Paul Finn (KISSin’ UK webmaster) Interview

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How old were you when you first started listening to music and what were the first bands/artists that you listened to?

I would have been about 7. I used to like The Police, Madness and Adam & The Ants. I seem to remember my very first album was Ghost In The Machine by The Police. If only I’d known KISS were around at that time and picked up Creatures Of The Night instead!

How old were you when you discovered KISS and what were the circumstances by which you discovered KISS?

I was a late joiner to the KISS party. I didn’t get into them until 1991 when I was about 17. I hate to admit it but it was due to going to see Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey at a cinema in Wellingborough. I came out of the film and “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” was going round in my head for ages, so I bought the soundtrack and kept my eyes open for the next KISS album with that song on it, which leads me nicely to your next question.

What are some of your favorite KISS albums/songs and why?

The first KISS album that I picked up was Revenge and to this day, it remains one of my favourite albums. I lost track of the number of times I listened to that album from start to finish. Everything from “Heart Of Chrome”, “Unholy”, “Paralyzed” and “Every Time I Look At You”, the whole album was faultless. This then led me on to many of the older albums until I’d built up a nice back catalogue. Now my list of favourite albums would also include Destroyer, Creatures Of The Night, MTV Unplugged and all of the Alive albums (yes, even III).

Favourite songs? Difficult one, there’s so many. But if I have to choose, then “Love Gun”, “Forever” (first song at our wedding), “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, “Black Diamond”, “Unholy”, “Say Yeah”, etc.

How many times have you seen KISS in concert and what was/were your favorite KISS show(s) or tour(s)?

Only 9 times, starting with one of the best, which was Donington in 1996. Paris in 2008 was also a highlight for me. Great show and a great chance to catch up with other fans in a great city. And, of course, you could never leave Islington off the list. Amazing show in such a tiny venue. It really was surreal being
right at the front in such a small place watching the hottest band in the world. I’ve also been lucky enough to be invited backstage a couple of times both in Paris and Wembley. That, of course, was a great opportunity to meet the band and made the shows even more exciting.

I would like to see KISS in both Vegas and New York before they hang up their boots for good. Vegas is one of my favourite cities.

Do you have a favorite KISS member or members? If so, who and why?

My favourite member has always been Paul, simply because he is one of the greatest frontmen in rock, ever. I was also a big fan of Bruce. His work on Revenge was amazing. And, of course, Eric Carr for his amazing work through the ’80s helping keep the band on track, especially in the live shows. Then there’s Mr. Singer for his amazing drumming and his dedication to his fans. Just over a year ago, he sent me some gifts for a young boy with cerebral palsy. Full story is here for those interested: https://bit.ly/xlbRLf. That doesn’t, of course, mean that I don’t have the utmost respect for Gene, Tommy, Ace and Peter too!

Discuss your KISS website, KISSin’ UK.

Back in 1996, I had returned home from 3 years at university and I was missing Hunter Goatley’s KISS mailing list (one of the first KISS things ever to make it to the net). I then got internet access at home and realized that there was no information specific for UK fans. This wound me up to the point that I decided to stop moaning and create my own! It has changed a lot over the years and has managed to gain a good reputation throughout the KISS world. I’m proud that the site has lasted for so long and I am very grateful for all the help that I’ve had from many fans, including Dan Bach (many reviews and articles) and Dan Hill (very popular travel reports, as you already know!).

We try to stick to UK related news and stay away from rumours where possible. There’s also a forum with a great collection of KISS fans. It has it’s ups & downs like most forums but whenever KISS announce an album or tour, it becomes a great place to talk KISS. I’ve had several famous people tell me that they are fans of the site in the past. One of those people was Iain Lee, a presenter over here in the UK and massive KISS fan.

The site had a makeover a couple of years ago and I still need to get a lot of the older pages updated. Every now and then, some old styling pops up to embarrass me! The new logo is made from all of my own photos from Wembley in 2010.

I get a lot of nice feedback about the site and it has opened up many opportunities, for which I am very grateful.

What would you say distinguishes KISSin’ UK from all of the numerous other KISS websites?

I’d say the fact that we try to compliment other sites by concentrating on UK specific news rather than competing with them. We also have a great relationship with other sites, the UK press, Channel 4 and BBC and the official KISS site. A few weeks ago, I was asked by The One Show (a BBC show) to bring some KISS merchandise to the show as Gene was going to be there. I took a case load of items 100 miles to London but it was worth it as I got to chat with Gene and Shannon for a while and I got my KISS collection shown on TV! Full report here: https://bit.ly/xdQ2Fl

We were also given a rare invite to a Gene Simmons business talk just before Christmas. That was a great experience as I was sat right next to Gene’s family. Report here: https://bit.ly/uGqIoS

We also get to run a lot of competitions. For example, there’s an Eric Carr Unfinished Business one open right now. I think we must have run at least 20 competitions over the years.

Discuss KISSin’ UK’s connection to the KISS tribute band Dressed To Kill.<br
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We’ve always had a great relationship with the band and all of their members present and past. I have a lot of respect for them. I first saw them in 1994 when Peter played with them at a convention. We’ve run a lot of news stories for them in the past and will continue to support them in the future.

Has KISSin’ UK gotten any feedback from any of the members of KISS? If so, who and what did they say?

I got an email from Gene’s PR company just before The One Show and Gene Business talk saying, “Gene likes your site, he will meet you.” Not surprisingly, I was gobsmacked!

In the past, I’ve been sent items from Eric Singer (as mentioned above) and I’ve also had phone interviews with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Peter was fantastic to speak to. The original interview was cancelled but Gigi told me she would reschedule. I had my doubts but she was true to her word and I got to speak with him for 30 minutes: https://bit.ly/xzgfGs

I also had a face to face interview with Mark St. John, who told me that he had visited the site in the past. It was great meeting with him. This has been one of our most popular articles as there is very little info about Mark on the internet. R.I.P. Mark. https://bit.ly/jrs8hq

Besides KISS, what are some of your other favourite bands/artists and why?

Well, for me, it is probably 80% KISS! But I also like Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stereophonics, Aerosmith and ZZ Top!

Feel free to discuss any of your other endeavors here.

I spend a lot of my time being a dad and helping teach my wife and daughter the benefits of KISS (my own dad used to make me listen to John Denver, so it’s only fair!). I also work in IT for a Building Society in the UK and love travelling, especially to the U.S. The Building Society that I work for has let me dress up as KISS in the past for charity and are also running a KISSin’ UK article in their next staff magazine, so no complaints from me!

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