Classic Rock

Watch The Unforgettable Moment KISS Was Unmasked In MTV

todayMarch 27, 2024 1

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The year was 1983, a time when celebrities going makeup-free for the camera was far from a common occurrence. However, on September 18th of that year, the world witnessed a moment that would shock and revitalize the career of one iconic rock band: KISS. Known for their signature greasepaint look, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Vinnie Vincent, and Eric Carr took a daring step by baring their faces during a live MTV press conference. This decision not only generated significant media coverage but also helped rejuvenate their flagging career. Let’s delve into this historic event and its impact.

The Struggles of the Early ’80s

By the early 1980s, KISS had faced numerous challenges. Original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had left the band, and their previous attempt to reinvent themselves through the ambitious concept album “Music From ‘The Elder’” had been met with commercial failure. As MTV revolutionized the music industry, KISS found themselves overshadowed by the likes of Boy George and Duran Duran, who wore makeup in an entirely different way. Their popularity faded, and the band needed a fresh approach to regain their former glory.

The MTV Press Conference

In a rather unconventional move, MTV executives scheduled KISS’s press conference on a Sunday night, at the relatively late hour of 11 p.m. The event didn’t receive the fanfare one would expect, with no extravagant production elements or screaming audience. As the band members’ painted faces dissolved into closeups of their new looks, the studio fell eerily silent. Host J.J. Jackson, known for his rock knowledge, guided the proceedings, offering an unexpected reference to Traffic’s album “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”


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The Unmasking

The unveiling revealed a dramatic transformation. Vinnie Vincent appeared glazed-eyed in a red blazer, Eric Carr sported earth-toned safari-wear, and Paul Stanley stunned with lavender leather trousers and a teal vest. Meanwhile, Gene Simmons, the usually confident “Demon,” donned poodle hair and an uncomfortable gaze. It is worth noting that only two original members had worn makeup since the band’s inception, accentuating the significance of this unmasking.

Reactions and Reflections

While the press conference itself seemed anticlimactic at the time, it proved to be a strategic career move for KISS. Martha Quinn, a fellow MTV VJ, recalls how the staff gathered in the control room, reminiscing about their rock ‘n’ roll roots and the impact KISS had on their generation. Despite some initial disappointment among fans, the unmasking attracted attention and breathed new life into the band. Stanley had believed in this decision all along, and time would prove him right.

Watch the video below:

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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