PAUL STANLEY Says KISS Avatars 'Will Look Nothing Like' They Did In Video Preview: 'They Will Be Mind-Bogglingly Realistic'

June 5, 2024

During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Allison Hagendorf Show", Paul Stanley praised the upcoming KISS avatar show, saying it will be "a must-see for everybody."

The technology being used for the KISS avatars, originally developed for ABBA's "Voyage" show in London, will allow KISS to stay "on the road" in retirement.

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".

Using cutting-edge technology, Pophouse Entertainment Group, which was founded by ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus, will create digital versions of KISS. The project was previewed at the final KISS show in New York in December 2023.

Regarding what the avatar show will look like, Stanley told "The Allison Hagendorf Show" (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Not what you saw [in the video preview]. It was a double-edged sword because we were showing people the avatars in their infancy. And they look, and will look, nothing like that. They will be mind-bogglingly realistic."

When host Allison Hagendorf noted that the preview video was "more of a sneak peek," Stanley said: "Yeah. And there's good to that and bad. People will look and go, 'Well, that doesn't look anything like them.' But what will be is incredible. The state of the art and what technology can do nowadays is incredible. There's a that's running outside London that sold out for three years, and it's an ABBA show. And Pophouse, the people behind that, are the people who are working with us. And that show is just incredible. And yet that technology is now old. So, George Lucas is involved with the avatars. And the people involved with it are really incredible."

Paul went on to say that "the idea" for the KISS avatar show "is not to do a KISS concert. The idea of, 'Whoa, that looks like a real amplifier,' that's this [narrow] kind of thinking," he explained. "We wanna create something that's a go-to and a must-see for everybody. KISS fans will love it, but other people who could care less about KISS will wanna see it. It's going to be mind-boggling. It's KISS and Cirque du Soleil and everything you can imagine on steroids. But it will really cross that bridge of what's real and what's not, and combine the two… It will be incredible. The idea that we're gonna simulate a live show — leave that to somebody else. We have no desire to do that. We wanna create KISS, which is something that breaks the rules, not lives within 'em."

In a recent interview with Henrique Inglez de Souza of Brazil's Rockast, Paul's KISS bandmate, bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, discussed the band's recent decision to sell its music catalogue, brand name and likeness to Pophouse. A biopic, an avatar show, and a KISS-themed experience are already in the works, with Simmons and Stanley playing key roles in the development of all these projects, working closely with Pophouse.

"There will be movies, cartoon shows, all kinds of things, but the avatars are the future of KISS," Gene explained. "And to say they're concerts is too small. It's bigger than that. And I don't wanna say too much. I'm not allowed to. Not yet."

Regarding KISS's apparent willingness to fully embrace modern technology, Simmons told Rockast: "Well, everything evolves. We didn't always stand up on two legs. A few million years ago, we were on four legs. Everything evolves, and you either evolve or you become obsolete or you die. So technology is here. A.I. is here. Virtual reality is here. Everything is here. And we don't wanna be yesterday's news. So even the end of something can be the beginning of something. But we're very excited — and proud. I keep saying proud, because that's what it is."

This past April, Simmons told People magazine that KISS's decision to sell its entire music catalog, likeness and brand name to Pophouse was the "natural thing" to do. "Life happens while you're busy making important plans," he explained. "We were planning our respectful, proud walking off into the sunset, because we've been touring, we had been touring for half a century.

"If you take a look at Mother Nature, you either evolve or you become extinct," he added.

While terms of the Pophouse deal were not officially announced, Bloomberg and Associated Press said it was worth upwards of $300 million. However, Simmons insisted that financial gain is "not what [the sale is] about. It's about enjoying life," while adding, "I'm certainly blessed."

In a separate interview with TMZ, Simmons defended KISS's plans for an avatar concert similar to ABBA's with digital versions of the group.

"A.I. [artificial intelligence] is here to stay," he said. "Technology is here to stay. And you either join in and try to adapt and try to figure out how that works with you or you're just yesterday's news in a very real way.

"Truthfully, KISS has stopped touring," he continued. "We will never tour as KISS again. However, the end is also the beginning. We're gonna do things that will blow your socks off. But we couldn't do this without our new best friends for life Pophouse. They're really remarkable people."

When the interviewer asked if fans will embrace the concept of a concert that is A.I.-driven and consists of nothing but holograms, Gene said: "It's not just, 'Okay, they're gonna show up on stage just like they did before, but it's holograms. No. That's an archaic term. Technology has advanced so far, you won't believe it.

"We spent some time at George Lucas's place and did motion capture stuff secretly," he continued. "We didn't talk to anybody — media or anything — about it, because we wanted this to be like nothing anybody's ever seen. And I will tell you, if you've seen the ABBA show in London, which is phenomenal, this is gonna be beyond anything you've ever seen.

"So the future is here, and with our friends at Pophouse, who are visionaries, we're gonna be doing things that no band and no musical — nobody's ever done before," Gene added. "Our events are going to be multi, I wanna say multidimensional. You just won't believe your eyes. Things are gonna be so much larger than life in front of you. You won't believe it. We've already seen the first fragments of that. It's just jaw-droppingly amazing."

Working closely with KISS, Pophouse will follow its unique, value-add approach of drawing upon its world-class, in-house creative and storytelling expertise to unlock new audiences and revenue streams. Pophouse will use its proven, industry-defining playbook to create new content and experiences to enrich the KISS catalog for fans, old and new, actively seeking to enrich and add value to the brands and artists it partners with. Inclusivity and community have always been vital to the KISS experience, and Pophouse is committed to nurture the close relationship between KISS and its devoted fans moving forward.

Johan Lagerlöf, head of investment at Pophouse, said: "KISS is one of the most recognized and iconic bands in the history of music. They redefined the concept of rock shows and have always taken their artistry to new uncharted territories. The band has consistently been able to appeal to new generations of fans and our mission is to fulfill the band's vision to become immortal, and to let new generations discover and be part of the KISS journey and carry it forward. With the help of the fans' energy, the band, our expertise, and creativity we will make that vision happen."

Per Sundin, CEO at Pophouse Entertainment, said: "KISS has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and has throughout their 50-year career continued to push the boundaries in popular culture. The band's enigmatic personas, unparalleled band attributes, and iconic imagery have made them a cultural force and a legendary act with multigenerational appeal. We will safeguard and enrich this legacy through future global endeavors, by breathing new life into their characters and personas while also leveraging and elevating the visual world of KISS."

As part of the partnership, Pophouse will create digital versions of KISS that will allow the band and their unique personas to live forever. The project, already underway, was previewed at the final KISS show in Madison Square Garden, New York on December 2, 2023, when, to the audience's surprise, KISS avatars closed the night with a rendition of "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" (resulting in international headlines). Through a magical combination of cutting-edge technology and unrivalled creativity, Pophouse will bring the full, authentic KISS experience to both existing and new fans for years to come. The avatar show is planned to launch in 2027.

Stanley said in a statement: "Our journey with Pophouse is fueled by the desire to eternally resonate across diverse facets of global culture. As we embark on this venture, we aim to weave our legacy into the tapestry of different worlds, ensuring that the KISS experience continues to captivate both our devoted fans and those yet to discover the thrill. This partnership is not just a chapter; it's an eternal symphony of rock 'n' roll immortality."

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