Does “KISS” stand for anything? And what does the Holocaust have to do with it?


The hard rock band KISS, known for their wild stage makeup and intense pyrotechnics, will not be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame this year (for the 11th year in a row.)

Fans insist this is a major diss, but critics who consider KISS a gimmick band (despite their 24 gold albums) think that they have no place among the 288 inductees.

Hype around the KISS snub inspired curiousity about the band’s name. Surely it can’t simply refer to the wholesome act of smooching? Is it an acronym?

Rumors would have you believe that KISS is an acronym for “Knights In Satan’s Service” or “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

But a more accepted story says that in 1973, band co-founders Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss were driving in New York City when Criss mentioned that he’d been in a band called Lips. This inspired Stanley, and he came up with the name KISS.

A logo was drawn up in which the “SS” resembled lightning bolts, and then the name was handwritten over the band’s name at the time — Wicked Lester — on a poster outside of a club.

The stylization of the “SS” resembled the insignia of the Nazi SS, which is illegal to display in Germany. So, the logo was eventually modified to look like a “ZZ” on band merchandise sold in Germany.

This point carries special significance because band leader Gene Simmons’ mother is a Holocaust survivor.

Simmons was born in Israel as Chaim Witz. He immigrated to the U.S. as a child, where he took the name Eugene Klein and eventually went by Gene. His mother’s maiden name is Klein.

In the 1960s, he changed his name yet again. This time he chose Gene Simmons to honor rockabilly performer Jumpin’ Gene Simmons. Jumpin’ Gene was born in Mississippi and at one point performed as an opening act for Elvis Presley.

Lady Gaga’s name also honors a legendary rock star. Do you know who it is? Here’s the answer.

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