Legends never die: KISS follow in ABBA's footsteps with virtual avatars that can play forever

With five decades of thrilling shows under their studded belts, the iconic rockers are going virtual

KISS virtual avatars
(Image credit: Pophouse entertainment)

If there's one thing we know about KISS it's that you should never believe them when they say they're calling it a day. So we're not entirely surprised that their latest apparent exit was more of a see you later than a final farewell. As the band prepared to finish the last show of their End of the Road tour, they unveiled a new virtual version of the band to perform God Gave Rock And Roll To You.

The avatars were made by Pophouse Entertainment in collaboration with George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, who made the ABBA avatars for London's ABBA Voyage show. Pophouse is the lead investor in Voyage, so while there are no official plans for a Voyage-style Kiss installation or tour, it's clear that the goal here is to keep KISS alive on stage for a very long time.

What are the plans for KISS's virtual band?

KISS frontman Paul Stanley says that the avatars will keep the band "forever young and forever iconic", taking the band "to a completely different level beyond just being a music band."

According to Pophouse, "The technology has enabled ILM to capture the band’s face and body performance, forming the basis of the avatars in combination with ILM’s artistry and machine learning technology, allowing the creative essence of KISS to be able to live on forever." And "The new KISS avatar shows will be the second immersive, avatar-powered music concert project that Pophouse Entertainment is involved in".

Of all the bands to embrace virtual versions, KISS are perhaps one of the least surprising: they've been a brand almost as long as they've been a band, with spin-offs including Marvel comic books, board games, condoms and coffins. The Financial Times calls them "rock's greatest capitalists", and with the band now in its fifth decade age is beginning to take its toll: as Paul Stanley told the FT, there's "40lb of armour and studs" in their stage outfits. 

Going virtual enables the band to keep delivering thrilling live shows when the individual band members' backs and knees aren't so keen on donning the costumes and platform boots. Whatever the band is planning, you can be sure that'll it'll be big, it'll be bombastic and it'll be gloriously over the top: expect crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy nights.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).