Founders Award

KISS

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS


KISS

KISS

KISS

KISS

Songwriters...
Showmen...
Rock and Roll Icons...
Whose Songs Have Inspired the
World to Rock and Roll All Nite for 40 Years and Counting

What would the world do without KISS? Who would fill that gap for hard-rocking, firebreathing, cosmic-kabuki-makeup-wearing musical firebrands if they never existed? Luckily, we don’t have to answer those questions. Over 40 years after they first donned their trademark facepaint, the four intergalactic rock heroes in KISS are still bringing their music to the masses and setting sales records around the world. ASCAP is proud to honor KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley with its Founders Award.

Formed in New York City in December of 1972, KISS rose to prominence in the mid and late 1970s thanks to their elaborate live performances, which featured firebreathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars and pyrotechnics. The original lineup of Paul Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar and vocals) and Peter Criss (drums, percussion and vocals) defined the classic KISS look and sound that has remained ‘til today. With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personae of comic bookstyle characters: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley) and Catman (Criss).

Following a period of lineup changes, KISS abandoned the makeup in 1983 and enjoyed a commercial resurgence, maintaining platinum status throughout the rest of the decade.

Buoyed by a wave of KISS nostalgia in the 1990s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup (with makeup) in 1996. The resulting KISS Alive/Worldwide/Lost Cities/Reunion Tour was the top-grossing act of 1996 and 1997.

As a band, KISS’s career milestones are staggering. They hold honors as one of rock and roll’s all-time top sellers, with 24 certified gold albums and over 100 million albums sold worldwide. Their countless high-profile live appearances include Super Bowl XXXIII, the 2002 Winter Olympics, the 2005 Rockin’ the Corps concert for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2009 American Idol finale, where they played on live TV for 30 million viewers. Last year, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The members of KISS have diversified over the years, spreading the KISS gospel far beyond the concert stage. Among their other far reaching successes, Gene developed a successful reality TV series, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, and Paul‘s autobiography Face the Music, a New York Times #2 bestseller, has been translated into seven languages. Paul and Gene are also co-owners of the LA KISS arena football team. With lead guitarist Tommy Thayer a member for 13 years, and drummer Eric Singer with 21 years, they’ve kept their commitment to expanding the KISS legacy, generation after generation. The unparalleled devotion and loyalty of the KISS Army to the “Hottest Band in the World” is a striking testament to the band’s unbreakable bond with its fans.

Of course, it’s not just KISS’s visuals that sell out arenas and stadiums around the world. It’s also the songs. Built from titanium riffs, massive hooks, tons of attitude and a penchant for romance, eternal favorites like “Detroit Rock City,” “Lick It Up,” “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” and of course “Rock and Roll All Nite” are cornerstones of hard rock history, as elemental as the genre gets. 2015 marks Gene and Paul’s 40th anniversary with ASCAP. That’s four decades of songs that inspire us to bang our heads, pump our fists, and - to quote another KISS classic - “Shout It Out Loud.”