The rock band KISS and American dream ideology

Publication Type:
Journal Article
European Journal of American Culture, 2018, 37 (1), pp. 19 - 37
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Intellect Ltd Article. This article is a collective effort on the authors’ part to remember KISS, one of the most important hard-rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s. Influenced by the glam-rock movement that preceded its rise, arguably KISS was the first major act in rock music history to present rock music as Entertainment Product first and music only second. We discuss the original, democratic concept of the Fab Four – Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter – as well as Gene Simmons’ and Paul Stanley’s subsequent American Dream ideology. We go on to analyse the current version of the band in the light of the original line-up and appearance. We find that the KISS fan base is divided with some fans accepting Simmons’ current view that the four masked personas can be utilized by anyone chosen by the band’s leadership; a second group that tries to correct the alleged historical injustices committed against former band members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss; and a third group that is cynical about the current version of KISS but finds it fruitless to rehash old debates (since any proffered solutions not supported by the current band leadership are unlikely to come to pass).
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