Friday, July 02, 2010

Managerobit: Bill Aucoin

Bill Aucoin, the man who not only drove Kiss to fame but was smart enough to copyright their facepainting, has died.

He hadn't been meant to be managing pomp-rock bands; he had been working in television. A series he directed on the music business led to him getting letters from a Gene Simmons, asking if he could be hooked up with people who would help his band. Aucoin decided he should be that person.

He took over in October 1973, pushing their gentle-toying-with-glam-make-up to toddler-at-the-dressing-table-when-mummy-is-distracted levels, and shaping the various members of the band into 'characters'.

Aucoin made money from his charges, although having funded the band's first proper tour with his chargecard he had invested heavily. He put the figure at something like a third of a million dollars he'd sunk into the project - although, like all things Kiss, this figure may well have been overinflated and only have one foot on the solid ground of fact.

By 1982, Kiss were weary of Aucoin's level of return on investment, and dumped him to claw back the 25% of earnings he was taking.

It's arguable that Bill Aucoin's greatest contribution to the band was his insistence that they split the income (or the 75% they had left after his cut) equally amongst all members. That the band continue operating today probably owes much to this move cutting out the development of petty jealousy over who gets what.

After Kiss, Aucoin operated mainly as a management consultant for bands.

Bill Aucoin was 66; he died from complications related to prostate cancer.