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Kiss refute lax Covid protocol claims

Kiss have strongly denied allegations of lax Covid protocols after their long-serving guitar tech died earlier this month after testing positive for coronavirus.

Rolling Stone reports that 53-year-old Francis Stueber, who had worked with the band for more than two decades, passed away just two days after being quarantined in a hotel room in Detroit.

The group are currently on the American leg of their farewell End of the World tour. However, three crew members, speaking to the publication on the condition of anonymity, have alleged the tour’s Covid-safe measures were insufficient.

“Every day during the shows, we weren’t tested,” claimed one roadie. “It’s horrible that Fran passed, and it’s horrible if this is our protocol just for us to tour.”

In response, Kiss issued a statement saying their safety protocols “met, but most often exceeded, federal, state, and local guidelines”, adding: “Ultimately this is still a global pandemic and there is simply no foolproof way to tour without some element of risk.

It has recently been brought to our attention that certain crew members may have provided fake vaccination cards which, if true, we find morally reprehensible

“If certain crew chose to go out to dinner on a day off, or have beers at a local bar after the show, and did so without a mask or without following protocols, there is little that anyone can do to stop that. Particularly when many of our tour markets did not have any state or local mask mandates in place.”

The band said they had also been made aware of some crew members attempting to conceal signs of illness and later refusing medical attention, and also brought up claims that fake vaccination cards had been used.

“It has recently been brought to our attention that certain crew members may have provided fake vaccination cards which, if true, we find morally reprehensible (as well as illegal), putting the entire tour in harm’s way,” they said.

Kiss added they were “profoundly heartbroken” by Stueber’s death and urged people to get vaccinated against the virus.

 


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Download festival 2021 cancelled

There will be no Download festival in the UK this summer, promoter Festival Republic confirmed today (1 March).

Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro will headline the 2022 edition of the 110,000-capacity rock and metal festival, which returns to Donington Park in Leicestershire next 10–12 June. Tickets for Download 2022 go on sale this Friday (5 March) at 10am GMT, priced from £250 for a standard weekend camping pass.

Download, which would have taken place from 4 to 6 June 2021, is the first of Live Nation-owned Festival Republic’s events to announce it will be unable to go ahead for a second consecutive year, with the likes of Wireless (2–4 July) and Latitude (22–25 July) still on for now and Reading and Leeds (27–29 August) having already sold out.

Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, is on hiatus, as are Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

“Ware determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever”

“Downloaders, your 2022 headliners are here,” comments Download booker Andy Copping. “Rock’n’roll legends Kiss will be kicking off Friday in style, Iron Maiden will return, bringing with them mascot Eddie and more fire than we can handle, and what better way to end the festival than with Biffy, who will leave us awestruck with their energy. I’m counting down the days already.”

“Like everyone, we were all hugely disappointed when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of Download 2020, which would have been Maiden’s seventh time headlining here,” says Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, “so we are delighted to be invited back and fulfil our ambition of playing Donington Park in every decade since the 1980s.

“As most people know, this festival is hallowed ground for us – and Eddie – and our fans’ vocal support and enthusiasm is always phenomenal and much appreciated. We can’t wait to see everyone again, and are determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever.”

Further Download 2022 artists will be announced in the coming months.

 


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Sharks among few to see Kiss on cancelled Oz tour leg

Kiss performed the single date of an otherwise cancelled Australian leg of their End of the Road world tour to an audience made up of eight humans and several great white sharks.

The show took place yesterday (18 November) aboard a boat in a part of the Indian Ocean known as a hot spot for great white sharks.

The performance was relayed underwater via special speakers to attract the sharks, while fans were lowered below the surface in a glass viewing hull.

The veteran rock band had cancelled the eight-date run of arena shows down under due to the illness of co-lead vocalist Paul Stanley.

The performance was relayed underwater via special speakers to attract the sharks

However, remaining band members Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer braved the jaws of one of the ocean’s top predators to play the one-off show, presented by Airbnb and in conjunction with tour company Adventure Bay Charters.

“Airbnb approached us with this idea that sounded, quite frankly, a little weird, but we’re used to being approached with things that are a little weird,” Stanley told Rolling Stone before the concert. “I’ve played for a lot of land sharks. Now I finally get a chance to play for the ocean varieties.”

The Australian concerts were part of the band’s last-ever tour, which is visiting Asia, North and South America, Europe and South Africa, before coming to a close in New York on 21 July 2021.

 


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Kiss announce final End of the Road tour dates

Kiss have announced the final leg of what’s being billed as their last-ever tour, the End of the Road world tour, which began in Canada this January.

The End of the Road trek will come to a close on 21 July 2021 at a New York venue “yet to be named”, according to tour producer Live Nation.

The US rock legends are currently en route to Australia, where their next date is at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre (11,300-cap.) next Tuesday, 19 November, and will next head to Japan for a string of pre-Christmas dates. The tour will start 2020 in the US, before taking off for South America and Europe, and then back to North America for the end of 2020.

“This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t”

“All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years,” the band say in a statement. “This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t.

“Kiss Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet, and we’ll go out the same way we came in: unapologetic and unstoppable.”

Kiss, formed in 1972, have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. According to Pollstar’s Q3 2019 tour charts, the End of the Road tour was the 20th highest-selling in the first nine months of this year, grossing US$68 million from 626,935 tickets sold.

 


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Simmons abandons devil’s horns trademark bid

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Gene Simmons has dropped his bid to trademark the ‘devil’s horns’ gesture for use on stage.

Simmons (pictured) filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier this month to register “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” for “entertainment, namely live, performances by a musical artist.”

The Kiss frontman claimed he was the first to use the sign of the horns – which is also “I love you” in American sign language – as far back as November 1974.

However, the application has now been withdrawn after USPTO received a “letter of express abandonment” on 20 June.

Most legal experts considered his bid to trademark the gesture to have little chance of success, with the gesture most associated with the late Ronnie James Dio.

Simmons’ Gene Simmons Company has owned a total of 173 trademarks, including the ‘money bag’ symbol with a dollar sign and the phrases “$#it girls say” and “I want to marry a millionaire” for use on clothing.

 


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Gene Simmons tries to trademark devil’s horns

It’s a hand gesture familiar to metalheads across the world – but if Gene Simmons has his way, the sign of the horns could soon his trademark.

In a new application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Kiss frontman is seeking to register “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” for “entertainment, namely live, performances by a musical artist.”

The would-be trademark is pictured below:

Gene Simmons devil's horns trademark diagram

The trademark application, serial number 87482739, was filed on 9 June and accepted on Tuesday. It is expected to be assigned to an examiner within three months of filing.

Various musicians claim to have invented the sign of the horns (or devil’s horns), with the late Ronnie James Dio usually credited for popularising the gesture.

The application says Simmons (real name Chaim Witz) has been throwing the horns since “at least as early as 14 November 1974” – a date that corresponds with Kiss’s Hotter than Hell tour – although use of the gesture by figures as diverse as John Lennon (on the Yellow Submarine cover), Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Frank Zappa, George Clinton and Gautama Buddha all predate Simmons’s claim (the Buddha’s by quite some time).

 


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