R.I.P. — Remembering ex-KISS guitarist Mark St. John on 10th year anniversary of his death

R.I.P. — Remembering ex-KISS guitarist Mark St. John on 10th year anniversary of his death

Today marks 10 years since former KISS guitarist Mark St. John passed away. Below is the Sleaze Roxx article from its now defunct R.I.P. section in that regard:


Birth Name: Mark Leslie Norton
Born: February 7, 1956 — Hollywood, California
Died: April 5, 2007
Cause of Death: Brain Hemorrhage

1984 — KISSAnimalize
1986 — White TigerWhite Tiger
1988 — KISSSmashes, Thrashes & Hits
1990 — Tamplin And FriendsAxe To Grind
1999 — Mark St. John Project  — Mark St. John Project
2003 — Mark St. JohnMagic Bullet Theory
2004 — KISSThe Best of Kiss, Volume 2: The Millennium Collection
2014 — KISSKiss 40

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Former KISS guitarist Mark St. John died Thursday from an apparent brain hemorrhage. He was 51.

Born Mark Norton in Hollywood, St. John was KISS‘ third official guitarist, having replaced Vinnie Vincent — the substitute for Ace Frehley — in 1984.

By this point, KISS had done away with its trademark makeup and costumes, but the group was enjoying a career renaissance. The lone KISS studio album on which St. John appeared, Animalize, re-established the group as one of the world’s top arena metal bands. The album spawned the popular MTV video, “Heaven’s On Fire” (the only KISS video to feature St. John).

St. John‘s flashy playing reflected the era’s Van Halen-influenced rock guitarists, but it certainly helped spark the material on Animalize, which many fans consider one of KISS‘ strongest non-makeup releases. However, right around the time KISS was to launch a worldwide tour in support of the album, St. John was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome, which caused his hands and arms to swell, and prevented him from playing guitar.

Guitarist Bruce Kulick filled in (St. John did manage to play one full show with the group, and portions of a few others) and eventually replaced St. John as KISS‘ permanent guitarist.

His medical condition improved after leaving KISS, and St. John launched a pop/metal outfit, White Tiger, with ex-Black Sabbath singer David Donato. St. John briefly teamed up with original KISS drummer Peter Criss in a group that didn’t release any recordings, and appeared as a guest speaker at KISS conventions. In 2003, he released an all-instrumental album, Magic Bullet Theory.

“I wish to express my sympathy to Mark St. John‘s family and friends,” Kulick said in a statement. “Though Mark was the guitarist I replaced, I respected his talent and contribution to KISS. May he rest in peace.”

KISS‘ “Heaven’s On Fire” video:

Kiss – Heaven’s On Fire

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