Kiss: The five most shameless examples of the band's merchandising efforts over the years
Legendary bass player and merchandising tycoon Gene Simmons has announced a new restaurant chain, creatively titled Rock & Brews, that will satisfy hungry classic-rock fans craving to eat in a place that looks like a glorified backstage area. The franchise will debut this year in El Segundo, California, and additional locations are slated to open in Denver, Tokyo, Atlanta and a handful of other cities around the world. But that's not the lowest Kiss has sunk to lighten the pockets of its adoring fan base.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the restaurant won't be covered in Kiss logos, despite the long-tongued bass legend's involvement. After all, the band that never stopped wanting to "rock and roll all day and party every night" has licensed over 3,000 items with the group's iconic likeness, including T-shirts, earrings, condoms, sleeping bags and lunchboxes, to name just a few.
While Kiss is probably competing against Disney, Coca-Cola and Budweiser for the title of "Most Merchandised Ever," not all of the items they've tried hawking to loyal members of the Kiss Army have been winners. Whether you're a fan or not, these five acts of shameless commercialism might be enough to tarnish even Kiss's sterling arena-rock reputation.
5. Kiss HD TV
If you don't want to obsessively watch an endless loop of Kiss concert DVDs on a TV that looks like it was made of metal treads and has Kiss logos emblazoned on the lower corners, then you're not a real Kiss fan. Unfortunately, the Kiss HD TV actually exists. It comes in a variety of sizes (32," 42," and 55" models are available), meaning that almost any die-hard Kiss fan can afford to prove they have more expendable income and less to live for than their friends. Maybe if the TV emulated the band's stage show and shot fire out of the top every time there was an explosion on TV, then it would be the best TV ever. But as it is, this is just a TV with a Kiss logo on it. Put some stickers on the TV you have, and off you go.
4. Kiss shills for Walmart
When you're the most commercially licensed band in the history of the universe, sometimes it's hard to figure out how to expand your market share. But then the world's largest retailer, Walmart, steps up and asks for exclusive distribution of your next album. Kiss raises the stakes by appearing in a two-minute-long promo video that is painfully awkward (and hilarious). What's really troubling about this is that it's hard to tell what's more offensive -- Kiss partnering with a retailer that undermined local economies in thousands of small towns across the country, or the fact that the band thought it should actually release another album (2010's Sonic Boom)
This would be the pinnacle of selling out on most band's lists, but not Kiss...