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Kiss, Behind The Makeup [VIDEO]

Peter Cade/Central Press/Getty Images

Today, marks the fortieth birthday of the band formerly known as Wicked Lester. It’s hard to believe that these guys ever had a hard time seeking out huge venues, but the truth is they once played to a “crowd”  of three… Yes I said three. 

How awesome would it have been to be one of the three that can say they saw the first ever Kiss show? And that they saw them before they were sporting the now famous makeup! That didn’t come until a few weeks later when they played a show in Amityville, New York.

According to founding member Gene Simmons, they knew they wanted to stand out and do something different even at the first show under the new name. In an interview in the 90′s, Simmons tells how the band came up with the idea, and what it took for them to pull it off and stand out and apart.

Simmons told the fanzine Porkchops and Applesauce,  “there was a very big glitter scene, going on in New York, where boys were basically acting like girls and putting on makeup, all the skinny little guys, hairless boys were already Well, we were more like football players; all of us were over 6 feet tall, and it just wasn’t convincing! The very first pictures we took when the band first got together, we looked like drag queens. But we knew we wanted to get outlandish. We weren’t a Grateful Dead kind of band that would get onstage and look worse than the roadie delivering our stuff. Which doesn’t negate what the Dead and other bands were doing; it just wasn’t us. Getting up onstage was almost a holy place for us, like church, so being onstage looking like a bum wasn’t my idea of respect. That’s where the makeup and dressing up came in. It would have obviously been a lot easier to get up onstage in jeans and T-shirts and go, ‘Okay, here we are–we’re the Ramones!’ And that would have been just as valid, but it would not have been honest.”

And that formula obviously worked, because now forty years later these guys are still raking in the bucks and selling out stadiums.

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