The KISS Army is the official fan club for the American rock band Kiss, as well as the unofficial name used to refer to Kiss fans in general. It was started unofficially in 1975, by fans Bill Starkey and Jay Evans.
The membership form displayed for the first time what became known as the official Kiss Army logo, which was designed by Dennis Woloch and Vincent DiGerlando of Howard Marks Inc., the advertising agency working with Bill Aucoin and Kiss at that time.
In January 1975, Starkey and Evans, two teenage Kiss fans from Terre Haute, Indiana, began contacting local radio station WVTS in an effort to get Kiss music played. After being repeatedly turned down by program director Rich Dickerson, Starkey and Evans began calling WVTS claiming to be "the Kiss Army." Additionally, they sent letters to the station and signed them, "Bill Starkey–President of the Kiss Army," and "Jay Evans–Field Marshall." By July 1975, WVTS had begun to play Kiss records, often referring to the Kiss Army. Some of the letters included threats to blow up the station. Before long, listeners started calling the station asking how they could enlist.
Dickerson worked with Starkey and Evans to provide advance promotion for a Kiss concert at the new Hulman Civic-University Center in Terre Haute. Before the show, Kiss publicist Alan Miller contacted Starkey to discuss the Kiss Army. At Miller's request, Starkey and Evans took phone calls on the air at WVTS to recruit as many members as possible for the Kiss Army. As a result of these efforts, the November 21 show sold out (10,000 seats). During the concert, Starkey was brought on stage and given a plaque by Kiss. On November 21, 2010 the Kiss Army turned 35 to celebrate it the Mayor of Terre Haute declared it Kiss Army day and co founder Bill Starkey spent the day as guest DJ for 105.5 the river A Terre Haute radio station playing Kiss music.
Soon after the Terre Haute concert, the Kiss Army became the official fan club of the group. In 1976, Kiss manager Bill Aucoin requested Howard Marks Inc. graphic designer Vincent DiGerlando, create an official Kiss Army logo. Order forms for the Kiss Army first appeared with this new official logo in November 1976's Destroyer. Former head of Kiss merchandising Ron Boutwell estimated that the fan club (at its peak) earned US$ 5,000 per day, and had nearly 100,000 members. After a period of inactivity, Kiss announced the re-launch of the Kiss Army as the group's official fan club on August 23, 2007. On May 29, 2008, Condoleezza Rice, the United States Secretary of State enlisted in the Kiss Army.
- The fanbase of Martin O'Donnell was named, "The Marty Army" as a joke at Marty's expense by Matt Soell and Max Hoberman.
- In Season 1 of the popular TV series The Mighty Boosh, Vince is often seen wearing a Kiss Army patch on his sleeve.
- Referenced multiple times in the film Detroit Rock City.
- In the online web-comic 'Erfworld', the most elite soldiers under the employ of Warlord Stanley the Tool are referred to as the 'Knights in Stanley's Service', which obviously abbreviates to Kiss. The reference is further reinforced by their black, white, and silver warpaint and black leather 'armor' (similar to Kiss' stage costumes) and are all equipped with axes (a nod to Gene Simmons, who has used a custom bass shaped like an axe). During the 35th anniversary, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley phoned in to the radio station and members of The Kiss Army surrounded the radio station.
- In the season 3 episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Gothowitz Deviation", Penny asks Howard "Did the Kiss Army repeal don't ask don't tell?".
- In Two and a Half Men, Jake asks his step-father Herb if he has ever been in the army, to which he responds "No, but I was in the Kiss Army."
- In the Family Guy episode "Road to Europe", Peter and Lois attend Kiss-stock held by the Kiss Army. Later Lois reveals that she dated singer Gene Simmons.
Notes and references
- Gooch, Curt and Jeff Suhs. Kiss Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History. Billboard Books, 2002. ISBN 0-8230-8322-5
- Jarman, Jason (Spring 2005). "A Kiss Army of One: The Birth of the Ultimate Rock 'N' Roll Club". iQ Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- Leaf, David and Ken Sharp. Kiss: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography, Warner Books, 2003. ISBN 0-446-53073-5
- Lee, Matthew (30 May 2008). "Condoleezza Rice enlists in Kiss Army fan club". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Balder, Rob (2008). "Erfworld, Book One - 'The Battle for Gobwin Knob' Page 76". Giant In The Playground Games. Retrieved 2009-05-07.