TOMMY THAYER Says Las Vegas Is A 'Strong Contender' For KISS Avatar Show

May 23, 2024

Tommy Thayer says that Las Vegas is "a strong contender" for the KISS avatar show.

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.

KISS's avatar show will follow "ABBA Voyage", which features three-dimensional renderings of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad performing hits like "Chiquitita" and "Fernando" backed by a 10-piece band. London's ABBA Arena, which seats about 3,000 people, was built specifically for this show, featuring LED screens and 291 speakers to deliver surround sound.

Thayer, who joined KISS in February 2003, stepping into the boots the band's original guitarist, Ace Frehley, discussed KISS's plans for the avatar show in a new interview with the U.K.'s The Sun. Speaking at the Keep Memory Alive annual Power Of Love gala in Las Vegas this month, he said: "A show like this needs a theater which is built specifically for the show, so we have to decide where it's going to be. And there's considerations about New York, Singapore, Dubai, London, of course, but Las Vegas as well is a strong contender. And I'm a big fan of Las Vegas. This is where I live. So I can see something like that possibly happening here, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Last month, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons defended the band's plans for an avatar concert similar to ABBA's with digital versions of the group, telling TMZ: "A.I. [artificial intelligence] is here to stay. 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 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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