When Kiss Introduced the Kiss Kasket
The question of how to prove your Kiss Army membership in the afterlife was definitively answered with the summer 2001 debut of the Kiss Kasket. Turns out, when it comes to loving the world's most-merchandised band, you can take it with you.
"This is the ultimate Kiss collectible," Gene Simmons said at the time. "I love living, but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good."
Hailed as one of the 10 greatest moments in Kiss marketing by Fortune magazine, the casket was completely covered with a specially laminated photomural that featured the Kiss logo and images of the band members. Before, people might have used the words "Kiss Forever" without a thought of the real-world implications. When you see it imprinted on the side of this merchandise, it means something.
But why wait to use your Kiss Kasket? The original promotional campaign encouraged still-living buyers to employ it as a giant Kiss cooler, "enabling fans and their friends to enjoy ice-cold sodas and beer served directly from the ice-filled, completely waterproof Kiss Kasket."
The cost of the original version, which was available from 2001-08, was about $3,300. (An urn was created too.) A second-generation, limited-edition model was announced in 2011.
By then, the price was closer to $4,000. The Kiss Kasket had also become a part of metal lore, since guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was buried in one – donated by Gene Simmons himself – after the Pantera legend was senselessly murdered on stage during a 2004 performance in Columbus, Ohio.
“There were a limited number made and I sent mine to the family of 'Dimebag' Darrell," Simmons said in 2010. "He requested in his will to be buried in a Kiss Kasket, as he sort of learned his rock ‘n’ roll roots by listening to us, for some strange reason.”
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