Did Kiss Get Into Trouble For Their Logo Appearing Like the SS Logo?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Kiss got into trouble for the Kiss logo appearing to contain the logo for the Nazi S.S.

The band Kiss was formed when guitarist Ace Frehley joined the group Wicked Lester, which consisted of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and (just before Frehley) Peter Criss. A few weeks after he joined, the band changed their name to Kiss (Stanley coined the name).

After joining the group, Frehley created the now iconic Kiss logo. Which brought them some trouble in the future. Read on to find out how!

kiss-logo

While surely Frehley did not intentionally mean to be offensive to Jewish people, considering both Simmons and Stanley were Jewish (and Simmons’ mother was a Holocaust survivor, even!), he still managed to clearly evoke the logo for Hitler’s personal nazi guard, the Schutzstaffel (more commonly known as the SS).

lightning-schutzstaffel_ss

They’re not just similar, they’re identical.

However, you could easily argue (and Frehley has) that the idea of using lightning bolts for s’s is not exactly the most original idea – it’s a fairly standard one, even. So you could easily see Frehley coming up with the logo idea independently from the infamous SS logo.

In any event, even if he did use the SS logo for an inspiration, like I said, he surely did not mean to offend.

And the logo did NOT offend people – until 1980, that is.

While preparing for a tour of West Germany in 1980, the logo became news again when the usage of the SS logo in a political ad became a big news story in West Germany. The politician asked, reasonably enough, why Kiss was allowed to use it. The German response was, essentially, “Well, they can’t, either.” In fact, currently, NO one can use the SS logo (as of 2004) legally. At the time, though, it was more of a “you better not use it!” type of thing.

Kiss did not want to piss off the Germans, especially when it was a fairly reasonable complaint (as, again, it really does look like the SS logo), so starting in 1980, all of their merchandise in Germany has contained an alternate logo…

logo_german01

And that’s really all there is to that!

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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2 Responses to “Did Kiss Get Into Trouble For Their Logo Appearing Like the SS Logo?”

  1. Yes and no. Apparently, Ace had an interest in all things National Socialism, including owning an SS uniform. Simmons, both Jewish and a teetotaler where drugs and alcohol are concerned, had no tolerance for Frehley’s drunken episodes of “Sieg Heil”-ing about their hotels.

    Simmons also steered into the Jewish curve by taking a decidedly leftist view of Frehley’s gun ownership. Okay, arsenal, ownership.

    As to the “SS” in “KISS”, the origin of the angular letter “S” is from the Runic alphabet, used by “Vikings” and Anglo-Saxons until the Roman alphabet, with its “curvy” letter “s” came along with Christianity; Runes were a magical(“pagan”)practice as much as an alphabet.

    Wiemar Germany experienced a resurgence in Pagan traditions that resulted in a health culture that included both Nudism and the weight-lifting craze adopted by Arnold Schwarzenegger whose father was involuntarily inducted into the SS as an Austrian Policeman.

    The N.S.D.A.P., or Nazis, adopted many pre-Christian Germanic traditions and iconography as epitomized by the party’s exultation of Wagner’s “Ride of The Valkyrie” from the “Ring Cycle” Operas.

    As to Simmons’ mother surviving the Holocaust, you don’t have to be a Nazi Skinhead to realize that much of what has been said, regarding gas chambers and crematoria, has been called into serious question. I’m not advocating racism or totalitarianism, but given the Polish Government’s decision to release the reduced death-toll information at Auschwitz, “6 Million Jewish People” were NOT killed by the Nazis. This is no excuse for Fascist Skinheads and racism, but Poland now says that the 4 Million, 2/3′s of that total, deaths at Auschwitz were overestimated. Only 1.5 died there, and it wasn’t all Jewish deaths.

  2. Troy, when you say something like, “I’m not advocating racism or totalitarianism, but…” it sounds like you’re being racist, whether or not you are. Also, even if only 1.5 million total people died in Auschwitz, that was just one of six death camps, add in the number of Jews that were killed before they even made it to the death camps, it seems reasonable that it could have been close to six million Jews that were killed. But even if you’re right and it was only, for instance, one million Jews who died…that’s still WAY too many.

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