Hive Five: Comparing the Antics of KISS and Mötley Crüe

Motley Crue And KISS Announce Their Co-Headlining Tour. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Those who go all weak-kneed for raunchy riffs, stage pyrotechnics, and leather-lunged singers belting out arena-sized heavy rockers about lurid liaisons with loose women were given a reason to get up in the morning when the news broke about KISS sharing a 2012 summer tour with Mötley Crüe. Of course, both the fifty-something hair-metal heroes and the kabuki-faced hard rockers who put the “sex” in sexagenarian have histories that would make Caligula blush, full of onstage, backstage, and offstage incidents of unbridled hedonism, hard drugs, unsavory sex, and general excess. So with the heavy metal match of the century in the offing, we couldn’t help but wonder what would happen when both bands faced off retroactively, going toe to toe with some of their most unmentionable moments.

1. Reality show throwdown

The biggest publicity magnets from both bands, Gene Simmons and Tommy Lee, are both naturals for reality TV, and each man has found himself featured in that arena more than once. The charismatic Crüe drummer was a judge on Rock Star: Supernova, a show where the winner became the singer for Tommy’s new supergroup, and he was the central focus for the ill-fated, self-explanatory Tommy Lee Goes to College. The intimidating KISS bassist basically usurped Ozzy’s place as TV’s favorite rock & roll patriarch, with Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, and got fired by Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice.

Advantage: KISS. Because the world needed another opportunistic supergroup like it needed another musical variation on Survivor, and anybody who gets canned by The Donald has got to be doing something right.

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