Kiss Lineup Changes: A Complete Guide
Rock and roll never dies, but as any fan can tell you, band lineups are a lot less permanent — and for groups that have been together for decades, the personnel shifts can be hard to keep track of. With that in mind, we’ve decided to take a band-by-band look at the ins and outs of some of our favorite acts’ rosters.
For our first installment, we’re looking at a band whose members initially hid their personalities and true identities in favor of dramatically oversized onstage personae — Kiss. During their four decade-plus long career, the “hottest band in the land” has undergone no less than 11 lineup changes. But odds are most casual fans remember only the four iconic makeup designs (the Demon, Starchild, Cat and Spaceman) the group debuted with back in 1973. While founding frontmen Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have remained at the core of each lineup, Kiss have employed five lead guitarists and three different drummers over the years.
The use of that makeup would ultimately allow Kiss to replace original guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss with new members (Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer) who assumed their predecessors’ visual identities. But before that controversial chapter in their history, there were plenty of hit songs, platinum records, pyrotechnics and buckets of stage blood … not to mention many other hirings and firings. Ladies and gentlemen, pucker up and make yourself comfortable for the Kiss Edition of our guide to classic rock lineup changes.