GENE SIMMONS Recalls KISS’ First Show – “We Didn’t Have A Manager; We Didn’t Have An Agent”

January 30, 2024, a month ago

news hard rock kiss gene simmons

GENE SIMMONS Recalls KISS’ First Show – “We Didn’t Have A Manager; We Didn’t Have An Agent”

On January 30, 1973, KISS performed their very first concert at Popcorn (The Coventry) in Queens, NY. The legendary rockers did two sets at the club that night for a crowd of around 10 people.

KISS co-founder Gene Simmons recalls how the show came about on

“1973 was the beginning.

“Wicked Lester had just finished its album for Epic Records. There were five members in the band, including Paul [Stanley] and myself. Though we had a real recording contract with a major label, and though we had finished an entire album, we were depressed. It just wasn't what we had envisioned.

“So, we started again. We tried firing the other three guys in Wicked Lester, but some wouldn't leave. So, we quit.

“We started again with a vision. 'Let's put together the band we never saw on stage.'

“We got a manager named Lou Linet, who managed JF Murphy And Free Flowing Salt and Diana Marcovitz (or something like that)...and when he heard the newborn baby -- KISS. He thought it was the worst crap he had ever heard. Needless to say, he was gone immediately. So, we were managerless.

“I put together a bio kit, while I worked at the Puerto Rican Interagency Council, as assistant to the Director. Peter's [Criss, original drummer] friend owned a printing press and printed up our invites.

“But, where to play? We didn't have a manager. We didn't have an agent. We never had.

“I made a phone call cold to a place called Popcorn in Queens, NY and on the phone convinced the guy to hire a band, who would soon be changing their name from Wicked Lester to KISS.

“We got the gig -- three nights -- Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the sum total of $150.

“That was the beginning.”

KISS made the announcement they would continue as digital avatars at the end of their final show, on December 2, 2023 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Some fans were not impressed.

Speaking exclusively to Ultimate Classic Rock, Paul Stanley wants to assure their fans that the idea still has plenty of kinks to be ironed out.

"One thing that's interesting is people, I think, perhaps even understandably, got the wrong impression initially of the avatars," Paul tells UCR. "Because at the Garden shows, we wanted to give people a glimpse of some of the things, or one of the things, that's to come. But the avatars are really in their infancy. They're far from where they'll end up in terms of look and purpose. The purpose, ultimately, is not that we're being replaced by flying avatars. It's just another way of diversifying what KISS is."

This wasn't the first time that KISS has polarized fans with an announcement. "Quite honestly, many times in the last 50 years, people have scratched their heads about what our plans were," Stanley says. "And nine out of 10 times they've been successful, and other people have followed. So that's nothing really new."

Read more at Ultimate Classic Rock.

Last month, KISS released the short video below, announcing that the first avatar show will take place in 2027.

A message states: "50 years is a long time, and what the future holds is in the making."

Latest Reviews