On December 4, 2012, Universal Music Enterprises will bring special attention to the music of the infamous rock band, KISS, with the release of a limited number of Casablanca Singles 29 7" Vinyl Collections. In the rock & roll world, KISS emerged in the early 1970s as a colorful collection of wild costumed musicians with elaborate face makeup. Although lead singer Gene Simmons has repeatedly denied that the letters of their name, KISS, is an acronym for "Knights in Satan's Service," there is no refuting the fact that the group makes numerous references to Satan and includes suggestive lyrics meant to persuade others to take a walk on the dark side.
When early albums of the group failed to reach their selling potential, the band focused on their live act to attract attention – incorporating pyrotechnics and other special effects. Simmons would spit 'blood' (usually made from raw eggs and food coloring) or 'breathe fire' by spitting flammable liquid onto a torch. Light and smoke bombs inserted into a guitar created the illusion that Ace Frehley's instrument burst into flames during his solos. Sparks came out of Peter Criss' elevating drum riser.
Band members screamed and smashed their guitars during performances. At times, they commanded fans to kneel before Satan when belting out lyrics, such as the words of their song "God of Thunder":
"I'm lord of the wasteland, a modern day man of steel
I gather darkness to please me and I COMMAND YOU TO KNEEL
Before, The God of thunder, the god of rock 'n roll
I'LL STEAL YOUR VIRGIN SOUL!"
Of course, these performances have led to controversy from the very start of their career – so much so that a modified version of their logo is used in Germany. Lead guitarist Ace Frehley is responsible for creating the logo and making the "SS" look like lightning bolts (which incidentally is a symbol often associated with Lucifer). The letters happen to look quite similar to the insignia of the Nazi SS – a symbol that is now illegal to display in Germany.
Disturbing messages and statements have also been inserted into many KISS songs by Simmons, including the lyrics of 'God of Thunder,' where Simmons states "I was raised by demons." Other songs have referred to and mocked Jesus.
Gene Simmons…the Demon
Sometimes, messengers of the Devil's word do not try to hide their dark messages and intent. The lead singer of KISS is Gene Simmons, who along with Paul Stanley, are the only two consistent members of the group. While the band took on various personas and makeup designs to stand out, Gene Simmons chose 'the Demon.' While both in-character and outside of his music life, Simmons is often seen flashing the Satanic hand gesture of the Il Cornuto (or Devil's horns) in photographs. He has even flaunted the Devil's horns while singing the National Anthem at a Monday Night Football game in September 2012.
Although the "Devil's sign" has been used well before Simmons started his music career, he has been quoted as claiming to have 'invented' the sign for his rock & roll fans. However, the rocker denies that it is connected to anything Satanic or related to the Devil.
Nowadays, lead singer Simmons seems to sing a different tune – much different than his days of glorifying promiscuity and bragging that he slept with nearly 5,000 women. KISS is still making music and still performing, but Simmons swears that his philosophies have matured despite contributing to a music culture that embraced demonic lyrics and references. Band members may have changed, but the logo and music is the same. In early 2013, the band will perform in Australia, and Gene Simmons vows he won't sleep with any groupies this time around.
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