Ace Frehley Expects To Get Paid For Using The Spaceman In KISS Avatars
Ace Frehley covers The Beatles' "I'm Down" - Ace Frehley / Youtube
Ace Frehley, the founding guitarist of KISS, was questioned recently by Greg Prato of Ultimate Guitar regarding payment for the use of his “Spaceman” makeup in the KISS avatars that recently divided the band’s fandom.
According to Frehley, he is paid for the use, especially when it comes to goods. Although he sees the avatar project as a marketing tactic, he brought up Gene Simmons’ reluctance to support it.
“But who knows with those guys — every day is a different story with those guys. And to be totally honest with you, I really don’t follow what they do very closely — because I’m more involved with my own career,” the Spaceman added.
Every member of KISS created their own makeup, and drummer Peter Criss lost ownership of his “Catman” persona when he departed. In 2014, Frehley claimed to have licensed his makeup and that he would regain the rights. Paul Stanley, on the other hand, claimed ownership of the work and called Frehley’s claim “fantasy” in a tweet from March 2014.
The avatars will help KISS stay “on the road” even after retirement
Stanley affirmed that KISS was the rightful proprietor of the “Spaceman” and “Catman” characters in October 2015. Speaking with Australia’s 4KQ, he disclosed that the original members had undervalued the characters, which is why they were originally sold for a comparatively low price.
“Quite honestly, I’ve always thought our image and what we represent is priceless. It didn’t matter to some people — it truly matters to me,” the guitarist emphasized.
Simmons reportedly stated that the KISS avatar show received a large investment totaling “about 200 million” USD. The avatar technology, first created for ABBA’s London Voyage concert, allows KISS to stay “on the road” even after they retire.
KISS avatars were created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with production and financial support from Pophouse Entertainment, a Swedish business behind Voyage.
KISS’ avatars are eight-foot tall heroes with superpowers
Unlike the ABBA Voyage display–which painstakingly reenacts an ABBA concert from the 1970s in a specially built London arena–KISS’s avatars, as shown at the band’s most recent farewell performance in New York, deviate from reality.
According to BBC News, the KISS avatars will show the band as fantastical, eight-foot-tall fantasy superheroes that can shoot electricity and breathe fire out of their fingertips while hovering over the crowd. Yep, that sounds about right.
The precise plans for KISS’s avatars are still unknown. Before the final Madison Square Garden performance, Pophouse CEO Per Sundin asserted, “We’re going to figure it out after the tour.”
Sundin also teased about being “as open as possible”. He revealed, “Is it a KISS concert in the future? Is it a rock opera? Is it a musical? A story, an adventure? These four individuals already have superpowers.”
“The end is only the beginning”
The avatars are scheduled to appear in live events across the world as well as in a variety of digital online spaces that are collectively referred to as the “metaverse.”
With its own avatar show, KISS is set to become the first American band to fully embrace virtual performance history.
This project includes JOCOUP Creative, which is run by Thierry Coup, a former director of Universal Creative, and Johanna “Jojo” Atilano, a former employee of both BRC and Universal Creative. Coup has also been named the KISS avatar show’s creative director.
You can watch the teaser trailer below, with the description promising the end as “only the beginning”: KISS have been immortalized and reborn as avatars to rock forever.