KISS has undergone numerous lineup changes since the band’s formation in 1973,When Criss left in 1980, Eric Carr joined as his replacement, and when Carr passed away in 1991 from heart cancer, Eric Singer took his place. Two years after Criss’ departure, Ace Frehley also decided to leave the band. Vinnie Vincent officially replaced Frehley in December 1982, and a year later, KISS decided it was time for a change and entered their unmasked era.
On September 18, 1983, they made their first appearance without makeup and released the album titled ‘Lick It Up.’ Due to the issues between him, Stanley, and Simmons, Vincent was fired after the ‘Lick It Up’ promotion tour. To replace him, Mark St. John joined the band. However, St. John’s career with KISS lasted only eight months.
Mark St. John was a respected teacher and a guitarist for the Southern California cover band Front Page before joining KISS. When he became a KISS member, he contributed to the band’s second unmasked-era album ‘Animalize.’ After its release on September 13, 1984, the album ended up being one of the band’s most successful studio albums, except for the ones made by the original KISS lineup. Moreover, his only music video appearance with KISS is in the video for ‘Heaven’s On Fire.’
During the recordings of ‘Animalize,’ St. John had issues with his bandmates. Paul Stanley argued that the guitarist struggled to play the same solo twice, so he had to dub certain parts of St. John’s solos. Sadly, the guitarist started to develop reactive arthritis, and he couldn’t play with the band as his hands and arms were swollen. So, Mark ended up playing only two shows with the band during the ‘Animalize’ tour. In the end, Bruce Kulick replaced him on December 8, 1984.
On April 5, 2007, the guitarist died of a brain hemorrhage from an accidental overdose. After his death, Mark St. John remained a lesser-known member of KISS who didn’t even appear on any album front cover.