EXPIRED: 06/28/10 – Bill Aucoin, 66, loved men in makeup.

But not any men in make-up. He loved KISS. And why not? He discovered them.

As the story goes, Aucoin was pestered by schoolteacher and rock-star wannabe Gene Simmons to come see his band for most of 1972. When Aucoin finally showed up at a gig, it as at New York City’s famously dilapidated Hotel Diplomat  (don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore… but it used to be at 108 – 116 West 43rd Street just west of 6th Avenue) during the summer of 1973. He liked what he saw, introduced the band to friend and record company executive Neil Bogart, who was starting his own label called Casablanca Records and was looking for an act to sign and there you have it – Aucoin was in the rock and roll management business.

KISS didn’t set the bar very high. They just wanted to be as big as the New York Dolls. Aucoin thought he could take the band much higher. He helped KISS take their bar band act and develop it into a stadium-sized extravaganza that got kids all across the world screaming for more. In fact, he literally financed their first tour with his American Express Card. It all paid off a few years later when the band’s first live album spawned the teen anthem “Rock and Roll All Night.”

He brainstormed and reaped the benefits of some of the best merchandizing any rock band has ever seen, before or since. KISS is still, till this day,one of the best self-promoters there ever were.

Aucoin was labeled the 5th member of KISS, even though there were many other members of the band who came and went. After 10 years, KISS and Aucoin parted ways about the same time when the band wanted to remove the makeup (Aucoin wanted to keep it part of the act). He was also quite busy during this time working on the careers of Billy Idol, Billy Squire and, New Jersey’s own, Starz — all to somewhat less success.

He quit the business a while back but had returned in the 00’s managing Florida metal band Crossbreed, Minneapolis glam-punks Flipp, Finnish hard-rocker Lordi, and Tantric, a post-grunge band from Kentucky. He recently started working with Fernando Perdomo, a Miami-based singer/songwriter formerly with Dreaming In Stereo.

Aucoin died of complications from prostate cancer near the home he shared with his domestic partner, Roman Fernandez.



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