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October 16, 1996 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-16

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 16, 1996

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* Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Arts Editor
With makeup caked on and pyrotechnics blazing, the four
original members of the theatrical rock band Kiss are back
together for one of the year's most anticipated world tours.
After playing together for a taping of MTV's "Unplugged"
last year, the infamous Gene Simmons (bass / vocals), Paul
Stanley (vocals /guitar), Peter Criss (drums) and Ace Frehley
(lead guitar) were able to look past the differences that split
up the band years ago, and decided to reunite to rock the
world with a monster tour.
"In the '70s there were a lot of
demons out there,' Frehley said in a p
telephone interview with The Michigan
Daily. "Luckily we're all. survivors.
We've cleaned up our acts and it's
enabled us to communicate better as a Ton t and
band. We're getting along better now AtthePali
than we ever have. We really enjoy what
we're doing, and we're more on the same wavelength.
"Everybody seems to be keeping their egos in check,"
Frehley continued. "We're all older and more mature now and
look at it more of a business than anything else."
This time around, the guitarist said Kiss is more cohesive
than it has ever been. Frehley said weaning off alcohol has
helped the band to overcome many of the problems that led
to Criss' departure from the band in 1980 and Frehley's leav-
ing the band two years later.
"I'm not half-crocked when I walk out on stage anymore and
I remember what happened yesterday, you know - no more
blackouts," Frehley said. "If I'm inebriated and somebody
isn't, it's hard to carry on a conversation. Now that I don't
drink, my relationship with Paul and Gene is much better.
"You get to a point in your life where you realize, and I
think my kid had a lot to do with it - having a child and hav-
ing to be a role model, there's
no way I can walk around
being a drunk. It just didn't
work," he said. "How can I
tell my kid not to drink if I
get blasted?"
Kiss fanatics have always
been known for being true to
their idols. While Simmons
and Stanley continued on
with Kiss after the departure
of Frehley and Criss, the
band's fans have always
yearned for the classic Kiss
days. Kiss maniacs eat up
memorabilia, go to Kiss con- {
ventions and pledge alle-
giance to the Kiss Army. So
when the band announced it1
would reform with its origi-
nal members, the news was a
dream come true for many
Kiss fans.
"When I was on my own
and fans would come back-
stage to sv 'hi' t ome. the


"When we did Unplugged,' it was kind of an experiment
when Paul and Gene invited me and Peter to do a couple of
songs with them,' Frehley said. "We realized after doing that,
that we still have this chemistry that we really can't put our
fingers on - but there is a chemistry that the four of us have
that we can't explain that just happens when we get on stage
Now that they're back together and on tour, Frehley said
today's Kiss shows surpass even the legendary performance
of the band in its heyday. "It's bigger and better than it was i7
the late '70s, due to technology proba-
bly," Frehley said. "We have the ability
E V I E W to have huge video screens, computer-
ized lighting - we can give'the kids
KISS more of a show."
Throughout the life of the band, peo-
norroAubt 8 Hil ple have questioned whether Kiss was
about music as much as it was about its
live performances. Critics have
claimed the band's music is shallow and bland and credited
Kiss' cult status to the makeup and not the music.
"It really doesn't bother me why people come to see me
whether it's because I'm wearing makeup or it's because they
think I'm a good guitar player," Frehley said. "They kind of
go hand in hand. When I wear the makeup and put on the co-
tume, it's kind of bigger than life. It's fun again and we're all
having a good time. I'm getting vicarious pleasure out of see-
ing young kids gets off on it and seeing my daughter who
never got a chance to see me play with Kiss in the late '70s."
When Kiss began congealing in 1973, the band's stage
wear, comprised of makeup and costumes, was always arn
integral part of the band and its performances.
"All of us basically decided from day one when we first got
together that we were going to wear makeup and be a theatri-
cal band," Frehley said. "We just weren't exactly sure what we
were going to look like.
(The characters) are our
alter-egos. We all designed
our own character and
makeup and developed the
character over the years."
Coming back to Detroit
is always a special occasion
for Kiss. While the ban*
hails from New York, it was
Michigan that gave Kiss its
big break. "Detroit was a
special town for us and still
is," Frehley said. "Even
though we were from New
York, when we were play-
ing two- or three- thousand
-seat halls in other parts of
the country, and even in ou0
hometown, we were head-
lining at Cobo Hall which
is like a 12,000-seat hall.
For some reason, we broke
out of Detroit. For a while
in the -early days, people
thought we were a Detroit-


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