The KISS Army–a music fanbase that is so committed to their cause that they have signed up to wage war for the band–is marking its anniversary today. [Image via Victor Frankowski/Flickr]
On this day in 1975, the KISS Army was founded by two teenage fans in Terre Haute, Indiana. According to the KISS Army website, two teenagers named Bill Starkey and Jay Evans formed the group after several of the local radio stations in town refused to play their music on the radio and since this was before the days when music was not only available to listen to just about anywhere and free to download as long as the RIAA didn’t know about it, they decided to do something about it.
They started a letter writing campaign to the stations under the name “The KISS Army” demanding that the band they worship get some airtime. One station, WVTS, responded to their request and referred to the request as being from “The KISS Army” on the air prompting listeners to call in and ask how they could enlist.
When KISS finally made a live appearance on stage in Terre Haute, WVTS’ program director Rich Dickerson started working with the young lads to get the word out about the show by recruiting members to the Army through the radio station. The show sold out and the KISS Army had 10,000 dedicated members. The band even brought the boys up on stage and presented them with a special plaque to commemorate the Army’s founding and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, the Army is still going strong with more than 100,000 enlisted members. The group earns at least $5,000 a day in merchandise revenue. Hell, the face-up makeup and leather pants industries alone wouldn’t be where they are now with them.