Kiss was formed in New York in '72 by guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley (Stanley Eisen) and Gene Simmons (Gene Klein). The line-up was rounded out by drummer Peter Criss (Crisscoula), located through a Rolling Stone ad, and lead guitarist Ace Frehley (Paul Frehley), who answered an ad in the Village Voice. The band's cartoon image, kabuki makeup and 4th-of-July stageshow concept was in place from the start, and they began promoting their own hall shows in NYC. TV director Bill Aucoin saw them, became their manager, and secured a deal for them with Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records within two weeks.
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Three LPs were released in a year's time, but the live fourth LP, Alive! (1975) contained their first huge hit, "Rock And Roll All Nite." Until the early '80, Kiss was unstoppable, with two huge-selling Marvel Comics, a network TV movie and four simultaneously-released solo albums under their studded belts. In '80, Criss left for a solo career and since then, the drum and lead positions have been ever-changing. In '83, the band stripped away the makeup and celebrated renewed interest.
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