KISS Double Platinum was the first CD I ever bought. It contains all the essential KISS tunes you need. Going much beyond that into deep album cuts and the band kind of loses its charm. That said, the band's top 15 to 20 songs is as good as any power pop or hair metal bands' top tunes.
The other side of KISS is the mythology, and Rolling Stone Magazine recently captured that extremely well in its lengthy cover feature. Here are my 13 favorite take aways:
- Bassist Gene Simmons’ freakishly long tongue, he swears, is not “grafted in from some unlucky cow” but is indeed real.
- Simmons and frontman Paul Stanley have always been ambitious and not self-destructive, while original drummer and “Beth” songwriter Peter Criss was fired in 1980 for his drug use and guitarist Ace Frehley quit soon thereafter to follow his cocaine, tranquillizer, and booze affectations.
- The four KISS characters are Demon, Starchild, Spaceman, and Catman.
- Simmons once managed Liza Minnelli’s acting career.
- Stanley, not Simmons, is the true mastermind behind the band and has kept it functioning as a corporation for all these years.
- Paul Stanley was born Stanley Eisen to a dysfunctional family. He was deaf in his right ear, with only a stump there, which caused a kindergarten bully to call him “Stanley the One-Eared Monster.” It was later reconstructed out of cartilage from his rib cage.
- KISS started as a band called Wicked Lester. They quit that band because it wasn’t hooky enough. It needed to be more like Raspberries, Small Faces, and Big Star.
- Paul Frehley was nicknamed “Ace” because there couldn’t be two Pauls in the band and that was what his friends called him due to his prowess with women.
- Peter Criss was a young Italian Godfather type who claimed to have a huge penis.
- Frehley designed the band’s logo.
- Simmons’ mother was in a Nazi concentration camp.
- Simmons had sex with nearly 5,000 women – “not all of them had two legs.” He never had a serious relationship until 1978, when he dated Cher and then later Diana Ross.
- Criss once drank a bottle of perfume in a limo after he discovered it had alcohol in it. He also shot one of Simmon’s big-screen TVs with a .38 revolver “after learning his girlfriend had slept with an actor shown on the screen.”