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Love Gun cover
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
I got my first album when I
was five years old. I donít remember exactly why I got this album. Iím sure I
didnít really know the music. It was probably a decision made based on the
album artwork. Creating an album
cover to capture a potential fanís interest is of the many things I think is
lost in the age of digital downloads. Anyway, I remember being five and looking
at this artwork of four mythical creatures dressed in black with platform boots
and full facial make up standing in the middle of some Roman coliseum with a
group of similarly made up females at their feet, and thinking, this has to be
the greatest album ever. The album was ĎLove Guní by KISS. <>
Looking back, I donít know
why my parents thought this was an appropriate album for a five year old to own. It
didnít actually fit in with my Sesame Street records. Though, I do think PBS is
partially responsible for introducing me to KISS in the first place. There used
to be a show called 3-2-1 Contact which, if memory serves, was the last show in
the after school block of weekday programming. How many people remember The
Bloodhound Gang? 3-2-1 Contact is where The Bloodhound Gang originated. I remember there being a segment on the
show where one of the hosts went behind the scenes of a KISS concert. Since
YouTube has everything, hereís the segment.<>
Back in the late Ď70s Ė
early Ď80s, KISS was THE band. At the local town festivals there were booths
where you could get your face painted like members of the band. I was always a
Peter Criss fan so I got the cat make up one year even though Eric Carr had
replaced Peter the year prior. <>
KISS sans makeup
Our cable system didnít yet
have MTV when KISS went on there and removed the make up. I remember seeing the
video for Lick It Up several months later and thought Ace Frehley was a female,
not knowing Ace had been replaced by Vinnie Vincent in the band. For the
record, Vinnie isnít a female.
KISS continued to be a dominant force during the Ď80s as glam rock got a
lot of radio and video airtime. <>
By the time the grunge scene
started taking over the early Ď90s, KISS needed to do something to regain their
popularity. In 1996, they got the band back together. Peter Criss and Ace
Frehley returned to the group and KISS put the makeup and costumes back on to
the delight of fans. Twenty-one years after buying my first album, I saw the
reunited KISS in 2000 at the Southern Illinois University Arena for the first
time. It was everything five year old me wanted. <>
The Kiss Demon
Photo courtesy: WWE
Around this same time, KISS
had partnered with WCW to create a wrestler known at the KISS Demon who was
based on the identity of KISS bassist, Gene Simmons. The Demon never really
took off like Iím guessing KISS and WCW thought he would. Dale Torborg, the
wrestler who portrayed the Demon is currently a trainer for the Chicago White
Sox. <>
In August of 2013, KISS
founding members, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley announced they had bought into
the Arena Football League and were bringing professional football back to Los
Angeles with the LA KISS joining the AFL for the 2014 season. However, someone should get them a map,
as the LA KISS will be playing their home games at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Guess the LA-adjacent KISS was too long a name for the uniforms. I have purchased season tickets for the
LA KISS and am looking forward to donning KISS face paint and cheering for the
expansion team, especially against the Jon Bon Jovi owned Philadelphia Soul.
Hereís hoping Tim Tebow accepts Gene Simmonsí 3-Year contract offer. <>
Still rockin'
KISS has been around for 40
years and show no signs of slowing down. Say what you will about their trend of
slapping their name on any type of merchandise in order to make a buck. Theyíve
heard it all before and Gene Simmons will gladly tell you heís a firm believer
in capitalism. Heck, he signs his
name with the ďSĒ looking like a dollar sign. Somehow four guys from New York
took a wild gimmick and turned it into one of the most popular rock-n-roll
bands in history. <>

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