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Crystal Tumblers and Beer Pong: KISS, the Music and the Merch

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 Written by Huw Baines

Few rock bands have ascended to the iconic heights that KISS currently occupy, but their legacy is a complicated one. On one hand they are a huge arena draw, famed for fire, blood and good times, and on the other they are largely critically derided and dismissed as gimmicky, sleazy, over-the-top t-shirt salesmen.

As they prepare to bring their End of the Road farewell tour to the UK, compelling arguments are still found on both sides of the coin. Since forming in New York almost 50 years ago they have etched several all time great rock songs into the history books, embodying a sort of halcyon ‘70s netherworld for their fans. And their albums? Well, there have been some shockers along the way, but ‘Alive’ and its sequel are among the most celebrated live releases of them all.

But, in the popular consciousness, it’s evident that more than the music there’s always been the merch—KISS have never been shy about wanting to monetise each and every aspect of their band’s success. “There’s a difference between being an idealist and realist, and the difference is age,” Stanley recently told Michael Hann in, perhaps appropriately, the Financial Times. “The whole idea of a starving artist, or the idea someone isn’t interested in money—well, guess what, you will be when rent comes due.”

This pointed business-first ethos is reflected in the mind-blowing breadth of the band’s wares. A fan could easily live (clothing, kitchenware, credit cards, bathroom products) and die (the KISS Kasket, or urn, your choice) in KISS gear. Here, we take a look at a possible day in the life if you were to become such a devotee, using items currently or recently for sale in their store. So no air guitar strings, sorry. 

The Demon Waffle Maker

Do you ever look at Gene Simmons and think, ‘Man, I wish my food was shaped like that dude’s head?’ Well, have we got a treat for you. For just $39.99 you can whip up a batch of waffles bearing the Demon’s visage and scratch that lingering itch. Serving suggestion: jam, obviously. It also works as a sandwich press, so that’s breakfast and lunch covered (there’s a KISS lunch box out there for $26.24 if you want to take your Demon panini with you).

Swarovski Logo Coffee Tumbler

Now, you have to wash your Demon waffles down with something. How about some coffee? Well, that sounds fine, I suppose. But how about some coffee in a cup covered in Swarovski crystals and the KISS logo? Uh, yeah! One scalding hot shot of bling please! Bonus: you’ll have something to spit out when someone hands you a bill for $429.95.

Demon and Starchild Bling Crystal Throw Pillows

After a busy shift at work, or partying every day, we all need to unwind. So, after wiping your feet on your KISS doormat ($49.95) why not lie back on these decorative Demon and Starchild throw pillows and enjoy 179 dollars and 95 cents’ worth of comfort? Maybe pop Beth on the stereo and let Peter Criss serenade you to sleep. Side note: the Paul Stanley half of the set makes him look like a beautiful, tragic youth who has been cursed to live inside a cushion for eternity. Haunting.

The Demon Full Zip Hoodie

Now that your batteries have recharged, it’s time to Rock and Roll All Nite. But you don’t like the look of those clouds outside, and there’s a bit of a chill in the air. Why not slip on your new Demon hoodie (on sale at $44.96), which conveniently zips up over your whole head to display a photorealistic version of Simmons’ face in full make up. Seeing where you’re going is for nerds. 

Beer Pong Table

The party you’re at is cool, but it hasn’t really tipped over into mayhem yet. Good job you brought your KISS beer pong table with you! For $249.95, you can have a ready-made livener on hand at all times (it folds down to suitcase size for portability) if you need to get things going. Think of it as a frat house version of the KISS pinball machine from way back, just easier to carry around. “Be the life and soul of the tailgate,” runs the store blurb, which doubles as a solid name for a song.

Now you're suitably kitted out, KISS's monstrous End of the Road tour lands in the UK on July 9 for a show in Birmingham, before stops in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and London, where they'll take over the O2 Arena on July 11.

KISS Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue July 09 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena
Thu July 11 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Fri July 12 2019 - MANCHESTER Arena
Sun July 14 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Tue July 16 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro

Click here to compare & buy KISS Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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