That Time KISS Got Duped by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

When KISS appeared in the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2014 it was anything but what the band was promised. Ultimately, the group known for putting on the most dazzling live shows in the business were dwarfed by parade floats of cartoon characters and led by two less-than-enthused escorts carrying a laughably small introductory sign, which made for one gigantic Spinal Tap-like moment.

No strangers to missteps and commercial flops, it was another infamous moment for “The Hottest Band in the World.” KISS made no attempt to hide their discontent after the 2014 parade appearance, though the “Starchild” Paul Stanley appears to be able to look back on the day with a laugh.

With Thanksgiving just a day away, Stanley recollected the event in a Twitter post, where he shared one of the most revealing photos taken throughout that day. The rock legend wrote, “We showed up at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after being shown sketches of a HUGE float and told we would be surrounded by 100 baton twirlers in KISS makeup. Instead we got THIS!!! An SUV with a U-Haul attached and two unimpressed escorts. HA! HA! HA! Look how happy we are!”

Additional photos seen below offer various perspectives from the parade. Despite the lackluster setup, KISS still did manage to pull off some light pyrotechnic effects as they lip synched (expectedly — it’s a televised parade, not a controlled concert setting) to “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

There’s also a pretty big reason KISS got bumped from what they were initially promised down to the meager 25-foot stage being pulled by a truck…

“The worst thing we did was we played the Macy’s Day Parade,” said KISS manager Doc McGhee during a Q&A session on the ninth annual KISS Kruise (via Ultimate Classic Rock). “We were supposed to be on the Gibson float, which was this huge float. So, it was great; it’s just like KISS. Well, the night before we found out that they wanted Paul to play Gibson [guitars], and he doesn’t play Gibsons – because he plays Washburns. So, we couldn’t go on the float. They go, ‘Oh, we have another float for you.'”

McGhee continued, “So, we get there, and [the new float] is literally like, 25 feet long with two microphones on it. We looked like the shittiest thing on the Macy’s Day Parade. When I saw it I went, ‘Ohhhh, this is how you get fired.’ That was just a horrible time.”

Michael Stewart, Getty Images

The day after the parade appearance, Stanley voiced his disgust on Twitter, stating, “Bluntly, we were screwed over & misled by the exec in charge of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We ALL deserved better.”

As seen further down the page, on the heels of KISS as they made their way through the streets of New York City was a massive float depicting Finn and Jake, the lead characters from the Cartoon Network animated TV show, Adventure Time.

Photos: KISS at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2014

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Kiss Aim to Set $1,000,000 Pyro Record with New Year’s Eve Show

Kiss pledged to set a record with their Kiss 2020 Goodbye New Year’s Eve show in Dubai, which they said would cost more than $10 million to present.

The band provided some details of the Dec. 31 production, which will feature a COVID-safe audience of several thousand while being livestreamed across the world. They said they’d play on a 250-foot stage with 50 cameras following them – like their current End of the Road tour set up “on steroids” –  with a backdrop to include the biggest-ever pyro display in history, which they hope will set a Guinness World Record. Tickets to view the stream will start at $39.

“The best way to shut everybody up and get everybody to enjoy life right now is to make a big resounding noise and shake the heavens with some pyro,” Gene Simmons told Rolling Stone in a new interview. He added: “We play big. There’s not a lot of subtlety in what we do. He predicted the fireworks show would be the “biggest” but not the “baddest” because “just random explosions everywhere and 300-foot fireballs going off, you can’t tap your foot to that or sing along. You want to have something that has coordination.”

Show director Dan Catullo confirmed that the cost was in eight figures, with the pyro along costing more than $1 million and COVID compliance for over 400 workers costing more than $750,000. Arranging the stage itself involved a custom deal, while the lack of available equipment in Dubai meant that arrangement had to be made to ship 37 cargo containers. “Forget about a pandemic — we’re doing the biggest production in Kiss’s history,” he reported. “Now you add in the pandemic, and trying to figure out how to do it safely and the logistics of getting 400 people and all the equipment and gear there safely, that adds another 15 layers.”

He estimated that his team would undergo 6,000 coronavirus tests during the production, with crew squads split into isolated units of 25, each wearing chipped wristbands to monitor movement and potential infection. Catullo himself will quarantine for 24 hours before meeting Kiss. “[W]hen I say this is a monstrous undertaking, this is a behemoth,” he said.

Additionally, the band members will only meet during rehearsals, even flying in separate private cabins. “We’re taking all the protocols needed,” Paul Stanley said. “Obviously, the first thing we had to say was ‘Can we pull this off safely?’ and we’re making sure we’re doing that.” He added: “I wasn’t interested in doing a stream on the level of Live at the Troubadour in L.A. Not that those aren’t good, but they aren’t Kiss. Either we do this right, or we don’t do it. For us, size matters. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel; we invented it and it runs real well. We’re just making sure it’s on a scale and a size that does justice not only to the situation we’re in, but that it makes the people watching at home feel like they’re a part of it.”

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WATCH: KISS Work at WalMart in Funny Old Promo Video

With Black Friday fast approaching, you can probably expect the need for more staffing at retail stores. But what happens when you hire KISS? The results played out in an old promotional video for WalMart seen below.

The foursome, in their full KISS attire, take their shot at working at a WalMart, initially signing on as greeters and donning their freshly created name tags. Though there are likely WalMart procedures that must be followed, a little bit of the KISS behavior starts to take over.

Tommy Thayer shows a flare for cake decorating, but of course there’s a desire to change all the cakes to KISS cakes. Paul Stanley certainly knows a little something about makeup having undergone his transformation many times over the years, but his makeup counter makeover leaves the customer a little confused as he mostly focused on the eye.

And then there’s Gene Simmons, who is working the checkout counter. Commenting on some of the items, he notices someone buying an Aerosmith CD, but offers, “Oh that’s really good, but you know what’s even better? This,” while tossing the other disc away and quickly presenting the latest KISS album.

This video appears to have been released around 2009 as a fresh case of KISS’ Sonic Boom album is being lowered by a crane from storage in the video. Have a look at the band’s commercial crossover in the player below.

KISS Work at WalMart

Things will be a little different for KISS this holiday season. Like many acts, they’ve shut down touring for 2020 amidst the pandemic. But they’re also planning a New Year’s Eve livestream with full production to help ring in 2021. The show will take place in Dubai, but fans can watch online. Get details on how to view this concert event here.

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KISS Announce ‘KISS 2020 Goodbye’ New Year’s Eve Concert

KISS are ready to send 2020 out in style, announcing their “KISS 2020 Goodbye” New Year’s Eve concert. The band is putting on an extravagant rock show to ring in the New Year, and you can catch it all via a virtual livestream.

The band will be performing from the Atlantis resort in Dubai, pulling out all the stops to give viewers one of the best livestreamed shows they can provide.

Filmed with more than 50 cameras and 360-degree views, this show produced by Landmarks Live can be seen globally with ticketing technology and livestream powered by TIXR.

The concert will kick off at 12PM ET / 9AM PT on Dec. 31.

Tickets to the event can be purchased at Kiss2020Goodbye.com, with prices starting at $49.99 and gong all the way up to $999 for a bundle that includes 14 “exclusive and limited edition items,” including a Blu-ray of the concert. Watch a trailer for the event below.

KISS 2020 Goodbye Trailer

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Kiss Announce ‘Kiss 2020 Goodbye’ New Year’s Eve Virtual Concert

Kiss will perform a virtual ‘Kiss 2020 Goodbye’ concert on New Year’s Eve.

The promotional video embedded below promises fans “the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year.”

Access to the event can be purchased at Kiss2020Goodbye.com, with prices starting at $49.99 and ranging up to $999 for a bundle that includes 14 “exclusive and limited edition items” including a Blu-ray of the concert.

This is a developing story.

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See Kiss’ ‘Dynasty’ Album Cover Recreated With 4,000 Legos

Longtime Kiss fan Eli Echevarria made the best of his pandemic downtime by recreating the band’s Dynasty album cover in Lego mosaic form.

He says it took thousands of ordinary store-bought bricks and somewhere between “eight to 10 hours” to recreate the art from the divisive 1979 album in this format.

“There’s no customization,” Echevarria tells UCR. “It’s just over 4,000 individual pieces to make the actual mosaic, plus the additional pieces to make the border and the four base plates that make up the background. Painting a Lego piece or anything like that is frowned upon in the community. You’re supposed to ‘use what you got.'”

COVID-19 put Echevarria’s full-time job playing John Lennon in the Beatles tribute group BritBeat on hold. “This isn’t a bar band, this is a real thing,” he notes. “We’d play internationally at performance halls and theaters and cruise ships, and all that went away.”

After collecting Lego sets for about eight years, Echevarria was finally ready to try making his own mosaic: “It’s a passion for my son and I. We’re very familiar with Lego. Any time we would go to a Lego exhibit or anything outside the house that was Lego-related, we always saw Lego mosaics, and we’d say, ‘It would be cool to do one someday.’

“Then I found myself sitting at home, and I said, I’ve got to find another outlet for my creativity. So I started painting, and I started making Lego mosaics. First, I did a Charlie Chaplin and a couple of John Lennons.”

Kiss were the next natural subject. “I’ve been a fan since 1976, when I was four years old,” he says. “I have a very very good memory of watching them on the Paul Lynde Halloween special. I’ve been a die-hard fan my entire life. I’ve seen them in concert over 50 times. It was a given that I would do Kiss.”

Although he cites 1976’s Destroyer as his favorite Kiss album, Echevarria had a good reason for recreating the Dynasty cover instead. “I was just looking for what would be a good image that would translate well in mosaics,” he points out. “The problem is that the more detail there is, the bigger the mosaic has to be. So, to do something like the Love Gun or Destroyer covers, it would have to be a really big mosaic, because the figures have full bodies and a lot of detail. So, Dynasty or the solo album covers, those would translate well. Not many other Kiss covers would at that size.”

He says the process itself starts with a pixelated version of an image. “The challenge is you really have to stand back from a distance to see the image properly,” he notes. “The closer you get to it, the more all you see are just colored squares. So when I’m doing these, I have to stand back and take a look at it and work that way. You start it on a computer – that’s the smartest way to figure out the basics. You use Photoshop as the foundation and go from there.”

Earlier this year, Lego released an official Beatles mosaic set, which retails for $125 and includes one member of the Fab Four. The look and price of that set is one of the reasons Echevarria wanted to create his own. “As much as I love Lego, I wasn’t highly impressed with their Beatles set, mainly because I thought that John looked like an ugly woman, and the Paul [McCartney] isn’t great,” he notes. “As good as the George [Harrison] and Ringo [Starr] are, the other two aren’t as great. That was actually the first thing that made me think, ‘I can do better than this.'”

Echevarria is now putting his Lego mosaic creations up for sale. “I’m hoping that somebody will pick them up,” he says. “Because of the cost associated with them, the plan is to sell, and then use part of that money to buy more bricks in order to make the next one. I don’t have an endless inventory.”

(Echevarria’s Kiss Dynasty mosaic and other art are available for purchase. Contact him at [email protected]. You can also visit the Brush Aside Paintings Etsy store.)

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25 Massive Rock + Metal Bands Ranked by Spotify Monthly Listeners

Streaming continues to be a growing trend in music listenership and Spotify continues its reign as a streaming giant. Loudwire contributor Ryan J. Downey has compiled a list of over 550 rock, metal, punk and hardcore artists and their monthly streaming numbers via his Stream N’ Destroy newsletter. Below we count down the Top 25 and share their monthly streaming listenership on Spotify.

There are certain bands you expect to be there. It should come as no surprise that AC/DC rank near the top, especially given the recent anticipation for their Power Up. Likewise, the 20th anniversary of Linkin Park‘s Hybrid Theory rallied a rush of nostalgia for the hugely influential band over the course of 2020.

Meanwhile acts like Queen and Guns N’ Roses both made the Top 10 for Spotify monthly listeners, showing that fans have followed them to streaming and continued to embrace their music there even without major 2020 plans. As intriguing as that may be, there are a few acts you might expect to be in the Top 25 overall who just missed the cut.

To see the full list of over 550 acts and their monthly Spotify streaming listenership, you can subscribe to Downey’s Stream N’ Destroy newsletter here. It’s full of hard rock and metal industry news. And also be sure to check out Downey’s Speak N’ Destroy podcast at this location.

Top 25 Rock + Metal Bands Based on Spotify Monthly Listeners 

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Bruce Kulick to Lead Kissmas Live Event

Organizers of the Kiss Kruise Fest, a tie-in to the band’s official Kiss Kruise, announced a Kissmas Masquerade that will replace events that were canceled this year because of coronavirus restrictions.

The Kissmas Masquerade stars Bruce Kulick, who’ll perform an acoustic set of Kiss songs with assistance from bandmate Todd Kerns. Other performers include the Talismen – the backing band for both Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley – plus Jean Beauvoir, Rick Derringer and others. Tickets for the reduced-capacity show are on sale now. The performances will also be streamed live.

“Kissmas Masquerade is pleased to announce that Bruce Kulick and Todd Kerns will be performing a special show, which will be streamed live for the Kissmas Masquerade participants on Dec. 19,” reads a statement.

“Bruce and Todd will acoustically perform classic Kiss songs in an intimate setting. Bruce and Todd, along with the rest of Bruce’s band, were scheduled to perform at Kruise Fest, which is a two day pre-Kiss Kruise, fan-produced event, in Miami on Oct. 28. … Both Kruise Fest and the Kiss Kruise were canceled for 2020.”

That led Neil Davis and Brian Bell to create the Masquerade. “The intent was to provide a smaller and reformatted Kiss-themed event that could both provide an opportunity to end 2020 on a high note while at the same time adhering to COVID safety best practices,” explains the statement.

The event takes place on Dec.18 and 19 in Sarasota, Fla. That weekend, an official announcement will be made about the 2021 edition of Cruise Fest. More details can be found at the Kissmas2020 website.

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10 Hilarious Rock Star ‘Family Guy’ Moments

Having aired for over 20 years, Family Guy stands next to the Simpsons and South Park at the pedestal of adult animation. Throughout the show’s 19 seasons, Seth McFarlane and his team of writers have delivered hilarious depictions of rock stars, so we rounded up 10 of those most memorable moments.

Remember when KISS saved Christmas? In the third season of Family Guy, the show parodied terrible rock movies like KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, depicting the legendary band rescuing Santa Claus from next of pterodactyls. The ending was a happy one, especially for KISS, whose ridiculous merch was likely delivered to thousands of kids just in time for Christmas morning.

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain has been depicted in Family Guy numerous times. One scenario saw Cobain’s future if he had quit heroin, telling his fans to say no to drugs before leaving the stage. The butt of the joke was Courtney Love, however, with Family Guy questioning how well-known she’d be today if Kurt was still alive.

Would you watch a show called Vedder Call Saul? Continuing Family Guy’s fascination with grunge, they created a scene where Eddie Vedder called Bob Odenkirk’s classic Saul Goodman character, getting legal advice after crashing his car into a milk truck… to the tune of “Even Flow.”

Watch these 10 Hilarious Rock Star ‘Family Guy’ Moments in the Loud List below.

10 Hilarious Rock Star ‘Family Guy’ Moments

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‘MTV Unplugged’ Episodes Ranked

One of the more vital music television series in the history of rock is MTV Unplugged, which really flourished in the ’90s as an outlet for acts to showcase their material in acoustic setting. In this list, we’re counting down 10 of the best MTV Unplugged episodes in the history of the show’s run.

The first episode was taped in 1989 featuring Squeeze, Syd Straw and Elliott Easton. Over the next year, bigger names would start to show and interest and by the early ’90s MTV Unplugged had become one of the network’s top rated shows.

The experience was so beloved by musicians that many of them decided to eventually release their Unplugged sets as live albums. Eric Clapton even earned Grammy Awards for his work during the taping of MTV Unplugged back in 1992.

Some acts like The Black Crowes and Pearl Jam used MTV Unplugged to springboard their careers forward while still somewhat in their infancy. Others like KISS and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant used it to provide true “moments” for fans of their legendary careers.

While MTV scaled back on music programming in the 21st Century, they have held onto the MTV Unplugged format and series welcoming artists to play acoustic for sets over the years.

Join us as we count down 10 of the best MTV Unplugged sets of all-time in the gallery below.

MTV Unplugged Episodes Ranked

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