Tuesday, April 15, 2008

KISS Is A Tribute Band Rip Off?

Some fans feel like the current KISS lineup is a big rip off.

You have original founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley touring with two replacements in Ace Frehley and Peter Criss’ makeup and outfits. The fact that they are much better musicians than Ace or Peter and that this lineup is actually pretty ripping is besides the point.

Some fans feel that it’s a sham – essentially a KISS tribute band. And that many fans don’t really know any better, so it’s also a bit of a lie.

I have been on the fence. I saw the current lineup on its last trip to town and I have to say, the new guys make the band much better musically. And they were able to pull out a lot of older songs that the original group possibly couldn’t or wouldn’t tackle, including material from the post-makeup albums. Most of which stink, but there are some gems.

I mean, what makes this any different than going to see Roger Waters do Pink Floyd songs with a full backup band? I guess it’s that attendees KNOW they are not seeing the real Floyd. I am not so sure the same can be said about KISS, due to the makeup, big show, etc.

There is also the fact that Stanley and Simmons are whores anyway, and will milk as much money out of the KISS franchise as they can. Nothing wrong with that, unless it smacks of dishonesty. Now they have Ace clone Tommy Thayer (great player, don’t get me wrong) singing Shock Me – Ace’s big song. I wonder how long it will be before Tommy’s guitar smokes – Ace’s trademark. And will anyone know the difference? Will they know it’s an imposter behind that smoking guitar? Will they care?

News yesterday from an interview with Peter Criss clone Eric Singer discloses that this new lineup is re-recording old KISS songs to “get around some copyright issues.” That just seems flat out bogus to me. Note that the version of the interview on KISS' official Web site has that bit of news edited out.

But the people speak the loudest. And KISS’ current European tour is selling out faster than the reunion tour did more than ten years ago. If people were really that upset (myself included) they would stop lining Stanley and Simmons’ pockets.


VoxMoose said...

Your observations about why this Kiss situation is different than Roger Waters doing Pink Floyd tunes is right on. But I think the analogy is even stranger. It would be like Waters only hiring people who looked like old members of Floyd circa 1974 and who also had to act like them on stage. Then imagine if he started calling this lineup "Pink Floyd." That would just be downright stupid and creepy, even if they sounded ok.

Back in the early 80s when Kiss got new guitarists/drummers and did the makeup thing, didn't new members like Vinnie Vincent et al. get to create their own stage characters? That seemed a bit more genuine and consistent with the band's spirit, even if those lineups were only so-so.

Isorski said...

You are right, Voxmoose. There were a couple of new 'characters' in the 80s before they ditched the makeup. That would solve this whole issue. But it'll never happen again. KISS the BRAND is too big. And since Gene and Paul own the rights to all four makeup designs, they can use them however they want. Bogus.

Isorski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

As a lifelong KISS fan, I have to say the current state of things bums me out. Yeah, the lineup rips. Watching the KISSOLOGY DVDs also shows how hot a band the Revenge era lineup was too. If they had Eric and Tommy wear their own makeup, it would be cool. But this is all disappointing. I wouldn't go see them.