According to NWAnews.com, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, co-founders of the rock band KISS, made a surprise stop at the at the 39th annual Wal-Mart shareholders meeting Friday (June 5) in Fayetteville, Arkansas, fueling speculation that the next KISS album will be a Wal-Mart exclusive. Though they didn't perform, a camera crew from Simmons' A&E TV show "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" followed him around Bud Walton Arena.
There has been no official confirmation of a KISS deal with Wal-Mart, although artists such as THE EAGLES and AC/DC have both issued recent albums exclusively through the giant retailer. In addition, AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry may have inadvertently let it slip that the band's next studio album will come out exclusively through Wal-Mart. When asked in an interview with Entertainment Weekly about the album being delayed by Perry's and singer Steven Tyler's medical problems, Perry replied, "This is about the third time I've had to make excuses why the record isn't out. You line everything up just right: Brendan O'Brien producing, Wal-Mart and Sony screaming for the record, tour coming up, and there's no record. We're still in shock that it's not happening."
Whereas Best Buy's exclusive deal for GUNS N' ROSES' "Chinese Democracy" involved a marketing campaign centered solely on the album, Wal-Mart saw AC/DC's "Black Ice" as a way to sell more than music. The company hawked AC/DC T-shirts and an exclusive AC/DC version of MTV Networks' Rock Band videogame.
"As we looked at AC/DC's loyal fan base, that's when this idea came about: How do we pull in the music with other things?" Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's senior vice president for entertainment and electronics, told The Wall Street Journal in a December 2008 interview. "Some artists allow you that opportunity."
In a recent interview with Wags & Elliott of the Columbus, Ohio radio station QFM96, Gene Simmons stated about KISS' forthcoming CD, "[It's the] first studio album in 11 years. And you can't force those things — either it's in your blood and it's happening or... This is, I have to say... this might be the best new record we've done since 'Destroyer'. In fact, it has a similar sound — 'Rock And Roll Over'-meets-'Love Gun' kind of a record. That's coming out in September/October, and then we're gonna be doing a 60-city American tour."