This is a video I did for a KAOL project back in 2001. KAOL was a fan-project done by Kathy LaBonte and her MusiCare Online project that put together tribute albums for KISS where proceeds went to charity. She had been involved in releasing my KISS novel A World Without Heroes back in 2000 as another charity project and was finishing the last in a trilogy of KISS tribute albums that same year, when I had the idea of this video.
The video involved enlisting the help of the man commonly seen as the creator of the KISS Army, Bill Starkey, back in the 1970s. He also wrote the intro to my new book, KISS FAQ, which will be released in September. Coming along for the ride was that of Steve Stierwalt, Jr., creator of the fanzine KISS Freaks, who was a good enough sport to let us film this in his home (and use the actual KISS gong he had won in an auction).
It's a fun, silly piece and I like to think we all had a good time with it. Still, I know that some fans may find a couple of things that seems like an insult about KISS. Okay, really one - the whole wig gag. While I think a lot of us fans can easily joke about the many, many hair ... things that the band members have worn over the years, I also know that some fans take offense to any joking about the band at all. It's understandable - you spend your life with people around you who make fun of your love for KISS and you think you can find some type of sanctuary around other fans, only for them to do much of the same at times. "If you're a big fan, why are you always ragging on them?"
But no one is a fan of anything if they hate everything about it. No one joins a fanclub of something they hate. I wouldn't be writing so many books about the band if I wasn't a fan. But a sense of keeping things in perspective helps as well. Star Trek fans certainly can laugh about terrible episodes like "Spock's Brain," knowing that it's the bad things stand out so well because the rest of it is so good. A sports fan can laugh about a bad season for their favorite team because "next year, it'll be better." The same holds true for the KISS Army - we may sometimes joke about the hair, Gene's tendency to go for the hard-sell, or the band's limited concert set-list, but we do while loving so many other things about the band and its history that the little annoying things stand out so much more for that reason. In doing so, it keeps the band human and makes it even more exciting when they do pull things off that make them the band we love so much.
So, hopefully, everyone can have a laugh once in a while to keep it all down-to-earth. We can't be sold 100% of the time on everything the band sends our way. Some grains of salt always add a little flavoring to any meal dished out.