If KISS manager Doc McGhee could get one do-over in the band's roller-coaster career, he would scratch an underwhelming appearance on the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as the moment he'd happily scratch from the band's resume.
Like most rock and roll disasters, the road to that fateful parade were paved with good intentions. McGhee had wrangled a deal with guitar manufacturer Gibson for the band to perform atop the legendary company's parade float in 2014. While the collaboration looked perfect on paper, Paul Stanley has an exclusive deal with Washburn guitars and would play a Gibson. The float appearance was nixed, but event organizers let the band know they had another float they could play on and maintain the booking on the parade, which is seen by millions across the country.
"So, we get there, and [the new float] is literally like, 25 feet long with two microphones on it," McGhee explained on this year's annual KISS Kruise. "We looked like the shittiest thing on the Macy's Day Parade. When I saw it I went, 'ohhhh, this is how you get fired.' That was just a horrible time."
Stanley would agree, telling fans via Twitter, "Bluntly, we were screwed over and misled by the exec charge of #MacysThanksgivingParade," Stanley posted. "We ALL deserved better."
Looking back on the appearance now, and it's easy to see why the band felt slighted. After being introduced, they roll up on a barren flatbed truck, miming to "Rock and Roll All Nite." Guitarist Tommy Thayer looks particularly unenthused, while Gene Simmons does his best to keep the energy. Eventually, the band gets more into it, and the power of the song and some well-time pyrotechnics salvage what could have been a disastrous show. The performance is punctuated by a very enthusiastic Al Roker, who calls it "one for the ages" before bowing to the rock gods, Wayne's World style. Watch it below.