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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Rock fans take passion to grave
Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons
The "kasket" will be added to Kiss wine and bubblegum
Theatrical heavy rock band Kiss, best-known for their outlandish face paint and stage antics, are taking music merchandising one step further - to the grave.

A Kiss coffin, which can also double up as a refrigerator to chill beer while the owner is waiting to die, has been unveiled by lead singer Gene Simmons.

The band, who were once named most popular band in America with fan club membership numbering hundreds of thousands, plan to make dying a little easier for die-hard fans by selling the coffin, which will retail for $4,000 (2,850).

Its cover will show the four Kiss members in full stage make-up, the band's logo and a crowd shot from one of the band's concerts.

Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons
Simmons during last year's farewell tour
Simmons, 51, launched the latest in their increasingly bizarre branding ventures at New York's Licensing 2001 conference.

They were pioneers of marketing tie-ins when, in the 1970s, they launched comic books, pinball machines, make-up and masks, board games and a TV movie.

Kiss merchandise now stretches to wine, bubblegum and mobile phones.

Simmons was using the coffin as a cooler for soft drinks and beer at the conference.

"We figured, why not use it while you're alive?" he told Variety magazine.

Religious icons

"For a guy that's home watching the game in his living room, he could just reach over and grab a cold one."

Simmons estimates the band's merchandising worth at more than $500m (356m).

The group shot to worldwide fame in the late 70s with the Destroyer album and US top 10 single Beth.

Single Crazy Crazy nights reached the UK top five in the late eighties, while God Gave Rock and Roll to You II did the same in 1992.

The band played a farewell tour last year.

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02 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Kiss drummer bails out of 'farewell tour'
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