KISS's original road manager, J.R. Smalling, has died after a battle with bone cancer.
Smalling guided the fledgling KISS from 1974 through its breakthrough with "Alive!" and "Destroyer", and is perhaps most remembered for being the man who invented perhaps the most famous concert introduction in rock: KISS's famous "You wanted the best..." intro. It is Smalling's voice, in fact, who begins the band's 1975 double-disc "Alive!"
KISS confirmed Smalling's passing in a social media post Saturday night (June 6). The group wrote: "We were notified that JR Smalling has passed away after a long battle with cancer. JR was the voice you hear on KISS Alive! and introduced us with the battle cry that still brings us on stage. He was fiercely loyal, proud and did whatever necessary to make sure we could do our full show no matter who stood in the way. His spirit is with us to this day and we celebrate his memory and mourn this loss."
After Smalling was first diagnosed with cancer, he said: "If life on tour has taught me anything, it's that if you believe in yourself you can conquer just about anything. When KISS first started out on the road, absolutely no one believed in us, except the band and the crew. It was a grind at first, but we not only survived, we conquered...together! And that's what I plan to do with my family and friends, conquer cancer together."
We were notified that JR Smalling has passed away after a long battle with cancer. JR was the voice you hear on KISS Alive! and introduced us with the battle cry that still brings us on stage. He was fiercely loyal, proud and did whatever necessary to make sure we could do our pic.twitter.com/mIB1meAMuC
— KISS (@kiss) June 7, 2020
full show no matter who stood in the way. His spirit is with us to this day and we celebrate his memory and mourn this loss.
— KISS (@kiss) June 7, 2020
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).