Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bill Aucoin: RIP & KISS

Monday, Joey Kinsley, my one and only bass guitar student (he's much better than I'll ever be), sent me an article about Bill Aucoin’s death which occurred in Aventura, Florida. While many may not recognize his name, you will recognize his handiwork: KISS, Billy Idol, and Billy Squire. Although he was the manager of all three, he probably is best known for his work with rock legends KISS.

 Bill Aucoin with one of KISS' gold record awards

According to his official biography, “Combining his directorial background, music sagacity and his shrewd marketing ability, William "Bill" Aucoin discovered, developed and propelled a New York band named KISS, into internationally recognized superstars that generated commercial revenues of $119,000,000 during the 1978 fiscal year alone.”

Black Diamond

From their 1974 debut LP, Paul Stanley’s “Black Diamond” is one of my favorite KISS tunes. Although Stanley sings lead on the songs intro, drummer Peter Criss is the primary vocalist throughout the remainder of the song.

It is said that since there was no money for a tour to support the “KISS” LP, Bill Aucoin personally financed their debut tour by using his American Express card. So impressed with the band, he felt that his investment would exponentially return to him – he was right.

Rock and Roll All Nite

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley co-wrote “Rock and Roll All Nite,” their 1975 hit single was released twice by Casablanca Records during that year. The first version featured a studio cut from the LP “Dressed to Kill” and immediately tanked at #68. When the LP “Alive” was released later that year, the song was re-released with the live version on the A side and the studio version on the B side. It was KISS’ first top 20 hit and peaked at #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Detroit Rock City

In 1976, KISS released their highest charting single – a double sided hit – with “Detroit Rock City” on the Plug side, while the ballad, “Beth” graced the flip. A flip they did, DJs all across the US who had moderate success with “Detroit Rock City” began playing the B side. The ballad captured the hearts of Americans everywhere and it became the best known song for the band. Here’s the lesser of the two hits that charted at #7.


Although KISS and Aucoin parted ways in 1982, he set the stage for their successes throughout their career including their second most popular single. “Forever,” originally released on 1990s “Hot in the Shade” LP topped the Hot 100 at #8. The following recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is from the “KISS Sympony: Alive IV” CD & DVD. The orchestra and conductor join the KISS army by wearing KISS makeup for the performance.

Thanks Bill Aucoin for bringing KISS as well as Billy Idol and Billy Squire to the forefront. May you rest in peace.