Destroyer/Rock and Roll over tours 1976
& Psycho Circus variations
The band first appeared in
the Destroyer costumes in around late January 1976, for a session of photos, used for
promotion for the upcoming album "Destroyer". These costumes were the
prototypes, and in some cases differed a great deal from the finished versions.
The prototype version of Gene's costume, which can be seen on pictures A to C, had smaller
breastplates, and looked rather wimpy compared to the finished version. If you look
carefully, you can also see that Gene's leotard does not cover his upper body.
Also seen for the first time was Gene's famous monster boots (picture B)... these would of
course, follow Gene for the main part of the rest of his career. With this outfit the
boots were scaly. The prototype version of the boots, had horns on the sides (circled in).
Much more about the boots later on!!
On the finished costume there were a spike on the back of each hand, but that was not a
part of the prototype (as seen in picture C... or rather: as not seen in picture
C).There seemed to be a competition between Paul and Gene,
about how to bring the attention to their crotch-areas. Gene started it in 1975, with the
studded codpiece, which Paul had copied on his Destroyer outfit. So in order to top that
Gene had a protruding spike (seen on both picture D and E (circled in on E)) added to his
codpiece for the new costume. This looked rather ridiculous, and was dropped pretty
Picture F shows the finished pair of boots... look below for a more detailed description
of "The Making of the Monster Boots"! Picture G is a rare look of the
armor alone from behind. The armor is held together by adjustable buckles and straps that
are hidden under the armor. As you can see in picture G everything is attached to a heavy
piece of leather at the nape of the neck. This hold everything together, and the armor
basically hangs on Gene's shoulder like a jacket.
NOTE: The armor in picture G is not the original costume, but a replica made from
the original molds!!
were two versions of the Destroyer costume, by the way. Pictures from the Destroyer-tour
shows the armor as grayish, held together with just a simple string (circled in on picture
H). For the Rock And Roll Over-tour Genes outfit was shimmering silver, held together with
straps (circled in on picture I). The costume is made from a vacu-formed plastic, called
Kydex which is also used by the police in the USA. It pitch black and has to be painted.
Picture J is from the Japanese tour in 1977, and shows Gene in a Japanese kimono. You also
get a good look of Gene's leotard, which was usually hidden by the armor.
Picture K is quite an enigma! Gene is wearing his 1974/75 boots with his Destroyer outfit!
My estimate is, that the picture is from the early summer of 1977. As you can see Paul is
wearing his Rock And Roll Over outfit, and it seems to be quite hot (Paul has taken the
top down). Maybe this was a last minute appearance before changing into the Love Gun
outfits, and the Destroyer costumes had already been put into storage... but that is just
Pictures L to N
shows three different chokers used with the Destroyer/Rock And Roll Over costume: they
were all leather chokers, with rows of pyramid shaped studs. One with 4 (picture L), one
with 3 (picture M), and one with only two (picture N).
Psycho Circus outfit (pictures O to T) was also silver, like the Rock And Roll Over
version of this outfit. But there were several major differences between the
Destroyer/Rock And Roll Over outfit and the Psycho Circus version. This new version is
made from vacu-formed hot melt vinyl.
The differences between the original version of the costume, and this new one, comes down
to this: first of all, the Psycho Circus outfit was a lot bigger and broader than the
original. Gene had gained a lot of weight up through the years, so the old Destroyer
outfit had to be somewhat enlarged to fit him, but it also made him look enormous!
Secondly, the leotard underneath the armor was not open at the chest, as can easily be
seen on picture P and Q. There's a small difference between the armor in picture P and the
one in picture Q. Compare the straps holding the armor together... the straps in picture P
are silver, while the ones in picture Q are black.
The third major difference was the codpiece... it was a lot bigger, and had a different
pattern of studs on it. The codpiece seen on picture O had two rows of small studs around
the edge, while the one on picture P only had one row of small studs, and less studs than
the other versions of the codpiece. The codpiece on picture Q was the one used for the
Psycho Circus tour in 1998-99. It didn't have the rows of small studs around the edge, but
otherwise seems very similar to the codpiece on picture O. A fourth version of the
codpiece was added to the costume for the Farewell tour in 2000/2001, as seen on picture
A new addition to the costume was seen first time at the premiere of the "Detroit
Rock City" movie in August 1999. The paintjob of the boots had changed... look
carefully at the boots on picture R , and you will see that the scales on the boots, have
been painted dark silver in the middle, and light silver on the edges.
Picture S shows you the Psycho Circus costume from behind. As you can see on the
lower half of Gene's body, he wore the harness for the flying stunt during the entire
For the Farewell tour (which started in March 2000), Gene wore a new armor (picture T).
This armor had three straps holding it together in stead of the two. It was not open at
the chest as before, making Gene look less "bulky". Also notice that there are
many more rivets visible on this new armor. The paint job is also slightly different, less
THE MONSTER BOOTS:
monster boots were introduced in 1976, and are definitely the most popular boots Gene ever
wore! This little series of pictures reveals how the boots were/are made:
Picture 1 shows the original mold of the boot covers (the boots are actually normal
platform boots, with a plastic cover!!).
Picture 2 and 3 shows the plastic cover as it looks before the paint job.
NOTE: picture 2 and 3 are not the original boots, but replicas from the original mold!!!
These were made in a thermo-plastic called Kydex, which is also the material Gene's
Destroyer/Rock And Roll Over costume was made in (check out www.commercialplastics.com/kydex.asp
for more information about Kydex plastic). The Psycho Circus/Farewell costume is
reportedly made in hot melt vinyl, by a company called Global Effects (check out their
website at www.globaleffects.com)!!
Picture 4 shows the cover after the basic silver paint job
has laid. The "eyes" has also been finished (using colored sequins). On the top
of the cover there are scales, which only appeared on the original Destroyer boots... on
all subsequently versions of this boots, the top scales had been omitted, because they
restricted Gene ability to move. NOTE: the boot cover in picture 4 is also a replica from
the original mold, but not the original boot!!
Picture 5 shows the finished boot cover, as it appeared on the Destroyer/Rock And Roll
Over costume! You can tell this from the difference in the paint jobs: it goes from
"gun metal gray" (Destroyer/Rock And Roll Over boots), to black with silver
accents (Love Gun/Alive II boots), and finally to totally silver (Psycho Circus/Farewell
Picture 6 shows the finished Psycho Circus boots! Note how you can see that it's just a
wrap-around cover affixed with screws to an ordinary platform boot here!!
NOTE: many special thanks to Dan Foley, who
generously shared his knowledge on the making of the boots, and provided most of the
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