GENE SIMMONS: How PAUL STANLEY Came Up With KISS Band Name
June 11, 2021
In a new interview with WFSB's program "Better Connecticut", KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons was asked how the band came up with its name nearly five decades ago. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I couldn't drive in my early 20s — I didn't start driving till I was 34, 'cause in New York you just took cabs — and Paul [Stanley, KISS frontman] was driving myself in his beat-up Mustang or something. Myself and I think it may have been Peter [Criss, original KISS drummer] or maybe Ace [Frehley, original KISS guitarist] in the back of the car. And we were trying to think of a name. And I said why don't we call the band the word 'F', which you can't say on stage. And the first album could be called 'It', like 'F It'. The second record could be called 'You', [like] 'F You'. And the third record could be called 'Us', [like] 'F Us'. 'Yeah, kind of cool. How about that?' And we started laughing. And I don't know if he was half serious or not, but Paul said, 'Yeah, let's call ourselves KISS.' And we went, 'Woah, woah, woah, woah. What did you say?' And we just got it right away. Whatever happened happened naturally. There were no marketing companies. We didn't even know what that was. Kiss — yeah, everybody on earth knows what that is. It's universal — the kiss of death, the kiss of life, and all that stuff. And so it just felt right."
Stanley offered his version of how KISS came up with its name in a March 2021 interview with Australia's The Project. He said: "I thought that it was something that would sound familiar no matter where you were in the world. It was the kind of name where a word like that, you would go, 'Oh, I've heard of KISS.' And it also had so many different meanings — a passionate kiss, a kiss of death, whatever. So it was a word that I think was open to interpretation. And I guess it worked, right? We're here, what? 48 years later — something like that. But who's counting?"
It was previously reported that Stanley — born Stanley Harvey Eisen — came up with the name KISS after Criss mentioned he was in a band called LIPS. Stanley and Simmons started a band called WICKED LESTER in 1972, which later became KISS.
KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"End Of The Road" was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but is now expected to last well into 2022.
KISS last performed this past New Year's Eve in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The concert broke Guinness world records for highest flame projection in a music concert and for most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert.
KISS's current lineup consists of original members Stanley and Simmons, alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).
KISS hasn't released a full-length disc of new music since 2012's "Monster", which sold 56,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 3 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous LP, "Sonic Boom", opened with 108,000 units back in October 2009 to enter the chart at No. 2. It was KISS's highest-charting LP ever.