KISS – End Of The Road

50 Years of Rock and Roll Party

I’ve been a KISS fan since my early teens, which means first generation. It also means 50 years of “Rock And Roll All Nite” and party every day with all its ups and downs. (I know the song is from 1975, but…) Now the band had reached the KISS – End Of The Road with a brilliant two-day show at Madison Square Garden in New York, where it all began in 1973.

The very early make-up and costumes (found in the internet)

Creating KISS

It all started when guitarist Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons were unhappy with the members and sound of their band Wicked Lester. Both decided to form a new band together. They had a clear vision of a rock and roll theatre. One, that had never been seen before and that would make even Alice Cooper look lame. They found drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley. Soon the new band was called KISS. Fantastic make-ups such as Starchild, Demon, The Cat and Space-Ace were created.  They were combined with all black and silver leather outfits, seven inch platform boots, breathing fire, spitting blood, rockets, burning guitars and other live gimmicks.

The earliest known footage of KISS


The live album “KISS Alive!” made them superstars just two years later. The B-side ballad “Beth” from 1976’s “Destroyer” got them airplay on the radio. KISS were voted the most American band. After another live album, “Alive II” in 1977 and the “Double-Platinum” best of, the band decided to release solo albums by each member simultaneously in 1978. Surprisingly, lead guitarist Ace Frehley had the most successful album and the only hit single of these albums, “New York Groove”, a cover version of Hello‘s song. All in all, that makes an output of ten studio, two live and one best of albums in just 4 years since the release of KISS’ debut album in 1974.

Madison Square garden 1977



1979 saw the band’s biggest hit to date, “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” of Dynasty”. It also marked the end of a period as drummer Criss left the band after the tour in support of the album. He already was replaced by session drummer Anton Fig for the recordings. Later,Eric Carr, The Fox, took his place as the new drummer. Being more of a Disney version of a hard rock or metal band, the hardcore fans turned away and the next two albums made things worse until Frehley left, before “Creatures Of The Night” turned the tide 180° in 1982.

And then came this

KISS’ Lead guitar trouble

Egocentric Vinnie Vincent as the Ankh Warrior brought his songwriting skills and sadly more ego than the band could handle, so he was forced to leave after the “Lick It Up” album. This album marked the end of the make-up section in 1983, which would last until 1996. Vincent was eventually replaced by Mark St. John and later on Bruce Kulick, brother of Meat Loaf‘s guitarist Bob Kulick, who had been around the band since 1973 when Frehley joined. So the circle had come full circle.

Eric Carr’s last appearance

KISS’ Comeback and Death

Nevertheless, KISS again suffered from a lack of direction. Other projects were more important for Simmons. Stanley was left alone to steer the band through stormy waters and fight back the new generation of metal bands. KISS from 1985 to 1996 was a sometimes unfortunate mixture of defining their own role, chasing success, album sales, etc. until the return with “Revenge” in 1992 and the hit single “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II”, a semi-cover of Argent‘s song. Let’s call it “re-arranged and value added”. For this album, Eric Carr, who later died of cancer, was replaced by Eric Singer from Alice Cooper’s live band.

KISS Reunion

After the MTV unplugged concert in 1996 with Criss and Frehley as guests and “part of the family”, the sensation was there: The reunion of the four original members and the return of the make-up. Their first live performance was at the 1996 MTV Music Awards later that year:

KISS Becoming their own cover-band

A worldwide tour followed, and the release of “Psycho Circus” was “natural”, but the album turned out to be another fake, with Frehley and Criss not involved in the recordings of most of the songs. Eventually both left the band in 2002 and 2004 to be replaced by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, who returned. Both took over the make-up and stage outfits. Since then KISS have released only two more albums and continue to tour as a kind of their own cover band.

KISS, Merch-Kings

Most of the gimmicks are still the same as in the 70s, although updated and modernised. The newer songs are hardly respected by the fans. The old hits of the first six albums are still the stuff the audience wants to hear and see the most. Tours and merchandise make KISS one of the biggest money machines and cash cows in the music industry. In fact, KISS is the band that brought merchandising to a new level and all the current and future superstars have learned from Stanley and Simmons how to do it right or never.

The final Rock and Roll All Nite

KISS End Of The Road

The final KISS – End Of The Road tour kicked off on 31 January 2019 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada and ended on 2 December 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. So here it is, the last “Rock And Roll All Nite” and party every day. Even though I had my hard times with the band and as a die-hard Frehley fan refused to see them live after his departure, I bow down, or rather, as sung in “God of Thunder”, “kneel before the god of thunder and rock and roll”.

KISS, The next level

KISS, that’s it, enjoy your retirement, you deserve it after 50 years, and let cover bands and your avatars keep the legend alive! They will proof that KISS – End Of The Road is no dead end street but the door into the future!




Please buy merch and physical music or downloads  from the bands official sources and don’t stream music for free because it steals your artists’ income

proof reading by DeepL

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