Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z Challenge: K is for KISS

By: William G. Muir

When it comes to music I know what I like. Beyond that I don't know anything else. I often times find myself liking music other turn thei noses up to. Case in point while majority of guys mock the band Nickelback (I think that is one of test you have to pass to get your man card), I rather enjoy them. I remember telling my buddy Micheal that I thought they were going to be huge after hearing This Is How You Remind Me.

I don't get into analyzing the lyrics or chord progression or anything of that stuff. If it sound pleasant to my ear then I will listen to it.

Visuals can also catch my eye. Over the years I have given bands like Green Jelly, Gwar, Lordi, and Marilyn Mason a try because they have built themselves images that go way beyond those of your Bon Jovi, Def Lepard and Motley Crue. (All bands that I also enjoy listening to.) While the Green Jelly's and Gwar's have gone in a more theatrical direction with their music, I don't think anyone has done better than the hard rock band KISS.

I was first introduced to KISS the summer after my 6th grade year. My best friend at the time, Chad, had gone back to Chicago for the summer to visit family. So I ended up spending my days hanging with his older brother Paul. One day during my summer vacation I remember going to Paul's house and they had rented videos. (This was back in the 80's when renting videos was a treat.) One of the videos was KISS Exposed, which was an interview with the member of the band.

The video opens up with an interviewer arriving at Paul Stanley's house to interview the band. From the get go the member's of the band didn't take themselves seriously. The house is made to look as if a party had taken place the night before. Paul Stanely opens the door as if he had just woken up and has no idea what is going. As they go through the house there are all sort of half dresses women either lying around passed out or being chased by drummer Eric Carr.

It was the combination of Paul Stanley's and Gene Simmons' wit and the music videos that captivated me. I had never seen anything like this before. It was as if comic book heroes had left the pages of their stories and picked and instruments and went on stage to play rock music. How could a twelve year old boy not become instantly drawn in.

My dreams became real in 1996 when the original members of the band reunited, put on the make-up and went back on stage. This was something I never thought I would get to see. And of course nothing was going to stop me from seeing this show. The day tickets went on sale I ran out of gas going to my buddy Micheal's house. I walked four miles, twisted my ankle and made it to his house minutes before the Ticketmaster phone lines opened up so we could order tickets.

It took us an hour to get through to an operator, but when we did we got ourselves four tickets minutes before the show had sold out.

It was worth it thought. All those years thinking this moment would never come. Now I was going to see the Rock Gods performing live. Mike and Heather (a girl I worked with at the time) and I arrived at Freedom Hall an hour early. Even though we were among the first to arrive outside the arena doors, we were not there to get a good spot in line. No we were there to watch the spectacle of the whole thing. It was great seeing all those die hard KISS fans show up in make-up and costumes, which all varied in quality of design.  Where else, outside of a comic book convention would you see such a loyal and dedicated fan base.

This will tell you how big a deal this concert tour was, Alice In Chains, a major band in their own right. A Band at the height of their popularity was the opening band. How cool is that? A band that could have been headlining a world tour of their own that summer had taken second billing on a ticket for the honor playing with on of the greatest bands of all time.

When it was time for KISS to take the stage, they came out a rocking and never took their foot of the accelerator. The four comic book heroes where getting close to fifty years old, with Peter Criss already having crossed that line, I believe. That night, for two hours, they played with more energy than most men half their age. The show they put on was phenomenal. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.

I left Freedom Hall that night with so much adrenaline pumping through my veins. I felt so much more amped up then I ever did playing football in high school. The excitement of that night carried over into the next several days. One of them being my first day as a manger in a new store. I was so hyped from the concert I wasn't even nervous being in charge of people I had never seen in my life.

While my musical taste have evolved somewhat since those days. I have mellowed in my choices of artist and would tell you my favorite performer now is Billy Joel. But their was a day back 1996 when all the stars in the rock n' roll Universe collided. Born in that moment was a chaos and what emerged from the chaos was the greatest rock n' roll performance in the history in all of mankind.

Till this day there has never seen anything quite like it.


  1. I hear they put on a very pleasing show. I'd actually settle just to be able to see Alice in Chains play once.

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

    1. I was too young to see their early shows (KISS), seeing how the band had formed just a couple years before I was born. In 1996 they kicked some major ass. I am so glad I got the opportunity to see the original lineup live. Alice In Chains had great set as well that night. I kind of wish I could have got to see them on their own as the headliners. See what they could do when they were the ones in the spotlight.
      -William G. Muir

  2. No one does theater like Kiss. They knew how to bring in the crowds.

    1. They sure do put a lot of time and effort into their shows. The stages always look great and they know how to give you your moneys worth. I have seen ZZ Top, Marilyn Manson, Jackyl along with a few others in my time. While they all out on great shows, none of them could match the energy or the excitement of a KISS show.
      -William G. Muir