Gene Simmons (Klein) (vocals, bass) 1972-
Ace (Paul) Frehley (guitar) 1972-1982, 1996-2002
Paul Stanley (Stanley Eisen) (guitar, vocals) 1972-
Peter Criss (Crisscoula) (drums, vocals) 1972-1982, 1996-2001
Eric Carr Paul (Caravello) (drums) 1982-1991
Vinnie Vincent (Cusano) (guitar) 1982-1984
Mark St. John (Norton) (guitar) 1984-1985
Bruce Kulick (guitar) 1985-
Eric Singer (drums) 1991-
Tommy Thayer (guitar) 2002-
Artistfacts®: You can leave comments about the artist/band at the bottom of the page.
Gene Simmons and former Playboy model Shannon Tweed were together for 28 years and had two children, Nicholas and Sophie, before the couple finally married in 2011.
Simmons and Tweed met at the Playboy Mansion during one of their lavish "Midsummer Night's Dream" parties. At the time, Simmons was in a relationship with Motown star Diana Ross. Simmons was shocked to learn that Tweed's sister, Tracy, was married to Diana's brother, Chico Ross.
In 1977, Marvel Comics published a KISS comic book. The red ink supposedly contained some of the band's blood.
They were never photographed without their makeup until 1983, when they took it off to promote Lick It Up.
Simmons' tongue is 7 inches long, 2 inches longer than average.
Simmons and Stanley formed the group after they fired all the members of their first band together, Wicked Lester. They found Peter Criss and Ace Frehley with ads in Rolling Stone and The Village Voice. (thanks, Josh - Framingham, MA)
Each member represents a character. Simmons is The Demon, Frehley is The Spaceman, Stanley is The Star Child, Criss is The Cat, and Carr was The Fox. Vincent briefly wore makeup with an Ankh design in his early concerts with the group. (thanks, Jeff - Haltom City, TX)
In 1991, Eric Carr, who replaced Criss on drums in 1982, died of cancer at age 41. He and Freddie Mercury died on the same day.
In 1978, each member released a solo album on the same day. All 4 made the US Top 50, with Frehley's selling the best.
The band name made for lots of speculation, the most popular being "Knights In Satan's Service." The truth is much more mundane: Paul Stanley came up with the name and the others loved it. Peter Criss explained in a 1977 Marvel profile, "It really means a lot. It's the first thing you do to a chick or anybody. It could also be the kiss of death. It's a strong word. It's easy to remember."
Most music critics hated the band. They are not considered great musicians, but are known for their live performances, which their core fans, The KISS Army, loves.
In 1999, Simmons produced the movie Detroit Rock City, about some guys who try to go to a KISS show and have wacky adventures along the way.
Their 1998 Psycho Circus tour was the first rock concert in 3-D. Fans were instructed to put on the glasses at certain parts of the show to see the special effects.
Simmons was born in Israel as Chaim Witz. He moved to New York and spent 6 months as a schoolteacher.
In 1999, World Championship Wrestling (since bought by the WWE), introduced "The Demon," a wrestler based on Gene Simmons, compete with makeup and stage antics. He was not as popular as hoped and was dropped soon after.
In 1977, Kiss was named the most popular band in America in a Gallup Poll.
In 2001, manufacturing began on the "Kiss Kasket," a coffin with photos and autographs from the original members. It costs $5000, but is waterproof and can be used as a "Kiss Kooler" until the owner dies.
Simmons' mother survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.
The lyrics for their 1974 Hotter Than Hell album were printed in both English and Japanese, to show their appreciation for their Japanese fans.
The Stone Temple Pilots once played a show entirely in Kiss make-up.
A homeless man in Santa Monica named Christopher Dickinson had been telling people for years that he was Peter Criss. In 1991, The Star magazine believed him and reported that Criss was destitute. They appeared together on the Donahue show that year to sort things out and prove that Criss was not homeless.
Former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was buried in a Kiss Kasket following his murder in December 2004, as Kiss and Ace Frehley were his favorite band and guitarist respectively. "Cold Gin," his favorite Kiss song, was played at his funeral. (thanks, Tom - Trowbridge, England)
They had a cameo on the popular cartoon Family Guy. Peter Griffin continuously mentions how he's upset about missing "KISS Saves Santa," which is a takeoff of those corny Christmas kids movies. We later find out that Peter's wife Lois was groupie. (thanks, Chris LaBenne - Niles, OH)
In the late '70s the Cadalac Vikings of Cadalac, Michigan started playing Kiss albums in the locker rooms and were even rumored to wear Kiss make-up during football games. Kiss came to Cadalac for several days and ended the tour with a parade. The street was later dedicated Kiss Boulevard and Kiss was presented with a key to the city. (thanks, Joel - Mesick, MI)
Mark St. John died on April 5, 2007 of a brain hemorrhage. He was 51 years old. (thanks, Jeff - Haltom City, TX)
Paul Stanley originally wore paint around his eyes that resembled a Lone Ranger mask on the makeup. He then began wearing an actual mask of the same before finally settling for the star around his right eye. (thanks, Randy - Colerain Twp., OH)
Tommy Thayer replaced Ace Frehley in the Spaceman makeup in 2002. (thanks, Calvin - Sasktoon, Canada)
In 1999, Stanley sang in the Toronto production of The Phantom Of The Opera.
Simmons told the Trouser Press in 1978: "I realized that to make any kind of statement from music or anything else, you really have to simplify it, really bring it down to the LCD – the Lowest Common Denominator, so that people out there that don't play instruments can appreciate what you are doing, that they don't have to sit there and go to school to realize that what we've done is good."
According to Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr was the most fan-friendly member of the group. He would answer every piece of fan mail he received, and sometimes even call the fans. Kulick recalls him signing autographs for fans in freezing weather outside of their hotel because the fans weren't allowed in the lobby.
Paul Stanley was born without any hearing in his right ear and wears had an implanted hearing aid. He told CNN in 2011, "I was born with a Level 3 Microtia, which is a congenital deformity of the cartilage of the outer ear, and occurs in approximately 1 out of every 8,000 to 10,000 births. There is no ear canal and no direct path to the inner workings of the ear. Except for bone conduction, I'm virtually deaf on my right side, as there is no access for sound to enter."
With Ace Frehley making it clear that he was no longer interested in being a member of Kiss when recording sessions began for 1982's Creatures of the Night, the remaining members had to scramble to find his replacement. Instead of enlisting a single replacement, several different guitarists can be heard supplying leads throughout the album, including Vinnie Vincent, Bob Kulick, Robben Ford, and Steve Farris -- the latter of which went on to become a member of pop rockers Mr. Mister, best known for the hits "Broken Wings" and "Kyrie."
Paul Stanley attended the High School of Music & Art in New York, whose other notable alumni include The Left Banke. He recalled to Mojo
magazine: "I was painfully shy but I would see Janis (Ian) around all the time. Also, Laura Nyro had just graduated. This was a school which had the talented weirdos and outcasts from every school in New York. And to be in a school where the last graduating class had a band who had a top five record (The Left Banke's 'Walk Away Renee
,' which was released in July 1966) was exciting."
A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.
They Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.