KISSmas In July: Why KISS?
As a teenager in the 80’s, I had so much choice for music, and I dabbled in a few bands and such at the time from a wide range of genres. I recall two things about KISS at that point while at the library going through albums to check out. Their self-titled first record was there and I recalled them as the band my older cousin listened to when I was younger and very frightened of them. I also recall not checking them out, rather choosing W.A.S.P. I still listen to W.A.S.P. to this day and thankfully the next week I checked out KISS. Next thing I know I am buying their new record; a compilation with 2 new songs; Smashes, Thrashes & Hits. I couldn’t wait to devour anything about them in “Metal Edge” magazine and on MTV/MuchMusic/MusiquePlus. When Hot in the Shade came out in 1989, I was there the first day. Been hooked ever since and my world of KISS has been adventurous ever since.
I don’t associate with most KISS fans, having been at a couple of conventions and the like; I find them often like Trekkies. I could care less about what color eyes Peter Criss’ cousin has. At this point, some KISS fan is yelling at me that he doesn’t have cousins. How can that be? He is Italian after all. I am sure he must. Anyway you get the point. I can’t listen to hours of endless KISS talk about a single topic, come on already, stop obsessing! I love the music. I love the image. I love that so many others hate everything about KISS. I don’t need you to like what I like, and that is why I love KISS. It/they/the music has taught me to stand for myself. I should listen to The Police because they are a “real band”, not KISS? Hey, pal, take some advice, try listening to & enjoying both! Rob from Dorval Cinemas, that goes out to you!
Here is where I also have no issue with appreciating Dynasty and The Elder; even though Bob Ezrin once told me I should check myself into an Asylum for saying that. I love the 80’s neon look as much as the 70’s/90’s current black & white look. I don’t compare drummers or guitarists. I am happy to see them live with Eric and Tommy in the Catman & Spaceman makeup, the show is great. Have you ever seen a play people? Not always the same actors ya know? If the show is still the show… I guess you can say I appreciate the 50,000-foot perspective rather than the street level.
I have great stories of meeting the band during a Revenge in-store in Montreal, and the gratification of Paul Stanley standing up for ME, to a security guard about to take my camera away. I knew I related to the Starchild most, and that moment confirmed it, one day I will expand further.
I met Paul a second time in Toronto while he was playing the Phantom. Another awesome story I will expand on one day. Let it be known I am now part of KISS memorabilia having had Paul sign my arm just above a replica of his rose tattoo.
I have some wildly insane stories of getting an entire tour full access pass during the Alive 35 tour, thanks to Gene Simmons and Rick Abramson & Doc McGee of course. I used that pass well. It was gratifying to go back to Montreal which I moved away from years ago, and take a high school friend backstage. He always wondered why I liked KISS so much, but never picked on me for it, and said after that many decades I must get this access because I have been promoted to General in the KISS army. He was blown away by the show and music. I also used that pass very well on a couple other shows in the tour.
I am not drinking the kool-aid or adorned with permanent rose colored glasses. I have had my issues and plenty of things of distaste. In such a long relationship who doesn’t? I just don’t nitpick or concern myself. They make their choices and I make mine, I just don’t whine about it and long as the overall basics stay true: Does the music sound good? Yep. Is the show good? You bet! Can I still stand behind and in front of them for the same reason? Affirmative.
Do I care about the branding and licensing aspect? Why would I? I buy what I like and don’t buy what I don’t. My most endearing story is about the 1978 Pinball backglass and how I attained that, and managed to get it home in my “BMW” (Bus, Metro, Walk for those of us from Montreal) and that my wife of almost 2 decades still loves me even after my scolding of her early on in our dating for almost tearing a KISS poster accidentally from my bedroom wall, as the poor girl was tripping and falling. I am fortunate! I still hear my words “watch out for the posters” and wonder how she can still say to this day “I Still Love You”. Ditto!
This is her room back then, after a day KISS album shopping.
My room and said posters!
What I love most is I now hear and see KISS everywhere. Everyone goes to see them. People love them. So to every FM96 style radio station that laughed at me back then for requesting KISS (CHOM-FM this goes out to you)….stick it. We Win!
Thanks, Paul, I do indeed “LIVE TO WIN”.
Thanks to everyone ever involved in and with KISS in some way, shape or form, somehow your contribution positive or negative has brought us to this point.
Stay tuned, I have more to say!
- Blair De Abreu