Gene Simmons recently told Better Connecticut about KISS’ offensive original name idea.
“I couldn’t drive in my early 20s – I didn’t start driving till I was 34 ’cause in New York, you just took cabs.
“And Paul [Stanley, vocals/guitar] was driving myself in his beat-up Mustang or something – myself and I think it may have been Peter [Criss, the original KISS drummer] or maybe Ace [Frehley, the original KISS guitarist] in the back of the car.
“And we were trying to think of a name. And I said, ‘Why don’t we call the band the word ‘F’?’, which you can’t say on stage. And the first album could be called ‘It,’ like, ‘F It.’
“The second record could be called ‘You,’ like, ‘F You’. And the third record could be called ‘Us,’ like ‘F Us.’ ‘Yeah, kind of cool. How about that?’ And we started laughing.
“And I don’t know if he was half-serious or not, but Paul said, ‘Yeah, let’s call ourselves KISS.’ And we went, ‘Woah, woah, woah! What did you say?’ And we just got it right away.
“Whatever happened, happened naturally. There were no marketing companies. We didn’t even know what that was. ‘Kiss,’ yeah, everybody on earth knows what that is. It’s universal – the kiss of death, the kiss of life, and all that stuff. And so it just felt right.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.