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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A decade after KISS embarked on a farewell tour, the rock band on Monday unveiled a three-month series of U.S. concerts starting in July and modestly titled the "Hottest Show on Earth."
The band is currently playing Europe, and will take a month off before beginning their U.S. trek in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 23. Dates are on tap through September 24 in Phoenix, Ariz.
KISS, a relentless rock 'n' roll merchandising machine, is out promoting its first album in 11 years, "Sonic Boom," which debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. pop chart last October. But the flamboyant foursome is in the enviable position of not having to worry about either album or ticket sales in the recessionary environment.
"The bands that have to worry about the recession are the ones who don't give their money's worth to the audience," singer/guitarist Paul Stanley told Reuters by telephone from Prague. "If you come to see us, your money will blind you and deafen you and pummel you."
He promised there would be enough fireworks "to bring down low-flying aircraft," which explains the name of the tour.
Stanley's business partner, singer/bassist Gene Simmons, said in a separate interview from the Czech capital that it was OK in principle to be "piggish" about ticket prices and let capitalism take its course.
KISS, however, generally keeps prices to a relatively modest range of $60 to $80, and offers VIP packages to those who want to pay upward of $1,000 to meet them backstage, Simmons said. A spokeswoman for concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc said pricing had not yet been confirmed for the U.S. tour. The band is donating $1 from each ticket to the Wounded Warriors Project, a group that helps rehabilitate veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The new tour will mostly take place during the weekends so that Stanley can maintain a semblance of domestic weekday normalcy with his young family in Beverly Hills.
The show clocks in at about two hours, composed largely of old favorites from the band's 36-year career, such as "Lick It Up" and "Shout It Out Loud." The U.S. set list will likely be the same as that for Europe, with no changes from show to show.
KISS, rounded out by guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, has dusted off a pair of old hits for European fans, "Crazy Crazy Nights" and "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You II." It is also playing three tunes from "Sonic Boom." Neither Simmons nor Stanley was inclined to unveil additional tunes from the album.
Stanley, who produced "Sonic Boom," said he hoped to start work on a follow-up by the end of the year. Simmons seemed less enthusiastic about returning to the studio.
Merchandising is Simmons' specialty, with the band granting licenses to about 3,000 products, ranging from coffins to coffeehouses to condoms. Simmons, who stars with his family in the reality TV show "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels" and appears in a commercial for tour sponsor Dr Pepper, regrets that he has barely begun to tap the band's potential.
"I want this world to be called Planet KISS -- oh, by the way, we already own that trademark," he said. "I want every breath of air you take to be KISS air. You should be charged for every breath of KISS air that you take."
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)
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