Band celebrates release of reunion album, Psycho Circus, and plans for world tour and other promotional events.
Contributing Editor Teri van Horn reports:
LOS ANGELES -- Decked-out in their trademark, studded-leather gear and outlandish makeup, flashing tongues and waving fists, Kiss bounded onto the red carpet in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre like a band of comic book/Kabuki superheroes.
On the eve of the release of Psycho Circus, their original lineup's first album in nearly 20 years, the glam-metal rockers staged a garish press event Monday to tell the world about their upcoming plans. Those include a new enhanced-CD, a world tour, television and movie appearances, a Kiss Internet service provider, a long-form video and a special, Halloween-night show with the Smashing Pumpkins.
"This [Halloween] show is gonna blow your mind," lead singer Paul Stanley told the crowd of media and 800 fans who gathered for the event.
The show, Oct. 31 at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium, will kick off Kiss' world tour. The Smashing Pumpkins will be the one-night-only opening act. Benefiting the Feed the Children charity, the "Psycho Circus World Tour" also will incorporate 3-D visual technology, as fans will be able to view the show through 3-D glasses.
"Be there or be square," ordered vampire-like bassist Gene Simmons.
As he sat at the far left of the press-conference table, Simmons frequently stuck out his famous, dragon-like tongue and picked up a pink hand-mirror and black eyeliner to touch up the bat-shaped design on his face. Meanwhile, movie-star-clad Stanley sat on the far right, periodically raising his name card to his face and puckering his red lips for the cameras. Lead guitarist and resident space-cadet Ace Frehley and feline drummer Peter Criss clowned around in the center.
At one point, in a jibe about the band's age, Frehley said he would be checking Criss' catheter on tour.
Dubbed "Kiss Live: The Ultimate Halloween Party," the Halloween-night concert will be aired live on FOX-TV, starting at midnight EST (the West Coast broadcast will be delayed), and cybercast live on the Pepsi website (www.pepsi.com).
Kiss, whose reunion outing was the top-grossing tour of 1996, also will guest star on an episode of FOX-TV's sketch-comedy series "Mad TV," scheduled to air just prior to the concert. They also plan to appear Oct. 30 in a Halloween episode of the sci-fi show "Millennium."
Many fans couldn't stop buzzing about the Halloween concert's pairing of Kiss with the Chicago-based, post-grunge supergroup Smashing Pumpkins. "It's going to be the best show in rock 'n' roll history," said Sarah Nichols, who was wearing a Kiss T-shirt and had her right eye decorated with makeup a la Stanley's trademark black star. "Just Kiss or just the Pumpkins is killer on Halloween. Together, it's gonna be beyond it all."
Psycho Circus, a rock opera powered by Kiss' brand of bombastic pop-rock 'n' roll, was released Tuesday (Sept. 22) on Mercury Records. The enhanced-CD will launch fans onto the Kiss Internet service provider, KISSONLINE.net, where they can get the latest Kiss news, graphics, interviews and a month of free Internet access.
"I have to read it because I'm an idiot," the crowd-pleasing Frehley cracked when Stanley delegated the explanation of the enhanced-CD news to him. "It's enhanced."
The album will be followed by a home video Oct. 20 and a long-form video called "Kiss: The Second Coming" on Nov. 17, a flick that documents the events leading up to the 1996 reunion tour.
Arriving at Mann's at 9 p.m., Kiss posed for photographers as their giant bubble-figures, a posse of Kiss impersonators and fans stood on the sidelines. Once the group had been led inside and taken backstage, the press-conference attendees were told to put on their 3-D glasses to watch a video of the album's title track. Fans screamed each time a fancy image created the illusion that it was emerging from the screen.
When the video was over, the curtain closed before reopening a second time to reveal the metal gods themselves, decked out in their traditional leather gear and makeup. As "Psycho Circus" played once again, Kiss posed for photographs. The towering Simmons showed off his ample tongue, while Stanley puckered for flashing cameras and Frehley and Criss reached out their hands and made dramatic faces at the cameras.
Once again, the curtains closed, reopening a final time a few minutes later to reveal Kiss sitting at a long table behind their name cards. The band took questions from the press before turning the forum over to fans, many of whom had waited in line since Monday morning to get into the theater.
"You've told us when you've loved it, and you've also told us when you haven't liked it, and we respect you for both," Stanley announced. "You people are the reason why we're here. You people make us look small --we're not worthy."
"We [in the band] have had our differences over the years, but when we get onstage, we have a great time," Frehley added. "There's a natural chemistry that we have which I can't explain ... But what really makes it special is when we get onstage and see your faces every night."
Kiss, who rose onto the rock landscape in the mid-'70s via such albums as Hotter than Hell and Dressed to Kill, also discussed their upcoming feature-film acting debut in the comedy "Detroit Rock City" for New Line Cinema. Named after one of Kiss' biggest hits, "Detroit Rock City" is a coming-of-age story set in 1978 about four teen-agers who embark on an adventure to get into a sold-out Kiss show. Kiss will play themselves.
At their Detroit show on New Year's Eve, the band will give away a custom-made, black sports car priced at $75,000, complete with chrome wheels, black crystal interior and seat inserts embroidered with "Kiss."
Fans can enter by calling 1-900-CALL KISS. The charge is $1.99 per call.