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Kiss The Hype

What is hype? Hype is defined as promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind. It is used to lure the consumer to a certain product or an event of some kind. The competition for the consumer's attention is intense and even desperate at times. Throughout the 1970's, there was a vast machinery of hype surrounding the music industry. Some of what came out of it was original and imaginative, but some was deceptive and outrageous. Whatever it was, it was all aimed at the consumer. The rock group Kiss has been performing for over twenty-six years. In that time, they have sold over ninety million albums, amassed legions of fans, and sold out stadiums around the world. There is a reason for the extraordinary success of Kiss. It has something to do with their music, but it has more to do with the way they are hyped and packaged. So lets unwrap that package. In 1972, Gene Simmons was a sixth grade school teacher in New York City. With guitarist Paul Stanley, he formed a band called Wicked Lester that played in small clubs and bars around New York. That band quickly failed. "Wicked Lester just wasn't the deadly rock n' roll assault squad they had always wanted" (Kitts 12). But Simmons and Stanley felt they could and would become stars. They invested in some large equipment and decided to start a major rock band. From the hordes of drummers, they chose Peter Criss, who had been advertising himself in New York newspapers. They auditioned over thirty guitarists and chose Ace Frehley, who had been delivering liquor for a living. The band was formed and now came the time to sell it. The key step was to persuade Bill Aucoin, director of the television show Flipside, to take over the management of the band.Kiss emphasized style over substance and went heavy on trappings. Makeup came first. I...

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