KISS Anniversary

Sunday marked the anniversary of KISS. Gibson takes a look back: After recently changing their name from Wicked Lester, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss made their first appearance as KISS at the Popcorn Club in Queens, New York.

A cold call to a club in Queens called the Popcorn Club and some fast talking by Simmons scored the group a three-night stand (two sets a night) at the venue, from January 30 through February 1, for a flat fee of $150. The first night of the stand gave almost no portent of the massive success to come. The group played to three people during their first set and no more than 10 over the course of the evening. The next two days were hardly better.

During the performances, one other crucial component was lacking (besides an audience). While the music very quickly melded into that now-familiar KISS '70s sound, the look specifically, the makeup was nowhere in sight. It would, however, make its debut five weeks later. Just a few weeks after that, the band would record a five-song demo that would start their meteoric rise to the top of rock stardom. Considering how long it took their previous band to make its half-hearted leap at the brass ring, KISS's ascent was not unlike the lightning in their logo. more on this story

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