Doc McGhee Told Kiss: ‘Call Me When You Put the Makeup Back On’
Kiss manager Doc McGhee recalled how Gene Simmons would call him in the ‘80s to talk business, but he refused to work with the band when it wasn't using its signature makeup.
Their “unmasked” era began in 1983; McGhee first encountered them at that time as manager of Motley Crue, who were opening for Kiss. By the time of the classic Kiss lineup reunion of 1996, McGhee was managing them too.
“Gene would always call, well, maybe once or twice, and say, ‘I want to talk to you,’" McGhee told Pollstar in a new interview. “And I’d say, ‘Are you going to put the makeup back on?’ And he’d say no. And I’d say, ‘Call me when you put the makeup back on.’ So around ‘95 he called, and I asked, ‘Are you putting makeup back on?’ And he didn’t say anything, and I said, ‘I’ll be right over.’ They did real well with [1992 album] Revenge and all that, but it wasn’t Kiss! Their makeup was just such a big part of them.”
He noted the band "came out of Kabuki and comic books and things that allow them to be the person they wanted to, but couldn’t be without the makeup. They own it and they believe it. Whether or not you do or don’t like Kiss, you stand there at a show and you know they believe it. There’s not a lot of people who can own this stuff and people believe it. And Kiss taking on all these characters, that are not even themselves, they are able to now do the things that they couldn’t do in blue jeans and T-shirts.”
McGhee was asked about the suggestion that all surviving band members could take part in the final Kiss show, set to take place in July 2021. “It’s going to be great,” he replied. “It’s going to be worthy of the end of the road. It will be worthy to the 45 years of Kiss, the last month for sure. We want to celebrate everybody, and we might bring out all the former members. We’d like to. Nobody says, ‘We hate this guy;’ ‘We hate that guy.' We want everybody who wants to come out.”