KISS Kulture

Oct 23 2011
During the summer I sent in a letter about seeing KISS rock the Poconos. My parents surprised me a month later by booking the KISS Kruise as my 21st birthday present! It was the best experience and vacation of my life! My dad got to go on stage during the question and answer session to ask KISS a question. To my surprise, he starts to tell Paul how much I've loved him since I've been five years old. Paul gave him a guitar pic for me and I couldn't of been happier! This was our first cruise ever, and having it be a KISS cruise was just perfect. My dream came true of meeting KISS, and now I don't have to take any more pictures with my Paul Stanley card board cut out! ;) Thanks KISS, Sixthman, and all of the amazing KISS fans on board for this incredible experience. It was an honor to be amongst the KISS Army, KISS fans are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Hope to do this again next year!


Oct 23 2011

On October 15th, The Modesto Raiders held their Homecoming Football games and Events. All of the Cheerleading Teams did special Homecoming Cheers with different themes than the usual. The JV Team did their cheer to KISS' Rock And Roll All Nite, as well as donned the makeup of their favorite KISSers. It was a great time for all!!

Erik Cram

Oct 23 2011

Thanks to Joseph Martin for sending this photo of some Tar Heels fans that he spotted on Yahoo's homepage!
Oct 22 2011
Here's our friend Alexey drumming to "Rock and Roll All Nite" as the Catman!

Oct 22 2011
CLICK HERE to visit Spin Magazine's KISS Kruise Photo Gallery

In the photos:

Catch a Chilling Starchild:
Steve Mitchell, a personal trainer from Phoenix, spent seven weekends working the Vegas strip as a Paul Stanley lookalike until he earned enough money to sail away on the Kiss Kruise.

Dressed to Kill:
Kontestants from the Kiss lookalike contest. Their costumes were so convincing that people were taking their photos as if they were the Gods of Thunder themselves!

Tommy Dearest:
Andy Moyan and his wife Deb show off his Tommy Thayer get-up. Andy is renowned as a Kiss superfan and was recognized as such on the boat all weekend.

Bjorn This Way:
A special cocktail party for members of the Kiss Army, which included wrestler Edge.
Oct 21 2011
Kiss Kruise: Three Ultimate Kiss Army/Navy Fan Experiences

By Reed Fischer
Photo by Ian Witlen

One young Kiss Army member put it best when he said, "All other music fans are measured against Kiss fans." With about 2,000 diehards aboard the Carnival Destiny -- many of whom never considered taking a cruise previously -- a weekend voyage dubbed the Kiss Kruise proved to be the ultimate test of this fan base's dedication.

It was surprising that pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman was nowhere to be found on the very first Kiss Kruise. Few people -- save official biographers Ken Sharp and David Leaf, and prolific author/bassist Gene Simmons -- have published such passionately written accounts of the band over the years.

Klosterman devotes much of a chapter of his 2005 book Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story to a road trip through Montana in which he excitedly listened to all four "unloved" 1978 Kiss solo records -- each titled after an individual member of the band -- back-to-back. He writes: "I love Kiss because the world makes sense when I think about them." And a large percentage of Kiss Kruisers feel exactly the same way.

When every person filling their plates in a buffet line, each vacationer dipping their toes in the cerulean waters surrounding Half Moon Cay, and, most of all, an entire fist-pumping crowd attending a trio of intimate Kiss shows is a member of the Kiss Army, it can be intimidating -- at first.

The hope is the Kiss Army is not be as hostile to "outsiders" as the face-painted fans of Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos. As a reference: at the 2010 Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, social media starlet Tila Tequila's face was bloodied, and Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man got a flying bottle to the forehead. Not that the Kiss Army was expected to be a violent bunch, but would a reporter and photographer who love the undeniably sappy Kiss song featured in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey be a welcome addition?

Read the rest of the story at the New Times.

Oct 20 2011
KISS and Fan Mosaics Team Up to Make KISStory with Fan-Inclusive Photo Mosaics

Fans Can Become One with Their Favorite Classic KISS Members in Limited-Edition Prints

Northfield, Ohio—October 20, 2011—The roar from the KISS Army is about to get louder.

KISS and Fan Mosaics, LLC, are working together to bring KISS fans closer to their heroes than ever before. All four original KISS members, plus the iconic rhinestone logo from the band’s first album, will be featured in limited-edition KISS photo mosaic prints composed entirely of fan-submitted images.

“We’re taking the amazing cover of the original 1974 KISS album and rebuilding it as five individual mosaics, using fans’ photos as the building blocks,” says Rob Hixenbaugh, Fan Mosaics’ director of fan & brand development. “This means the high-quality collector’s prints will feature the fans’ own photos as well as their favorite KISS image.”

Fans can upload their photo for inclusion in the officially licensed KISS mosaics at . Choices include the original Demon, Starchild, Spaceman, Catman, and the logo, as well as the Deluxe Edition Set of all five.

“Here’s a chance for our fans to create classic KISS memorabilia their way!” says KISS co-founder and front man Paul Stanley. “The KISS Fan Mosaics are the perfect way for the KISS Army to stand shoulder to shoulder and face to face with us.”

“These 24"x36" prints, each containing photos from only 2,500 fans and detailed with silver metallic ink, are an impressive and personal KISS item,” added Janet Dwoskin, executive director of licensing with Live Nation Merchandise. “They make great gifts or additions to any KISS collection.”

Northfield, Ohio-based Fan Mosaics, LLC, is the bridge that connects fans and stars. The company’s officially licensed celebrity photo mosaics—composed entirely of fan-submitted images—are a unique and lasting outlet for fans’ enthusiasm and loyalty. Entertainers in all industries choose Fan Mosaics to thank fans for their dedication, and charities partner with Fan Mosaics to raise funds for their worthwhile causes. Visit to view completed and current projects and to learn more about the Fan Mosaics creation process.

Oct 20 2011
By Reed Fischer
Photo by Photo by Ian Witlen

KISS Kruise
The Palladium Lounge, Carnival Destiny
Saturday, October 15, 2011

When a person says "P.S., I Love You" on the Kiss Kruise, it's more than likely referring to the group's singer, Paul Stanley. Without devoting several paragraphs to the power of his pouting, puckered red lips and backhand pick-tossing, let's leave it that he was one fierce bitch for the second full-makeup show this past Saturday night.

"Strutter," which Stanley reminded the crowd was a song on the band's original demo, awakened a story about the New York of yesteryear -- a time of leather and lace. But Stanley had the hip swivels to rival any woman of that era for a few seconds during the second full-makeup performance of the cruise.

"We decided we're doing this again next year," he announced early on while the boat was docked in Nassau, Bahamas. "This is like camp on a boat!"

Click here to read the rest of the story at the Broward Palm Beach New Times
Oct 19 2011
By Scott Zamost and Poppy Harlow

LOS ANGELES (CNNMoney) -- ("KISS Inc." airs on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 8 and 11 pm ET as part of a CNN Presents hour.)

"My favorite piece of merchandising is me."

Gene Simmons, the co-founder of KISS, is taking us on a tour of his home office.

It's not so much an office, but a gigantic display of everything KISS, the band that started in 1973 and has grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

We're here to see many of the 3,000 items that KISS has licensed, from the coffin sitting locked on the floor, to the colorful condoms hanging on the wall.

"Everything begins with an idea," Simmons says. "How about when I was growing up, I used to eat M&Ms. And M&Ms, which are now in Wal-Mart, have our faces on them."

Inside the Simmons' mansion, with the panoramic panoply of merchandise, it's hard to figure out where to start.

The merchandise almost amounts to sensory overload: KISS footballs. Barbecue sauce. Teddy bears. Potato heads. Action figures. A flip cam.

"We have sold over 10 million KISS shirts in the last 15 years," says Dell Furano, president of Live Nation Merchandising, which licenses KISS merchandise. "A lot of these are just different variations of shirts. We have shirts for animals, shirts for newborns, we have shirts for toddlers, we have vintage shirts. And it all fits into the KISS show, the KISS experience. And if you go to a KISS concert now, it's remarkable. You see multi generations. A lot of it just comes from Paul and Gene, and what they've created."

In the last 15 years, KISS has sold more than a half billion dollars in merchandise all through Live Nation Merchandise, Furano tells CNN.

"Our only rule has been there's no rules," KISS co-founder Paul Stanley says during an interview at his home. "We make the rules. That's hard for some people to accept, but that's been the key to our success. That we don't listen to the status quo, and that we don't listen to what other people are doing. We trust our own judgment. We live by it, live by the sword, die by the sword. We have gotten poked a few times, but we've been victorious."

Victorious enough that KISS has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Oct 19 2011
If you were aboard the inaugural sailing of the KISS Kruise, you had the opportunity to take a photograph with KISS! These photos are now online and available to download at this link.

On the night of your photo, you received a card with a group number on it. Use this group number to retrieve your picture from this most momentous trip! And, if you'd like to make reprints of your photo, don't forget to download the photo release at the same link.

Pictured with KISS: Our friends and lifelong KISS fans Dale "The Demon" Torborg, his wife, Christi (Asya of WCW) and WWE champ Adam "Edge" Copeland.
Oct 19 2011
NASSAU, Bahamas--At first glance the thought of a Kiss cruise is tongue-in-cheek.

But when the first Kiss Kruise launched Friday from Miami, Fla. it was all business: rocking and rolling all night, wearing black and white face paint, and of course sticking your tounge out just like the wet carpet of Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

Its like I'm with 2,000 venus fly traps.

The four-day cruise, which concludes Monday has been so successful, it wouldn't be surprising to see it become an annual affair.

More than 2,000 people are on board the rugged Carnival Destiny (sounds like a stripper) representing 26 countries, according to a spokesperson for Sixthman, the Atlanta, Ga.-based promoter who has been designing musical themed cruises since 2001. I have met people from Brooklyn, N.Y., Scotland, Sweden, Colombia and Southern France.

What's not to like about a French Kiss fan?

Sixthman has partnered with Kid Rock, Lyle Lovett, John Mayer and even John Prine.

But there's been nothing like this with Kiss.

Just the Sunday itinerary includes a "Tattoo Social Hour," "Kiss Army Happy Hour," and a quarters drinking game hosted by metal band (and Kiss opening act) Skid Row.

You won't meet a guitarist with fangs named Nikki Sinn on a Lyle Lovett cruise. Friday night I had dinner with a guy and a girl who front Princess, a Lita Ford inspired glam band in Finland. It took them 22 hours to get to Miami.

Black shorts and white legs? Plenty aboard.

Kiss performed electric shows with make-up as they featured '70s rarities Friday and Saturday in the ship's Palladium theater. They also played an engaging 90-minute outdoor greatest hits unplugged set without makeup Friday as the ship left Miami.

They are something to see in the Caribbean sun.
Oct 18 2011
Kiss Kruise 2011: The Cover Story & My Paul Stanley Interview

By Reed Fischer
Artwork by Tristan Elwell

​Here's the masterful cover for our issue this week, which features an article breaking down bits of each day of the Kiss Kruise -- held October 13-17 on the Carnival Destiny. It's by yours truly, and features photography by Ian Witlen.

This story, and the continuing coverage that we'll be putting up throughout the week, would not be possible without the support of Sixthman, who put on the cruise.

One thing that didn't make it into the story worth mentioning was my impromptu interview with Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley.

Fortunately, our room was just down the hall from the cabins where the band stayed for the duration of the cruise. Every so often, there would be a loud commotion in the hallway as word traveled that Kiss would be walking through. People would stand in their doorways snapping pictures, and call out.

Prior to the Friday performance at the Palladium, Ian and I had just finished interviewing superfans Jamie Ross and Jackie Ram in their cabin, and I was walking back to our cabin by myself. Just as I was almost to my door, a friendly voice called out: "Hey, how's it going?"

I looked up, and Paul Stanley was towering over me in full makeup, rhinestone-coated attire, and his platform boots.

My response was pretty much what I'd say to anyone in that situation: "Not bad, how are you?"

"I'm having a great evening," was his reply. And thus concluded our interview. Admittedly, it was a bit of a softball question.

Click here to read the rest of the story at the Broward Palm Beach New Times
Oct 18 2011
By Reed Fischer
Photo by Ian Whitlin

The very first Kiss Kruise is now a wrap, but County Grind's recap of this past weekend's adventure has only just begun. As you can see, the newly chartered Kiss Navy is a passionate bunch -- for the band and each other. Photographer Ian Witlen and I wore our white captains' hats all weekend long and set a course for documenting as much of this experience as was humanly possible.

There are a lot of photographs and videos and stories to share from this groundbreaking weekend. As we empty out our whiskey-soaked notebooks and external hard drives covered in white paint, we'll add more...

Complete coverage of the KISS Kruise from the Broward New Times
Oct 18 2011
Here's a preview clip of "KISS Inc.: The band and the brand," an in-depth special that premieres on October 23rd at 8:00pm on CNN. Poppy Harlow goes inside the world of KISS for an exclusive look at the most branded band.

Oct 17 2011
We just disembarked the Destiny and checked into the Miami Doubletree for some high-speed internet access and a tiny bit of rest before our flight tonight. We had a total of six hours' worth of sleep over the past five days. (Next year, we plan on not sleeping at all!) We have loads of clips to post from the KISS Kruise, so stayed tuned to KOL!

KISSonline has been privileged to experience so many wonderful KISS moments over the years, but to date, this was the greatest KISS experience we've ever had! Hanging out with thousands of like-minded crazy KISS fans 24 hours a day, in all areas of the ship, was unbelievable.

We could easily do several of those "Priceless" Mastercard commercials based on our trip:

-A weekend with 2500 of your closest KISS fan friends from over 30 different countries...
- A luxurious ocean voyage on a grand cruise ship (with free 24-hour dining!)
- Plus the greatest rock and roll band ever... KISS playing three concerts filled with rarities?


The party NEVER stopped.

We have to share with you what a crazy day we had yesterday! Doc McGhee's Q&A session was so popular and so well attended that the ship set up an overflow room for fans to listen in via an audio feed, as the original room was hundreds over capacity. Doc's commentary was in-your-face, brutally honest, and he left no questions unanswered. After the Q&A he stayed to take photos with fans and sign autographs.

Next, KISSonline stopped by Eric's room to chat in the afternoon, and we told Eric that there were fans walking around near his door. Eric went out and held an impromptu meet-and-greet, signing autographs for stunned fans who happened to walk down his hallway!

As night rolled around, comedian Craig Gass entertained a packed house with his dirty KISS-themed stand-up routine, and Skid Row rocked the Palladium.

We ended the evening with a marathon session of KISS karaoke which ran long past the planned cutoff time. Fans of all ages belted out KISS classics in the ship's Disco. During karaoke, we also also held a surprise 40th birthday party for our friend and lifelong KISS fan Dale "The Demon" Torborg! With the help of his wife, Christi (Asya of WCW) and WWE champ Adam "Edge" Copeland (also a huge KISS fan!) as well as Rachel Bolan from Skid Row, Dale was completely caught off guard, and later confessed that he was just glad we didn't make him sing when he was called to the stage. The entire Destiny Disco was rockin' when Craig Gass brought the house down by closing out the night singing a hilarious, expletive-laden "Plaster Caster" in Sam Kinison's voice, along with Paul Stanley's guitar tech Fran Stewart and fans.

After the event, we went to the buffet to our favorite KOL posting location on the ship, Table 22 on the port side, where the ship's dismal internet connection was better... and there was also an electrical outlet on the wall (crucial to late-night KOL posting!) We had just started working when Craig Gass tracked us down and would not leave us alone, staying at our table past 4am! In addition to being a KISS fan and a nut, he's also a big pick collector and loved the custom KISS Kruise guitar picks! Hanging with Craig and talking all things KISS (Craig, of course, talked in Gene's voice) made the satellite internet connection's continuous service dropouts more tolerable. (We love you, Craig.) Man, that guy loves chocolate milk though. He downed six cartons of it in minutes.

We finally headed to our cabins with just enough time to pack and get ready to disembark the KISS Kruise. Sadly, our KISS dream holiday was coming to an end.

8AM came too quickly and it was bittersweet to have to say goodbye to so many friends, both old and new, from around the world this morning during the ship disembarkment. But it was such a sight to see thousands of fans sporting KISS shirts, coats, and even a few KISS monster boots waiting in the customs line. One customs agent said "This is the most exciting customs line we've ever seen!"

Already by the second day of the Kruise, the band was already talking about next year's KISS Kruise! Paul said he enjoyed himself so much at these shows playing songs that they don't often get a chance to play on tour.

We want to thank the incredible crew at Sixthman for their involvement in this special event that was unlike any other. We also need to thank you, KISS NAVY, for making this a tremendous success too. It is because of you that the guys enjoyed this event so much. We look forward to rockin' the seas again soon with our KISS family!
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