RAINBOW, WICKED LESTER & KISS

This page is dedicated to mapping out the core of KISS' lineup changes...


RAINBOW #1 (Summer 1970)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Stephen Coronel
Brooke Ostrander
Joe Davidson
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Keyboards
Drums
During the summer of 1970 the first lineup of Rainbow was short lived with drummer Joe Davidson quickly being replaced by Tony Zarella...
 
RAINBOW #2 (Summer 1970 - Spring 1971)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Stephen Coronel
Brooke Ostrander
Tony Zarella
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Keyboards
Drums
Rainbow was the completion of the circle, with Gene, Stephen, and Paul, finally being in the same band together. After playing just one show the band changed its name to Wicked Lester...
WICKED LESTER #1 (Spring 1971 - Feb. 1972)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Stephen Coronel
Brooke Ostrander
Tony Zarella
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Keyboards
Drums
Wicked Lester had transformed from Rainbow, which included Gene, Paul, and Stephen, in early 1971. During the first recording efforts for Epic Stephen was fired from the band...
 
WICKED LESTER #2 (Feb. 1972 - Sept. 1972)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Ron Leejack
Brooke Ostrander
Tony Zarella
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Keyboards
Drums
Ron Leejack was recruited for Wicked Lester without even having to audition. He was strictly a studio member while the band made their second attempt at recording an album for Epic and never played live with Wicked Lester, except for one showcase for Epic's A&R man Tom Werman, which was required for the band to keep their record deal. This was the famous session where he sat down while playing - still blew Tom's mind though!...
 
 
 
WICKED LESTER #3 (Summer 1972 - Jan. 1973)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Peter Criss
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Initially as a power trio, Gene and Paul, would for some time be playing with two bands called Wicked Lester. The lineup with Peter was their new vision for the musical development which, following the addition of a lead guitarist, would become KISS.
KISS #1 (Jan. 1973 - May 1980)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Peter Criss
Ace Frehley
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar/Vocals
Following the conclusion of the "Dynasty" Tour in December 1979 Peter Criss quit KISS to go solo. By March 1980 he would be recording his solo album, though his "official" departure from KISS would not come until May 1980. Essentially he'd been a non-member of the band since December 1979.
 
KISS #2 (July 1980 - Dec. 1982)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Carr
Ace Frehley
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar/Vocals
Once Peter was gone, the balance of power in the band had shifted in Gene and Paul's favour, and Ace knew that his days were numbered. He also didn't like the direction that the band was taking, so he left after the recording of Music From "The Elder" in early 1982, though news of his departure was with-held until the Creatures Tour was about to begin in December 1982, even though he had had nothing to do with the recording of the album, and only helped out with promotions to perpetuate the guise. Ace went solo. Eventually...
 
KISS #2a (January 1982)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Carr
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
While Ace would not be "out" of the band, his non-involvement would be obvious when he failed to show at KISS' Studio 54 satellite broadcast performance on the Italian San Remo festival. KISS were receiving an award, and the show must go on. It did, without Ace, with KISS lipsnyching as a trio...
KISS #3 (Dec. 1982 - Apr. 1984)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Carr
Vinnie Vincent
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Vinnie Vincent was recruited during the Creatures recording sessions when he and his band Warrior were rehearsing next door to KISS. Vinnie's tenure was short, and included two albums, one of which was as close in substance to the band's debut. Initially in makeup in the guise of an "Egyptian Warrior" with distinctive Ankh makeup, Vinnie would be a part of the band which unmasked in September 1983. Vinnie was fired, rehired, and then fired/let-go at the end of the "Lick It Up" tour in March 1984 due to personality/contract conflicts. Vinnie went solo...
 
KISS #4 (May. 1984 - Apr. 1984)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Carr
Mark St. John
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Mark St. John was brought into the band on the advice of Grover Jackson, who knew that KISS wanted a shredder, even though Dana Strum had been asked to find a replacement for Vinnie. It became apparent, very quickly, that Mark's style and personality clashed with Gene and Paul, and after stress related health issues, Bruce Kulick was brought in to temp for Mark on the Animalize Tour. When it became apparent that Bruce was working out well musically and personally, Mark went bye-bye...
 
KISS #5 (Sept. 1984 - Sept. 1991)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Carr
Bruce Kulick
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
With Bruce Kulick in the band, KISS found a stability they had not had since the 1970's. Eric Carr, was in 1989, allowed to venture into the realms of lead vocals, on "Little Caesar", unfortunately he died from cancer related complications in November 1991. The whole timing of his "end" with the band is up for debate, though he complained to friends that KISS had decided to fire him during the Labor Day weekend of September 1991. With his sudden relapse and ultimate death he was unable to technically depart the band, and probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway...
 
KISS #6 (Oct. 1991 - Mar. 1996)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Singer
Bruce Kulick
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Eric Singer had been brought in to work with KISS for their cover of "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" on the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey OST (which included Eric Carr on harmonies). He had also worked with Paul Stanley on his solo tour of 1988 and recorded demos with Paul in that period, so he was the natural choice of a replacement for Eric Carr. No one departed this lineup, following the Unplugged/KISS Konvention Tour of 1995, which culminated with the mini-Reunion with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley for MTV Unplugged in August 1995, it was announced in March 1996 that Peter and Ace were rejoining the band - Eric and Bruce were not fired, but technically put on a leave of absence. Like Eric Carr, Bruce Kulick got a chance to sing lead vocals on a KISS album, "Carnival Of Souls"...
KISS #7 (Mar. 1996 - Aug. 1996)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Singer
Bruce Kulick
Peter Criss
Ace Frehley
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar/Vocals
"Super-KISS", 2 drummers and 3 guitarists, though they only performed once together, at the pervious year's (8/95) MTV Unplugged studio filming/recording at SONY Studios in New York. However, once the Reunion tour got underway it became clear that their hiatus was going to be long and Bruce and Eric resigned from the band, to move on to new projects...
 
 
KISS #1 (June 1996 - Jan. 2001)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Peter Criss
Ace Frehley
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar/Vocals
The Reunion quickly turned into a new studio album project, plus Detroit Rock City movie project, which would have one new KISS song (which was essentially a Paul solo track), plus a live recording of Detroit Rock City cut in the studio. That song was recorded, KISS' final group recording, but it was judged as unusable (too rough) for use on the soundtrack and was only used in the movie. After the Psycho Circus Tour, KISS announced their Farewell Tour. At the culmination of the Farewell Tour's North American leg, Peter quit. Eric Singer returned to fill in to complete Farewell obligations to Japan and Australia. Even with all of the hints, few saw this departure coming...
 
KISS #8 (Jan. 2001 - Feb. 2002)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Singer
Ace Frehley
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums
Lead Guitar/Vocals
Following the departure of Peter, and expiration of Ace's contract with the band, the band got one of its best lineups, even if some did not appreciate Eric appearing in Peter's makeup design. Ace would repeatedly stated that he would no longer play with the band...
 
KISS #9 (Feb. 2002 - Oct. 2002)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Singer
Tommy Thayer
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums
Lead Guitar
With Ace performing with the band on an "at will basis", tour manager, and former KISS tribute band member, Tommy Thayer would be brought in to the band's lineup - he would make two live appearances with the band in Ace's makeup though would not an official member. Technically, Ace was neither out of the band nor still in it, and as of October 2002 Peter has agreed to return to the band for at least one show in 2003. This lineup would do one studio recording, without Ace or Tommy, for the Ramones tribute album...
 
KISS #10 (Oct. 2002 - Mar. 2004)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Peter Criss
Tommy Thayer
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Peter Criss would return to the band, again, while the question of KISS' guitarist would remain an issue, Tommy would continue to fulfill his role...
 
KISS #9 Again (Mar. 2004 -)
Gene Simmons
Paul Stanley
Eric Singer
Tommy Thayer
Bass/Vocals
Guitar/Vocals
Drums/Vocals
Lead Guitar
Peter Criss would not return to the lineup for 2004...