Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has defended ticket prices for the US rock band’s End of the Road tour by stating, “being in a touring band is big business.”
While basic tickets cost from $25, standard VIP packages begin at $1,000, which includes a photo opportunity, a lithograph, a $100 merchandise voucher, a laminate, a private venue entrance and “access to crowd-free merchandise shopping.”
The “very limited” Ultimate Kiss Army Experience package, which runs for $5,000, includes a private backstage meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with the band and the opportunity to “watch the whole show from the pit (no fans have ever had access to the pit).”
It also includes a “backstage tour with your personal KISS Concierge” including access to areas that only the band and limited members of the crew can visit; beginning by “stepping foot on the holy ground that is the KISS stage.”
Simmons told the Financial Times newspaper: “Unless you’re willing to live in your mother’s basement and have a job and do music as a hobby, which is wonderful, being in a touring band is big business.
“You’ll see a show out there that is as good, or better, than anything else. If you’ve got one guy with an acoustic guitar, you can charge less. We’ve got 60 people on the crew and 20 trucks and who knows how many buses, and a jet.”
Kiss has brought in $58.7m and sold 518,395 tickets across 44 shows so far in 2019, according to Pollstar’s mid-year report. Almost all of the dates have brought in more than $1m each, with the New York Madison Square Garden performance cashing in $1.95m and sold 13,359 tickets.
Kiss guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley said: “I certainly never bought into this idea of being a dumb rock musician who at some point goes, ‘Where’d all my money go?’ I’ve always believed that as talented as you may be at making money, there’s probably someone who’s just as talented at taking it.
“So it always made sense to me to monetise what we do. There’s a difference between being an idealist and realist, and the difference is age. The whole idea of a starving artist, or the idea someone isn’t interested in money — well, guess what, you will be when rent comes due.”