How Detroit Helped KISS Become Rock Royalty: ‘They Opened Their Arms And Legs To Us’
After 50 years of touring, KISS is hanging up the leather and makeup.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band's farewell — they really mean it this time, they say — tour, called "The End of the Road," will conclude with back-to-back performances at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Dec.1 and 2, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons announced on The Howard Stern Show.
Flanked by current lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, Stanley and Simmons spent two hours with Stern in a wide-ranging interview that also included a live performance. Much of the conversation centered on the childhoods of Stanley and Simmons, as well as their relationships with their parents, as Stern, clearly fixated on his own such issues to the point of projecting onto his guests, has become wont to do in this reformed era of his career.
One of the songs they played was "Detroit Rock City," a standard both of the band and the entire classic rock genre. KISS discussed the song's origin as a tribute to Detroit, the city they credit with springboarding their careers.
"Detroit really embraced us before any other city," Stanley said. "We were an opening act everywhere else, but in Detroit we were a headliner."
Stanley said Detroit's embrace of KISS early on gave the band the rock bonafides it needed to ascend to superstardom. He mentioned legendary rock acts native to Detroit and MIchigan like Bob Seger, MC5, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels as proof of the Motor City's credibility among the genre.
"[Detroit has] a real zeitgeist of rock and roll," he said. "They took us in really early on.
"I like to say that they opened their arms and legs to us."
Stern, who was a DJ on a Detroit rock station for a brief period in the early '80s, said rock is part of the DNA of the Motor City.
"It's a tough town, it's a true rock and roll town," he said. "I have never lived in a more rock and roll town. If they embrace you, it's the ultimate stamp of approval — forget the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"If the Detroit audience will take you in, that means you're a true rocker."
Tickets for the final KISS shows go on sale on March 6.