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Chaim Witz

July 29, 2010

I was browsing the obits the other day and I came across one for Bill Aucoin, who was the manager of KISS.

KISS was a weird band, and I didn’t know, or at least didn’t remember, the story of their founding/discovery:

Aucoin first saw Kiss perform in August 1973 at the Hotel Diplomat in New York. He recognised the potential of the band, previously known as Wicked Lester, and asked them to give him 30 days to get them a record contract. By September he had attracted the interest of Neil Bogart, who was starting up a label backed by Warner Brothers.

KISS became the first band to sign to Bogart’s Casablanca Records, and Aucoin moved them into a rehearsal space remembered by the singer and bassist Gene Simmons as a “rat-infested loft”. By the end of the year, the band had recorded their eponymous first album. They celebrated New Year’s Eve by playing on the same bill as Iggy and the Stooges.

Aucoin put each of the four members on a weekly salary of $75, urged them to share their profits equally and put the bill for their first tour on his credit card. KISS’s debut LP and its follow-up, Hotter Than Hell, only scraped into the Top 100 albums chart in the US in 1974, but the band quickly developed a reputation for their inventive live performances and striking personas.

Now I have to admit, since the obit author mentioned them, that I’m much more of an Iggy & The Stooges guy than I am a KISS guy.

I never really thought of KISS as real rock & roll. They were more of a pop/rock novelty act, but I guess that was the point with all the makeup and fireworks and whatnot. My best friend in 4th grade thought they were the best. Who was I to argue?

It probably didn’t help on the seriousness front that Gene Simmons’ real name is Chaim Witz.

This video of Detroit Rock City is awesome for a number of reasons, not least because it’s from the Paul Lynde Halloween Special:

And some Iggy just for fun:

10 Comments leave one →
  1. jco permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:23 pm

    KISS was awesome.

    • Fat Al permalink*
      July 29, 2010 4:31 pm

      Wait, is KISS supposed to be in all caps? If so, I’m going to have to edit this post. I would not want to be grammatically incorrect.

  2. July 29, 2010 3:36 pm

    Kiss have always been more entertainers than rockers in my humble opinion. However I’d have killed to see the Kiss/Iggy Pop concert. And Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have notoriously screwed whoever the other two members are in Kiss as time goes by as far as salary and profits go. And it doesn’t get much better than a Paul Lynde Halloween special! You go, Uncle Arthur!

    • Fat Al permalink*
      July 29, 2010 4:41 pm

      Well, I know Peter Criss was the cat guy. Who was the fourth guy? I’m too lazy to look it up. Wait, it’s coming to me, Ace Frehley. Space guy.

      • July 29, 2010 6:35 pm

        There’s also been a slew of guys replacing those two guys through the years. Chaim Witz sounds a little like a Jewish cheese spread.

  3. Kelly permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:14 pm

    My sister is going to see KISS in August & I asked her if Ace Frehley was back in the line up. She said she didn’t want to talk about it. It got weird.

    • Fat Al permalink*
      July 29, 2010 9:29 pm

      Is she face painting? Is that what people do at KISS concerts?

  4. Kelly permalink
    July 30, 2010 10:24 am

    Goddamnit, I hope not. Now I’m worried.

  5. July 31, 2010 2:46 pm

    to me…. (and hey, I’m just a monkey) KISS was like watching WWF wrestling. entertaining, but not anything I took seriously.

    why did I find it necessary to chime in on KISS? odd….

    so, anyway… just found your site from Marty’s site. very entertaining, in a non KISS/WWF sort of way.


    • Fat Al permalink*
      August 1, 2010 10:35 am

      Hey GM, thanks for stopping by.

      There’s just something about KISS that gets people talking…

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