Rock music has always been a part of my life. From as far back as I can remember, my dad has always been a bass player in several rock bands and played music non-stop around the house, so I pretty much grew up listening to Judas Priest, KISS, Dokken, Deep Purple, Scorpions, Ozzy, etc. In fact, all the great rock band of the ’70s and the ’80s.
How old were you when you discovered KISS and what were the circumstances by which you discovered KISS?
With all the bands that I grew up listening to, KISS grabbed me more than any other. I can’t really say it was the whole makeup thing because I was born in 1985. I remember that my brother was fascinated by the Destroyer album cover and we had the KISS Exposed videotape, which features a lot of footage from the makeup era. However, my favourite videotapes were Crazy Nights and Animalize Live Uncensored, which are both non-makeup. By the time I was 6 years old, I was asking for KISS albums for Christmas and playing my dad’s videotapes over and over again.
When the Revenge tour was announced in 1992, my dad decided that he was going to take my brother to the show. I was only 7 years old at the time and my parents didn’t think it was a good idea to take me along. However, I was adamant about going, so my granddad offered to pay for my ticket and talked my dad into taking me along.
At one point during the show, Gene pointed over to me & my brother and sent a roadie to us with a plectrum each. And that was it for me. I was hooked for life.
What are some of your favourite KISS albums/songs and why?
That’s a hard question. How can I pick a favourite album or song from a band that has a back catalogue as huge as KISS?
I suppose Asylum, Crazy Nights, Hot In The Shade and Revenge will always be up there for me as these albums were being released as I was growing up. However, I also have a huge appreciation for the early ’70s albums, just for being so raw and unique.
How many times have you seen KISS in concert and what was/were your favourite KISS show(s) or tour(s)?
Up until the Alive 35 Tour in 2008, I had only seen KISS when they came to England and this was limited to one show per tour. By the time 2008 came around, I was earning my own money and was able to buy my own tickets and travel wherever I wanted.
My overall favourite tour is definitely Sonic Boom Over Europe in 2010. I managed to see KISS 11 times on this tour and got friendly with some of the crew. This led to me getting a backstage pass in London and spending the day helping out behind the scenes and even sharing a meal with the band, management and crew in the arena’s canteen. I also got the opportunity to meet some of the fans around the UK that I’d never had the pleasure of meeting before, some of which remain very good friends of mine.
My favourite show is yet another one that I find hard to judge but if I had to choose, my top 5 are:
5 – Islington 2010 (intimate show in London with approximately 800 fans)
4 – Wembley 2010 (watched the whole show from backstage and side stage)
3 – Donington 1996 (first time I saw the original line-up)
2 – Madison Square Garden 2009 (a dream of mine to see KISS play here)
1 – KISS Kruise 2011 (All 3 shows were awesome but the unmasked/acoustic sail away show was my favourite of all time)
Do you have a favourite KISS member or members? If so, who and why?
I’ve never really had a favourite member of the band. Over the years, there have been a total of 11 different members of KISS, all of which have played a significant role in the band for the period of time that they were there. I’ve been lucky enough to meet past and present members of KISS and other than the odd occasion, they have always been pleasant and welcoming.
Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Eric Carr but I swore that one day, I would visit his place of rest in Newburgh, NY. This dream came true when I went to NY to see KISS in 2009. The day after the show, I jumped on a coach and headed upstate to pay my respects to my childhood heroes. This will always remain a special day for me.
Discuss KISSin’ UK, the KISS website that you contribute to.
I’m very proud to be a member of KISSin’ UK. Whenever I go on one of my ‘KISS Trips’, I write a review/diary of my adventure and post them exclusively to KISSin’UK. These reviews have got both myself and the website a lot of attention over the last few years. This is mainly because I don’t only go to a KISS show, I also like to go visiting all the old places that the band have either played at, worked, lived, went to school, recorded albums, video shoot locations and photo shoot locations. All of these can be found here – https://www.kissinuk.com/cms/reviews/concerts-a-interviews.html
The website itself was created back in 1996 by Paul Finn. He originally wanted to create a fanzine but wanted something he could update on a more regular basis, so he decided to go with a website instead. Over the last 16 years, the site has continued to grow and Paul does a fantastic job of keeping fans updated with all things that are KISS related in and around the UK.
What would you say distinguishes KISSin’ UK from all of the other KISS websites?
KISSin’ UK is the only website that focuses solely on the United Kingdom. We have a forum that consists mainly of UK KISS fans which is active several times a day. Without this forum, I would never have met some of the kindest and genuine people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
The website also works very closely with ‘The Worlds Longest Running Tribute to KISS’ – Dressed To Kill. These guys have been active for 22 years, played all over the world, featured in several issues of Kerrang magazine and have been joined on stage by Peter Criss (1994), Mark St. John (2003), Bruce Kulick (2004) and Eric Singer (2005). In 1995, they were watched by Ace Frehley in Switzerland and in 2004, the band put on a private show for ‘Gene Simmons’ and the pupils at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, which was filmed as part of the Channel 4 series ‘Rock School’.
Has KISSin’ UK gotten any feedback from any of the members of KISS? If so, who and what did they say?
Over the years, Paul has conducted several interviews with members of KISS.
1998 – Bruce Kulick
1999 – Eric Singer
2003 – Mark St. John
2007 – Peter Criss
2009 – Ace Frehley
All of these interviews can be found here – https://www.kissinuk.com/cms/reviews/concerts-a-interviews.html
Besides KISS, what are some of your other favourite bands/artists and why?
My favourite bands range across all different genr
es of rock: anything KISS and KISS member side projects, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Dokken, The Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Poison, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Journey, Metallica… I could go on and on.
Why? Because it’s all kick ass rock ‘n’ roll!