The fire-breathing band comes to the End of the Road
After more than 50 years of making music, the end of the road is nigh for heavy metal rock band KISS and A&E Network is marking the occasion with a two-part documentary upcoming on “Biography.”
The four-hour installment titled “KISStory,” premiering Sunday and Monday, June 27 and 28, chronicles the career of the band that sold more than 100 million records, packed concert venues worldwide for more than 40 years and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 through archival footage, home movies and intimate interviews with founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, as well as comments by musicians Dave Grohl and Tom Morello, manager Doe McGhee, music producer Bob Ezrin and others. Current and past band members Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss also appear.
Of course, chemistry is at the heart of any great enterprise and KISS is certainly no exception. Stanley and Simmons have known each other since the late 1960s when both were struggling New York City musicians and Stanley points to one quality they shared that made their collaboration so successful.
“Pragmatism,” he says. “Gene from the beginning drove me crazy. That’s my choice. I mean, he drove me crazy because I chose to stay and I wanted him to be someone he wasn’t. But to be pragmatic, I certainly understood that I was far stronger with him than without him. And if he didn’t know that, I did. You know, I knew that for my own success and for my own progress, we should be together. So that was purely a decision based upon my wanting to succeed and knowing that Gene would be a major ingredient in that happening.”
And he says, there was a certain friendly competitiveness between them.
“We challenged each other creatively,” he says. “If he wrote a song that I thought was good, I had to write a song that was that good or better. And yeah, we mirrored each other in really good ways. You know, all positive.”
As KISS this summer resumes its End of the Road Tour, signaling their final live shows, this documentary gave Stanley the chance to look back on the band’s career. He’s proud of the band’s body of work and he thinks this film will give fans a different view of KISS.
“I think for people to see us sitting around talking to each other about our relationship and about the time is something you don’t see often,” he says. “I do believe that many times people have seen us together, there’s a certain shtick to it and there’s a certain quality of entertainment, whereas this is much more intimate and much more personal. So to be looking back on the band and our friendship, which goes back now 52 years, that’s pretty heady stuff. … It’s everything I hoped it would be at this point.”