07 August 2006


The 7 Non-Original Members Of KISS


07: Tommy Thayer: Lead Guitar: 2002-Present
Nowadays, KISS is a brand, not a band, really, and Tommy Thayer is nothing more than a marker until Ace Frehley returns for The KISS Company 35th Anniversary World Tour.

06: Eric Singer: Drums: 1991-1996, 2001, 2004-Present
Much like Tommy Thayer, drummer Eric Singer is little more than a marker, though he's drummer for KISS for 9 out of the last 15 years, which warrants a bit more than a footnote, I guess, but no better than the sixth spot on this list. While not quite a session man, Eric Singer has also played for the likes of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Lita Ford, and The Cult throughout his long career. Eric Singer plays Pearl drums and Zildjian cymbals exclusively.

05: Mark St. John: Lead Guitar: 1984
Mark St. John played with KISS just long enough to appear on 1984's Animalize album. Then egos clashed and St. John conveniently developed arthritis and couldn't tour in support of the album. Since then, he's only managed to squeeze out stillborn demo tapes for a couple of different projects, including one with Peter Criss. Nowadays he might be Materials Manager for Uline, I dunno.

04: Bruce Kulick: Lead Guitar: 1984-1996
Bruce Kulick was in KISS almost as many years as Ace Frehley, but holds the record for most consecutive years as KISS' lead guitarist. Most of these years where served when KISS was lost in a creative wasteland and mostly off the pop culture radar. What is probably more interesting about Kulick is that he's played guitar on Meatloaf's 2 year-long Bat Out Of Hell World Tour, and played on a bunch of Michael Bolton albums. Yes, there is one degree of separation between KISS and Michael Bolton. Currently Kulick is the guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad, a thought that I cannot even begin to comprehend, because WTF is Grand Funk Railroad without Mark Farner?

03: Eric Carr: Drums: 1980-1991
Eric Carr's first album with KISS was Music From 'The Elder', which is auspiciously lame enough to land him in the top half of this list, and if his part in The Great Unmasking of 1983 isn't enough to nudge him up to 3 on this list, then his death in 1991 of heart cancer (HEART CANCER!!!!) certainly does, and earned "The Fox" a place in the hearts of KISS fans around the world.

02: Anton Fig: Drums: 1979-1980
Anton Fig is a well-known and well-respected session drummer who played on the Dynasty and Unmasked albums for KISS. He is number two on this list because he is the long time drummer for The CBS Orchestra, which is David Letterman's house band, led by Paul Schaffer. The list of artists he has recorded and toured with is way too long to list here.

01: Vinnie Vincent: Lead Guitar: 1982-1984
Vinnie Vincent spent the least time in the Lead Guitar role for KISS (hey, I've already forgotten about Mark St. John), and yet he's at the very top of this list. Why? First of all, he never officially signed a contract with The Kiss Company. Secondly, he played the majority of the guitars on the Creatures Of The Night album, and its subsequent tour, but it was Ace Frehley on the album's cover art and "I Love It Loud" video. This confused fans. Alot, apparently. Some of 'em still bitch about it. Thirdly, his real name is Vincent Cusano, but Gene Simmons made him change it to Vinnie Vincent, even though Cusano wanted to call himself Mick Fury. Like Eric Carr, Vincent was a part of The Great Unmasking of 1983, his make-up being an Egyptian ankh designed by Paul Stanley. I don't believe Vincent's character ever had a name. Vincent's post-KISS solo career consists of two Vinnie Vincent Invasion albums, and two lawsuits against KISS for royalties, both of which he lost. He also lost an $8 million dollar lawsuit with Chrysalis Records and is currently bankrupt and out of the music biz. See kids - all yr Rock'n'Roll dreams can come true!


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