Kiss frontman Paul Stanley says that his band's decision early on in its career to wear stage makeup and dress up in wild outfits onstage was influenced by perhaps some unexpected sources -- namely, some of the seemingly more authentic bands of the British Invasion.

"We were in a time where there had been this great British Invasion where bands looked terrific, and when you saw a band invariably you knew that a member of the Stones wasn't in the Beatles because the Beatles looked one way and the Stones looked another way," Stanley recently told the Wall Street Journal. "All bands seemed to have their own calling card as far as identity." (Stanley's bandmate Gene Simmons recently bowed down before the alter of various British rock legends as well.)

"We wanted to take that a step further and the makeup seemed like the perfect way for each one of us to come up with a character that symbolized and embodied us as individuals," he continued. "Now that being said, no individual member of the band could've come up with their makeup without the other members there. There was a synergy that made all this happen."

As for the offstage anonymity one would assume Kiss were afforded by only appearing onstage in makeup, Stanley says the life of a Kiss member wasn't as "Clark Kent and Superman" as people would have thought. "If you see a guy walking down the street who six-foot plus with and black hair down to here and platform boots, you go, 'either he's a member of Kiss, or the circus is in town.' So, anonymity? No."

Of course, that's all moot now that Kiss are international superstars -- these days they probably would be recognized walking down most back alleys in Timbuktu.

Paul Stanley Explains the Origins of Kiss' Makeup

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