KISS Mourns Death Of Original Road Manager J.R. SMALLING

June 7, 2020

KISS's original road manager, J.R. Smalling, has died after a battle with bone cancer.

Smalling guided the fledgling KISS from 1974 through its breakthrough with "Alive!" and "Destroyer", and is perhaps most remembered for being the man who invented perhaps the most famous concert introduction in rock: KISS's famous "You wanted the best..." intro. It is Smalling's voice, in fact, who begins the band's 1975 double-disc "Alive!"

KISS confirmed Smalling's passing in a social media post Saturday night (June 6). The group wrote: "We were notified that JR Smalling has passed away after a long battle with cancer. JR was the voice you hear on KISS Alive! and introduced us with the battle cry that still brings us on stage. He was fiercely loyal, proud and did whatever necessary to make sure we could do our full show no matter who stood in the way. His spirit is with us to this day and we celebrate his memory and mourn this loss."

After Smalling was first diagnosed with cancer, he said: "If life on tour has taught me anything, it's that if you believe in yourself you can conquer just about anything. When KISS first started out on the road, absolutely no one believed in us, except the band and the crew. It was a grind at first, but we not only survived, we conquered...together! And that's what I plan to do with my family and friends, conquer cancer together."

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