2019 is turning into quite the year for protracted goodbyes. Slayer are midway through their farewell tour, which started more than a year ago and has been extended several times, most recently to include an extra date in Los Angeles. For KISS, however, you could say that Gene Simmons and the crew have been saying their goodbyes on and off for almost 20 years.
The band’s original farewell tour was a 140-concert affair that ran from March 2000 to April 2001. Yet two years later they were on the road again, touring with fellow veterans Aerosmith. Half a dozen subsequent tours took place from 2008 onwards, as well as new studio material being released.
Now, with Gene Simmons preparing to celebrate his 70th birthday, the band is once again immersed in a long goodbye, this one called the End of the Road tour. Things kicked off in Vancouver last November, and so far, more than 100 new dates have been added. As it stands, the true end of the road will come in Japan in November, but the smart money is on a further extension that will take the goodbyes well into 2020.
A Brand as Well as a Band
KISS have always been about more than just the music, and they truly understand the value of having a brand and merchandising better than most. This extends way beyond posters and t-shirts, as marketing expert Sandra O’Loughlin commented in Brandweek magazine that KISS is a billion dollar brand.
There are more than 3,000 KISS branded goods out there for fans to seek out, and not just in the physical world: the KISS brand has even entered the online arena. Back in 2000, the band released their Psycho Circus video game, and this has been followed up by KISS Shout it Loud, an online slot that can be played at casino Unibet either on desktop or mobile. They also released their own pinball game for the Playstation in the early 2000s.
Is This Really the End?
The question is not an unreasonable one. Sure, the boys are past the age when the average bank manager or mortgage consultant would have retired. However, just take a look at who’s touring at the moment. Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Neil Young – they are all closer to 80 than 70 and still going strong. Willie Nelson is still touring at the age of 86!
Of course, none of those big names go out on stage for two hours with full makeup and a costume weighing upward of 40 pounds, and that’s exactly what prompted the band to bring things to an end the first time back in 2000. But judging by the performances so far this time around, the guys are as fit as ever and they don’t seem to be feeling the strain. However, as Paul Stanley told the Chicago Tribune earlier this year, “Life is finite, there is an expiration date for us and it’s better to stop now than to kind of fizzle out.”