It's not a photograph of Gene Simmons unless he's sticking out his enormous tongue, and that's exactly what the Kiss bass player is doing in this stunning Joe Sia capture from 1979. The smoky red stage lights illuminating "The Demon" pair beautifully with the color of his cape (and, of course, his tongue, which was surely dripping fake blood later in the gig). Kiss was still riding a massive wave of success in 1979: the year before, the band simultaneously released four solo albums, and their follow-up, Dynasty, exceeded platinum sales levels. They stylistically stumbled a bit in the years after, but as this photo makes clear, Kiss's glittery hard rock was a spectacle without parallel.
Joe Sia was a shooting star, a genuine, hands-down, everyone-agrees-on-this star at shooting [photographs], and his departure from this planet in 2003 at the tender age of 57 was too soon for a man of his talent. Born in the Bronx and a committed Yankees man, Joe loved music and gravitated around the Fillmore East and the flower-power youth-culture rock scene from whence he set out to capture some of the most incredible sounds of the last half-century. How could Joe capture sounds on camera film? He did it by focusing on the faces of the performers and the woozing-oozing crowd and by giving the background, whether simple or wild, the importance it deserved in defining the artist and event. Sia's entire archive consists more than a quarter of a million photographs that document almost 35 years of music genre and giants.