PAUL STANLEY: KISS Fans 'Got The Wrong Impression Initially Of The Avatars'
January 18, 2024
In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Paul Stanley commented on the skepticism from some of the KISS fans with regard to the band's recent announcement that the legendary rockers will continue as digital avatars. The technology, originally developed for ABBA's "Voyage" show in London, will allow KISS to stay "on the road" in retirement.
The four members of KISS played their final show as humans at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 2 and revealed they would be continuing as avatars — to be deployed in ways yet to be revealed.
"One thing that's interesting is people, I think, perhaps even understandably, got the wrong impression initially of the avatars," Paul told Ultimate Classic Rock. "Because at the Garden shows, we wanted to give people a glimpse of some of the things, or one of the things, that's to come. But the avatars are really in their infancy. They're far from where they'll end up in terms of look and purpose. The purpose, ultimately, is not that we're being replaced by flying avatars. It's just another way of diversifying what KISS is."
He continued: "Quite honestly, many times in the last 50 years, people have scratched their heads about what our plans were. And nine out of 10 times they've been successful, and other people have followed. So that's nothing really new.
"We're in a fortunate position and a unique position of being a band that can do things that other bands can't do," Stanley added. "So to not explore and take advantage of many of them would be, I don't know, ridiculous, and also, really, at this point, mystifying. We've worked this hard to create four icons, and a band that's iconic in so many different ways, and to not diversify and maximize what we've created, we'd be crazy."
Earlier in the month, KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer told Guitar World magazine about the avatars: "It'll take some time to get the imagery where we want it to be. I haven't really thought about what it all means in the big picture, but with technology evolving as quickly as it is, there's no doubt that this is the direction a lot of entertainment is going."
Last month, KISS revealed that fans will apparently have to wait more than three years to see the band's first avatar performance. On December 22, KISS released a short video announcing that "a show" featuring the KISS avatars "is coming" in "2027". The band captioned the clip: "50 years is a long time, and what the future holds is in the making."
The KISS avatars were created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and were financed and produced by the Swedish company Pophouse Entertainment, which is behind "ABBA Voyage".
Earlier last month, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said that "about 200 million" dollars is being invested into the KISS avatar show.
Unlike the "ABBA Voyage" show, which recreates a 1970s-era ABBA concert in a custom-built London arena, KISS's avatars that appeared at the band's final concert in New York in early December will not be as grounded in reality as ABBA's digital replicas. According to BBC News, the KISS avatars will see the band appear as fantasy-based superheroes who are eight feet tall, breathing fire and shooting electricity from their fingers, while floating above the audience.
No further details have been announced yet for KISS's plan with the band's avatars. "We're going to figure it out after the tour," Pophouse CEO Per Sundin said prior to the final show at Madison Square Garden. "Is it a KISS concert in the future? Is it a rock opera? Is it a musical? A story, an adventure? These four individuals already have superpowers. We want to be as open as possible."
The avatars will now be available for live shows around the world and in digital online settings, which some people collectively refer to as the metaverse.
KISS will reportedly become the first American band to go fully virtual and stage its own avatar show.
JOCOUP Creative, an experiential design firm co-founded by former Universal Creative director Thierry Coup and BRC and Universal Creative alumni Johanna "Jojo" Atilano, is also involved in the project. Coup has been announced as creative director of the KISS avatar show.
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