Excerpts from the Miami Herald

Kenneth AndersonBefore Kiss, no rock group had ever put quite as much emphasis on the outrageous while onstage.

It was up to Kenneth Anderson to make those wild antics happen.

Anderson, who died of cancer at 75 on Dec. 15 at his Hallandale Beach home, was vice president of production at Aucoin Management in New York and helped design Kiss’ stage productions from 1976 to 1982.

This was the era when the hard rock foursome’s theatrical shows were evolving at a crazy, scary pace. A fire-breathing bassist. A levitating drum set. Flashing lightning bolts. Confetti rockets.

“Don’t try to describe a Kiss concert if you’ve never seen it,” South Florida troubadour Jimmy Buffett once quipped in his 1978 tune, Mañana. He was clearly referencing Anderson’s stage designs. These came from ideas that were coming fast and furious from band leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley…

“Ken Anderson was dedicated to our cause and his skill was in evidence to anyone who saw our stages during those years,” Simmons and Stanley posted on the Kiss website.

Anderson was born in Melrose, MA. One of his first gigs was as a lighting director at Boston’s WGBH for its signature series, The French Chef starring Julia Child. He met Bill Aucoin there, Kiss’ former manager who helped catapult the band after its formation in 1972. Anderson also worked on Sesame Street, its spin-off, The Electric Company, and stage production work with Jesus Christ Superstar and Oh, Calcutta!

 

2 Comments

  1. Russell Connor on August 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    The news of Kenny Anderson’s passing touches me and reminds me of the importance of cherishing the good people, staying in touch, etc. I remember fondly when he was lighting director on Museum Open House, a 1960s WGBH show produced with the Museum of Fine Arts on which I was the writer/host.. I remember his kind support and good humor as well as his imaginative skill, and regret
    losing contact. Thank you, Kenny

  2. Horace (Dick) Hiner on July 13, 2014 at 11:54 am

    So very sorry to hear of the passing of Kenny Anderson. I knew him when I was a BU crew member 1961-1963. Kenny taught us lighting according to my BU crew book. I remember working with him, helping light the BSO remote concerts. The string section was always raising hell about the bright lights in their eyes. One night, Kenny brought in two 5 Ks and spotted them directly on the string section, knowing full well that they were more than he required. When the string section began jumping up and down, Kenny said, “alright, alright, I give up” and he took down the unneeded lighting. The string section thought they had won and didn’t complain any longer about the regular lighting. Kenny knew how to work the system and taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. RIP Kenny, my friend.

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