When it comes to Kiss, whether you suffer from terminal overexposure or eagerly shell out your hard-earned cash for every piece of music and merchandise, you can’t deny that the band’s four kabuki-makeup characters figure among rock’s most iconic images. But should the band’s new members wear the designs made famous by their famous predecessors?

The cultural penetration of the Kiss brand is such that that lovers and haters alike are intimately familiar with the Demon (Gene Simmons), the Star Child (Paul Stanley), the Spaceman (Ace Frehley) and the Cat (Peter Criss) — regardless of the niggling fact that, for more than a decade now, the latter pair has been sported by replacement guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, respectively.

Such was the sanctity of the original four Kiss characters that when Criss and Frehley first fell afoul of Stanley and Simmons, the latter half went to great lengths to masquerade their former bandmates’ departures — first by hiring session musicians to help maintain the ruse that both men were still active members of the group and then by replacing them with new players (drummer Eric Carr, a.k.a. the Fox, and guitarist Vinnie Vincent, the, ahem, Ankh Warrior) who boasted relatively related white-face makeup, a move that was supposed to soften the blow for hardcore fans.


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