Happy 40th Anniversary To The KISS Army (8/1975-8/2015)

Today is a pretty awesome Music Milestone in my book because its the fortieth anniversary of the KISS Army. Those ardent loyalists who support everything that is the band KISS. I’ve snagged some of the official formation stuff from Wikipedia and then noted some of the KISS Army “moments of importance” below and will continue afterward on my own.

Logo - KISS Army

The KISS Army History:
In January 1975, Starkey and Evans, two teenage Kiss fans from Terre Haute, Indiana, began contacting local radio station WVTS in an effort to get Kiss music played. After being repeatedly turned down by program director Rich Dickerson, Starkey and Evans began calling WVTS claiming to be “the Kiss Army.” Additionally, they sent letters to the station and signed them, “Bill Starkey–President of the Kiss Army,” and “Jay Evans–Field Marshall.” By July 1975, WVTS had begun to play Kiss records, often referring to the Kiss Army. Some of the letters included threats to blow up the station. Before long, listeners started calling the station asking how they could enlist. Dickerson worked with Starkey and Evans to provide advance promotion for a Kiss concert at the new Hulman Civic-University Center in Terre Haute. Before the show, Kiss publicist Alan Miller contacted Starkey to discuss the Kiss Army. At Miller’s request, Starkey and Evans took phone calls on the air at WVTS to recruit as many members as possible for the Kiss Army. As a result of these efforts, the November 21 show sold out (10,000 seats). During the concert, Starkey was brought on stage and given a plaque by Kiss. Soon after the Terre Haute concert, the Kiss Army became the official fan club of the group.

Photo - KISS Army Recruitment Form

In 1976, Kiss manager Bill Aucoin requested Howard Marks Inc. graphic designer Vincent DiGerlando, create an official Kiss Army logo. Order forms for the Kiss Army first appeared with this new official logo in November 1976’s Destroyer. Former head of Kiss merchandising Ron Boutwell estimated that the fan club (at its peak) earned US$ 5,000 per day, and had nearly 100,000 members. After a period of inactivity, Kiss announced the re-launch of the Kiss Army as the group’s official fan club on August 23, 2007. On May 29, 2008, Condoleezza Rice, the United States Secretary of State enlisted in the Kiss Army. On November 21, 2010 the Kiss Army turned 35 to celebrate it the Mayor of Terre Haute declared it Kiss Army day and co founder Bill Starkey spent the day as guest DJ for 105.5 the river A Terre Haute radio station playing Kiss music. (thanks Wikipedia)

*** end of history lesson ***

I was going to leave this Music Milestone as the history stuff alone, but a few weeks prior to this historic day in KISStory, I was doing a little apartment archaeology and discovered numerous items from my own KISS Army Membership days. Yes my friends I was a card carrying member of the KISS Army and I thought it would be fun to share some images of the items that I still had in my possession. Let me start with the Official Membership Card.

Card - KISS Army Member

Below you’ll find the Official Membership Certificate (I had to print my own name on it as you can see in the scan) and according to some light research I am thinking that I joined in 1978 and re-upped this membership towards the tail end of the year for one more go round.

Photo - KISS Army Membership

My two years of items have been broken down into what I still have in one piece and for those interested this stuff below is part of “KISS Army Kit #4”. There were five large photos for you to get on bended knee in front of. One of each member and a group shot. Check them out.

Photo - KISS Army  - Gene Simmons 1

Photo - KISS Army - Paul Stanley 1

Photo - KISS Army  - Ace Frehley 1

Photo - KISS Army  - Peter Criss 1

Photo - KISS Army  - Group 1

These same photos were all delivered on a single thick paper as wallet sized photos in the event you wished to carry around your favorite member or the whole bunch of them in your billfold. Since I still had this intact I am assuming that I didn’t do this which is a relief since I was weird enough at that age.

Photo - KISS Army Wallet Sized 1

Now let’s move onto some of the trinkets from the second KISS Army Kit that I had. This is Kit #5 BTW and features much of the same but in slightly different variations. The costumes on the first batch of photos hailed from the “Destroyer” era while these four below are from the “Love Gun” years. As before, its a photo of each member and a group shot.

Photo - KISS Army  - Gene Simmons 2

Photo - KISS Army  - Paul Stanley 2

Photo - KISS Army  - Ace Frehley 2

Photo - KISS Army  - Peter Criss 2

The “group” offering was essentially postcards as opposed to a cool stage setting.

Photo - KISS Army  - Group 2

These are the stamps I guess. I never tried to stick them on any surface and couldn’t seem to find the actual wallet sized page ones for this narrative. I don’t believe I cut that up either since I couldn’t find a single image of the batch.

Photo - KISS Army Wallet Sized 2

Though I am not sure, I believe this iron on decal of the KISS Army logo came from this particular kit. If not, its from the other one since I wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere else.

Photo - KISS Army - Iron On

The spiffy sewn patch below is not from any of the kits but I think it is something that should have been. Perhaps even a shiny cloissone pin (which I still don’t think has ever been made); I found this in a local music store and couldn’t resist.

Photo - KISS Army - Patch

So there you have it my dear readers, my KISS Army Membership schwag/keepsakes/stuff. It’s been fun sharing it with you all for this occasion. Happy 40th KISS Army 🙂

Official Website: http://www.kissonline.com

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