,” Stanley said. “That means in terms of personnel, otherwise it’s impossible. There are bands touring at this point with one or no original members and I have no problem with that because it didn’t happen overnight. It was a series of changes over years or decades.” The Starchild also pointed out how he, Simmons and the original KISS members have set a very high bar in terms of performance standards, which new-generation members are expected to meet whenever they perform as KISS.
In a report by Ultimate Classic Rock about the possible tour, KISS manager Doc McGhee seconded Stanley’s suggestion that the band can continue without any original members. For the outspoken manager, what matters is that the new KISS members wear makeup and put on memorable performances as The Starchild, The Demon, The Spaceman, The Catman (plus The Fox and The Ankh Warrior). McPhee stated that KISS is “a way of life,” even noting that the band was as large today as it had been for decades. “Every band's a different animal,” McPhee argued. “Kiss is, ‘If it's worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.’ You come to expect that out of Kiss. No matter who I have in my office — CEOs of companies and airlines — they go to the Kiss closet and they’ve got to have something. This happens every day.”
Both Stanley and McPhee are right on point. The KISS brand is as popular as ever and will continue to be so as long as the new members meet the extraordinarily high standards set by their predecessors. And when Stanley and company decide to ride off into the proverbial sunset, they will retire as royalty, as they will continue to rake in royalties from a large amount of merchandise that the band has licensed throughout their nearly 5-decade run. KISS have purportedly licensed their name to more than 3,000 product categories, including lunch boxes, comic books, credit cards, toys, condoms and now online games. The Foxy Bingo game ‘KISS – Shout It Out Loud’ is a recent addition to this unbelievably long list of KISS merchandise and shows how the band has been able to successfully curate their online presence. This means that KISS on stage could live on through new members, while the original lineup will continue to be represented on different mediums.
Whether they will let new members take over entirely remains to be seen, though, as there have been no formal announcements on this matter.
Written by Jonathan Clover