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Dave Kiss And Tells
Why I Joined The KISS Army
In the summer of 1976, I was watching one of the three channels we received on our television. A commercial came on talking about the Hottest Band in the World appearing in Louisville, Kentucky. The music was loud and hard, four men wearing black and white make-up and leather costumes moving about on a stage. They were breathing fire, and vomiting blood. This was my introduction to the now legendary rock band KISS.
(Don't get excited that is not Gene in the photo. It is me and a friend of mine who performs in a Tribute band)
KISS Albums Was The Start
From that moment on I was attracted to everything that had to do with this foursome. I urged my Mother to buy me their albums that were mostly adorned with images of the kabuki-style painted faces of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss.
She bought me that first self-titled album, Kiss. I think I wore it out memorizing every word of every song. The collection grew over the years and today I have all of their released albums including the most recent compilation, Monster.
KISS CD and MP3
I used to just buy the vinyl albums now you can get the CD and an MP3 download without leaving the house.
I just received this as a gift from my sister and it rocks just like the first three albums below.
The debut album that started it all for me.
This was the follow up to the first album that showed the world how raw and hard their music is. For example, Parasite and Watchin You are the two jams on this record.
One of the best cover designs I have ever seen and includes everyone's favorite rock anthem, Rock and Roll all nite.
The KISS Army
But I didn't stop with the music I became a card carrying member of the KISS Army. The photo to the right is a form that was inserted into every album sleeve urging you to be a part of the Army of followers that Kiss was amassing.
Kiss was one of the pioneers of merchandising their brand from concert t-shirts, lunch boxes, am/fm radios, and even 12" action figures which now sell for a pretty penny if you can find them in original condition and in the box.
Image Source: fanpop
The Original 1977 KISS Action Figures
I had these when I was a kid and wouldn't you know it, Mom sold them on a yard sale.
You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best
Every show opens with that bold statement
In the beginning as a child I fell in love with the magic and mystery of these guys who never appeared out of make-up leaving everyone wondering who they really were. This mystery led to controversy in the meaning of their music but also the letters in their name. By the way, at one time was thought to be an acronym for Knights In Satan's Service. After several interviews by the band and later on getting to know their real meaning they quickly laughed this allegation off to ignorance.
But the real magic was found in their live concerts. Kiss played as the opening band to a lot of famous acts and always blew them off the stage with their pyrotechnics, energy, massive stacks of Marshall Amplifiers, and sheer pageantry of presenting the best rock and roll show that you have ever seen in your life. Many of these headlining acts later on found themselves opening for Kiss in stadiums and arenas around the globe.
Image source: Kiss Concert Poster
The Live Show is not one to miss
I saw them for the twenty-something time in August 2012 here in Louisville. Although not the original line up like the 1976 introduction I had they still perform with the passion to deliver the best show possible. If you have never had the chance to see them live; you must check out these live DVDs of their shows over the last forty years. Yes forty years.
Gene Simmons Blood Solo
This is from way back in 1975 when they were delivering what people wanted to see in a rock show. This was the band's reputation maker and he still performs this today in his sixties.
Gene Simmons Breathes Fire
At the end of the song Firehouse, Gene spits a flame into the air amidst sirens and spinning red lights.
Ace's Smoking Solo
Towards a lengthy rendition of the song Shock Me Ace segues into a five minute solo and finishes clean in this short clip. From the costume he's wearing it looks like this is from the 1980 Dynasty album tour. (I know, I am a dork for knowing that detail.)
Ace Guitar Solo Fireworks
Ace added this little bonus in the 96 reunion tour era. Another element of the greatest rock show you'll ever see.
KISSOLOGY - The Complete Concerts
These is the official video of the live shows. I can't tell you how many hundreds of dollars I have spent on low quality VHS bootlegs and now they are all garbage. But I will always have my Kissology sets.
This is all you need to get the real live concert experience that this band meant for you to blow your hair back.
Now That I'm All Grown Up
Today I am in my forties and I still listen to the music when I have a chance but from the last four decades I actually learned a lot from this band. You see I mentioned their pioneer status in rock band merchandising and this is what has made these men millions. Everyone knows that there is not that much money to be made for the band themselves selling records. The money is in the touring, merchandising, and licensing.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the two founding members have taken this wealth making machine to new heights as I have learned reading Gene's biographies. He talks about coming to America from Israel with nothing, absolutely nothing and amassing wealth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Kiss and Money
Gene's business now is getting a dollar for everything he can slap a KISS logo on. There are Kiss Kaskets, Kiss Condoms, even a Kiss Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, SC. (Which I visited last summer)
Paul has parlayed his passion as an artist to the canvas and Broadway. He produces his style of fine art oil paintings and has appeared on New York's Broadway stage as the Phantom of the Opera.
My Favorite Kiss Biographies and Books
Rock and Roll All Nite
And Party Every Day
Most people think of KISS as a band with cheesy songs about girls and sexual innuendos. Well that is true but I was able to find so much more inspiration in the presentation of their product, and the entrepreneurship they continue to display to this day.
Their drive to be the best and wealthiest at all of their endeavors speaks volumes that anyone can do anything even if they have nothing to start with. And that is what keeps me Rockin and Rollin all nite.
Its rare to find another person with the sentimental value that this band has given me over the years. Let me know what you thought or currently think of KISS.
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