KIX was founded in 1978 in Hagerstown, Maryland as The Shooze, then changed its name to The Generators before eventually settling on KIX. They were considered one of Maryland’s top cover bands prior to their signing with Atlantic Records in 1981. Though often lumped in with bands that many consider to be glam metal or hair metal, the bands popmetal stylings on the first KIX record drew inspiration from bubblegum pop and new wave as well as hard rock.
In 1981, they debuted with a self-titled album “KIX,” featuring “Atomic Bombs,” “Heartache,” “Contrary Mary”,”The Itch,” “The Kid.” “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” instantly became a concert favorite. “KIX Are for Kids” creatively merged the name of the band with two popular cereals of the 1960s and 1970s, KIX (that featured an atomic bomb commercial) and the Trix Rabbit (i.e., “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”). “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” became the band’s most popular concert song, always with a unique ad-lib performance by Whiteman. With this album, the tongue-in-cheek rock & roll style of KIX was established.
Their 1983 follow-up, “Cool Kids” showcased a slightly more commercial side of the band featuring the title song and the single “Body Talk.” Somewhat overlooked but a favorite with female fans was the ballad “For Shame.” “Cool Kids” later was lampooned in good spirit on the popular MTV show “Beavis and Butthead.”
KIX then partnered up with Ratt and future Warrant producer Beau Hill and, in 1985, released the hard rock power house album “Midnite Dynamite,” featuring a hard rock single by the same name and the funkier rock songs “Cold Shower” and “Sex.” The music video for “Cold Shower” quickly gained popularity and was put into regular rotation on MTV. The band headed west to continue to make a name for themselves in such places as the Sunset Strip, where Mötley Crüe and other glam metal bands rose to stardom. KIX was quickly becoming a formidable live band like no other.