Gene Simmons Claims Nobody Came Up With the Idea for the Iconic Kiss Makeup: “It Just Happened”

If there’s one thing that’s even more iconic about Kiss than their music, it’s their signature look, particularly the Kiss makeup. Everyone, even people who don’t like Kiss, know about Kiss’ iconic makeup and over-the-top costumes. And the wild face paint has been imitated from a number of big-name acts from Marilyn Manson to the Misfits to Insane Clown Posse. So where did the idea for Kiss’ makeup come from? Well, according to Gene Simmons, it came from out of thin air.

In a recent interview on Steve-O’s podcast Wild Ride! That was reported on by Loudwire, Simmons talked about putting on the makeup in the earliest days of the band, and Simmons insisted that nobody in Kiss can take credit for the idea to wear their iconic makeup. Here’s what he had to say:

“Nobody who was ever in KISS can ever lay claim to saying, ‘I’ve got a brilliant idea, everybody should put on makeup. Let’s wear more makeup and higher heels than your mommy ever did.’ Nobody did, it just happened.”

That sounds…fairly impossible. Obviously someone either within the band or adjacent to it had to come up with the idea for the makeup in the first place. It couldn’t just have happened without anyone suggesting it.

In fact, in a 2017 interview that Medium did with former Kiss makeup artist Jan Carlisle, the interviewer asked Carlisle who’s idea the makeup was and she instantly gave credit to Simmons:

“Oh. It was Gene’s. He wanted them to stand out from the other bands. Not musically or due to talent, but with makeup. He knew me because I did his grandma’s makeup at her funeral. I like doing dead people’s makeup. That way I don’t need to worry about possibly killing them.”

So it would seem that Simmons’ leather pants are on fire. While the idea of the makeup just springing up out of nowhere is an interesting story that adds to the band’s mystique, it’s clearly just not true.

Metal

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