Gene Simmons says KISS’s famous black and white make-up was “warpaint.” Speaking to U.K. newspaper The Guardian, Simmons said he used to think The Beatles were a family because they had identical haircuts, and wanted to create a similar effect of unity.
“[The make-up] was warpaint. Make-up does not give it enough respect. We played a place called the Daisy. There couldn’t have been more than 50 to 100 people there. When we looked across the stage, we felt as if we belonged together. I remember seeing The Beatles as a kid and thinking there must have been a Beatle mother ’cause they all looked like they were connected. There’s no question that our outfits and our boot-heels and our make-up was a unique definition of who we were and helped us become who we are.”
Fellow frontman Paul Stanley shared another strategy that KISS used to make the group look popular in the early days. He said they created a myth of success, even though they were struggling at the time.
“We had a rule that we wouldn’t play more than once every eight or 12 weeks because we wanted people to think we were busy. We were literally sitting in our loft starving and rehearsing. And then we would go out and do a show and I would say, ‘It’s great to be back’ we’ve been gone!’ We weren’t anywhere. But it was about creating this mythology from the ground up,” he said.