Friday, January 4, 2013

KISS @ 40: The Beginning 1973

KISS - Promo photo - 1973

KISS @ 40: Kiss Is Born

Kiss' first publicity photo taken in the stairwell at the 23rd Street Loft

KISS is born in New York City with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss in January 1973 after Paul and Gene disbanded their original band Wicked Lester. After Paul Stanley placed an ad in the Village Voice in December 1972 for a "Lead guitarist with flash and ability," Paul "Ace" Frehley auditions with one red and one orange sneaker, plugs in the middle of Bob Kulick's audition. After a week or two Ace garners the Lead Guitarist spot. KISS is now a four band unit and begins rehearsals in a loft on W. 23rd Street in Greenwich Village with empty egg cartons on the wall.

While the four, driving down Queens Boulevard, the band tries to come up with a name for the band. After several ideas are thrown around, Peter mentions he was once in a band called Lips. Paul blurts out "KISS" and the idea of the name was appealing to everyone in the band. KISS it was. With KISS now practicing their playing and material, KISS began playing small gig in and around the New York area, experimenting with and without makeup. They wanted a different look. They looked at band's like the Harlots of 42nd Street and the New York Dolls for inspiration. Instead of the transvestite look, which they tried during the early shows at the Coventry in Queens, KISS wanted to go for a more different look rather than the previous bands mentioned.

KISS' first debut show were two sets at the Coventry on January 30, 1973. At these shows, KISS began wearing makeup and experimenting in it. Gene wore white pancake and black around his eyes which later proved to be the direction of where the band actually took. Peter wore some makeup and Paul and Ace wore little to none.

The Set-List:
1st Show-Deuce/Watchin' You/Love Her All I Can/She/Simple Type/Keep Me Waiting/Life In The Woods/Baby, Let Me Go/Firehouse/Black Diamond.
2nd Show-Deuce/Love Her All I Can/Life In The Woods/Simple Type/Keep Me Waiting/Baby, Let Me Go/Watchin' You. (Set-List courtesy of KISS ALIVE FOREVER by Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs)

KISS continued to play the clubs through the rest 1973 at the Coventry, the Daisy (in Amityville, Long Island) as well as the 54 Bleeker Street Loft with New York bands, the Brats and Wayne County, who later became Jayne County. In June, KISS saw Alice Cooper at Madison Square Garden and inspired them to incorporate theatrics in their shows. KISS was beginning to evolve.
to be continued...

KISS at the Coventry, 1973 "Deuce"

Gene and Paul talk about Ace's audition, 1992

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