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Kiss Is Retiring (Again) But This Time They’re Being Replaced With Metaverse Avatars

On December 2, rock legends Kiss played a final live show as part of their farewell tour. But before they called it a day, the make-up-wearing rockers made one final, vague announcement: They said they would live on forever as digital avatars…somewhere. Probably.

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You might be thinking, wait, didn’t Kiss already do a big farewell tour? And yes, they did in 2000. But then a few members left the band and were replaced and they kept on playing tours as if that big send-off concert series never happened. Now, this time, Kiss is seriously, super for real done playing live shows. However, the band has plans to keep on keeping on via the digital avatars they debuted at that New York City concert.

At the end of their Saturday night concert, the final part of their farewell tour, Kiss co-founder and original member Paul Stanley revealed the band’s new digital era.

“You know something. The end of this road is the beginning of another road,” Stanley said on stage. “We’re not going anywhere! You’ll see us in all different things, all the time. See you in your dreams. We love you! Goodnight!”

After some fire and smoke filled the stage, the band members (the real human ones, at least) vanished and a large screen behind where they were standing began showing what I can only describe as cyber mountains.

Salvatore Bellamo / Kiss

Seconds later, as the crowd cheered on, digital recreations of Kiss created by Industrial Light and Magic—the studio behind visual effects in Star Wars and Jurassic Park—appeared on screen alongside more supernatural elements. For example, Gene Simmons was now sporting demon wings. Digital Stanley then spoke: “Kiss army! Your love, your power, has made us immortal! The new Kiss era starts now.”

What does this all mean? Good question. It doesn’t seem like Kiss knows at this point.

Nobody knows what the new era of Kiss actually is

“This is the sneak peek as the band crosses over from the physical world to the digital,” Grady Cofer, visual effects supervisor at ILM, told Fast Company. “We want to give fans a sense of the many forms this band could take in the future.”

The company helping transform the Kiss band from living humans to digital intellectual property is Sweden-based Pophouse Entertainment, which is also responsible for the successful ABBA Voyage show in London which uses similar digital avatars to put on live stage shows with hologram-like projections. Pophouse is led by Swedish music executive Per Sundin, who also doesn’t really seem to know what digital Kiss is going to be doing in the future.

“We’re going to figure it out after the tour,” Sundin told Fast Company. “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. We want to be as open as possible.” Pophouse reps also name dropped the metaverses of Roblox or Fortnite as possible places these immortal rock gods could land.

This wouldn’t be the band’s first video game appearance as they were already in Tony Hawk’s Underground on the PS2.

While I understand why Kiss and other bands are doing this—to make money—I still find myself confused as to why anybody would be excited to pay money to watch digital versions of real, possibly dead people, on stage singing the same songs you’ve heard hundreds of times already.

“We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we’ve never dreamed of before,” Simmons said in a promotional video filmed at ILM this past November. “The technology is going to make Paul [Stanley] jump higher than he’s ever done before. I’m looking forward to that.”

I’m not against enjoying classic music or movies. But it seems disturbing and backward to want creators and artists to be uploaded to the cloud or metaverse or whatever so they can keep doing the same thing over and over again forever and ever.

That feels like a nightmarish and efficient way to eventually kill pop culture and end up in a weird future like Star Trek where people in the far-off year of 2370 are still primarily listening to Mozart and seemingly haven’t evolved their own, modern artistic expressions. That seems sad. But hey, Gene Simmons gets richer I guess, so whatever!

“The future is so exciting. If you think you’re going to get rid of us,” Simmons (seemingly) threatened, “I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.”

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