They have been dismissed by critics, who have almost universally panned them, but through their many permutations, Kiss has had a faithful legion of fans (known as the Kiss Army). Those fans were mainly teenagers who thrilled to their live shows, full of dry ice and pyrotechnics, and the band's outrageous getups—black leather outfits with platform shoes and white pancake makeup depicting each as a character: Gene Simmons, the bat lizard; Paul Stanley, the star child; Ace Frehley the spaceman; and Peter Criss, the cat. Kiss's 23 consecutive gold albums ranks behind only the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Although the band gained its fame with hard driving rock and roll (“Rock and Roll all Nite”, “Detroit Rock City”), its most successful hits have been ballads (“Beth,” from 1976's Destroyer, which rose to number seven on the pop charts, and “Forever” from 1989's Hot in the Shade). During its heyday in the mid 1970s, Marvel comics released a Kiss comic book and Kiss action figures sold in toy stores. The departure of Criss from the band in 1980, followed by Frehley two years later, began a period of instability for the band. Kiss's appearance on a 1995 showing of MTV's Unplugged, for which Criss and Frehley returned for a couple of numbers, led to a reunion tour in 1996 and hopes for a new album. Other band members have included Eric Carr, Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, and Anton Figg.
Gene Simmons(Chaim Witz, Eugene Klein)
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
Paul Stanley(Harvey Eisen)
Birthplace: Queens, New York
Peter Criss(Peter Criscuola)
Ace Frehley(Paul Daniel Frehley)
lead guitarist, vocalist
Birthplace: Bronx, New York
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