Forty years ago in January 1973, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss held auditions for a lead guitarist for their new band. As the group took shape, they chose Ace Frehley. Paul suggested the name KISS, and the band was born. Later that month, KISS performed its first show on January 30 at Popcorn, a club in Queens, New York.
Four decades on, KISS is still rocking a legion of fans that number in the millions around the globe. Now 40 years strong, Paul, Gene, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer prepare for a "Monster" world tour in 2013.
Says Stanley: "My dream from the start was five years of glory with KISS. Along with Peter and Ace, we kicked doors open that stood in our way, and every band member who has stood with me at some point during these decades has played an essential part in turning that five year dream into a phenomenal 40-year reality. I thank each of you for your contribution to this milestone.
"Our journey and victories are a joy I also share with you, our fans who have always given us the freedom to stand and fall on our own terms, and we have done both with a grateful smile. For the past ten years, Tommy and Eric's pride and dedication have enabled Gene and I to reclaim and celebrate all that we have been, while continuing to move forward in a way that would have been impossible without them. I love playing with the band as it is today, and many of my proudest moments are tied to moments of magic we have created together in the studio and on the stage. I know we're ready to do it again."
Adds Eric Singer: "A special thanks to all of the fans who have been with the band on this roller coaster ride called KISS for 40 years! I am honored to be a part of this machine and pay special respect to all members past and present. I especially want to thank Paul, Gene, Tommy and [manager] Doc McGhee for giving me a place to call home. And most importantly the fans. YOU fuel this engine!"
States Tommy Thayer: "At 40 years strong, I'm proud to be in one of the greatest bands in rock history. KISS is a band that is as full of life and vitality today as it was 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. All eras of the band should be celebrated today. Long live KISS."
Says Gene Simmons: "To the Kiss Army — who made it all possible for us.
"To Paul, without whom I would never have been able to achieve my dreams.
"And to the band — past and present — for continuing to treat the stage as holy ground and the fans as our bosses.
"Here's to another 40 years!"