Few bands contributed to the rise of glam metal with such tenacity as KISS. While partially responsible for the style that would come to characterize glam metal, KISS exhibited a hard rock / metal sound that made their offspring appear weak. The group's tour and on-screen personas and costumes became more recognizable than the men underneath, as KISS became the poster children for hard rock in the United States. Minus two founding members, KISS marches on as timeless icons for rock and metal.
KISS was formed by bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley in New York City, circa 1972. After their band broke up, they saw an ad posted by a drummer in need of a band by the name of Peter Criss, eventually hiring Ace Frehly on guitar. Inspired by Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls, they began slowly creating an image fueled by elaborate costumes and theatrical-style makeup. Kiss was released in 1974 and was followed by a numerous promotional tour dates. However, the album didn't sell well enough to support the many onstage pyrotechnics and gimmicks that KISS used on concert dates. In an effort to capitalize on the popularity of their tour dates, KISS released a live album, titled Alive!, in 1975; the single "Rock and Roll All Nite" finally brought KISS stardom.
KISS experienced similar success with the release of Rock and Roll Over in 1976 and Love Gun in 1977; the latter album was certified platinum on the day of its release. By 1979, Peter Criss had become almost unable to drum on albums or on tour dates due to drug use. He was replaced by session drummer Anton Fig, who was later replaced by Eric Carr. Displeased with the concept album, Music From "The Elder", Ace Frehly left KISS in late 1983. He was replaced by guitarist Vinnie Vincent, who was eventually replaced by Tommy Thayer. With the 80s in full swing, KISS decided to drop their signature makeup and costumes in 1983, right before the release of Lick It Up; the album revitalized KISS' career and brought fans back to tour dates. However, the return of KISS' success wouldn't last long, as Eric Carr died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1991. After a period of mourning, drummer Eric Singer was hired and KISS released Revenge in 1992. Unfortunately for Singer, Peter Criss and Ace Frehly rejoined KISS in 1996 for reunion tour dates; it also included a new album, Psycho Circus, in 1998.
By 2004, Criss and Frehly had permanently left the band and were replaced by Singer and Thayer, with the new members adopting the older members' on-stage personas. KISS continued to play tour dates worldwide up through the release of Sonic Boom in 2009. The album received favorable reviews, setting the stage for KISS' 2012 album, Monster.
In 2013, Simmons and Stanley purchased a share of a team in the Arena Football League, eventually naming the Anaheim, CA based team the Los Angeles Kiss. The very next year, the original members of KISS were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, cementing their place in rock history. Due to the fractured nature of the band, there's no consensus on whether or not KISS will release any new music, but Stanley & Simmons have no plans to stop touring and bringing their pioneering music to new generations.