|all photos by Wally Norton|
Throughout my teenage years KISS remained strong and true. The fact that they washed off the face paint and continued on with other members was really of no consequence to me. They were still putting out great albums, still putting out great live shows and they were still KISS. I supported every genre and member and welcomed them to the family and truly there isn't a KISS record I dislike.
As an adult, I am able to remove myself from the situation and look at things from other perspectives. I understand to some KISS is contrived and calculated and that goes against the true "artist" mindset. I understand that KISS is a business as much as it's a band. That said, I remember an interview picture disk I had back in the day where Gene and Paul said "if you take away all the extras, the bombs and the fire and the costumes and the like than what you are left with is songs" and they are right. I am the first to admit that it was the makeup that grabbed me, it was the image that drew me in, but, it was the music that kept me a KISS fan for the years that followed.
What has always annoyed people about KISS is their honesty about this business. Suffering for their "Art" was never part of their plan and using makeup and effects was dismissed as gimmicky and even silly. The music they create is meat and potatoes rock n roll, this is not a five star dining experience, it's a Big Mac with large fries but you know what? McDonald's has done alright with that recipe. I laugh when I hear people denouncing their music as basic pop rock songs, that's exactly what they were going for and to be honest it's also what the Beatles (insert collective gasp) were going for when they got together too. Don't get me wrong I am not trying to compare KISS to the Beatles, but on second thought, yeah I am! Beyond the surface they are both simply successful rock and roll bands whose music made some people very happy and infuriated others.
A number of years ago the topic of KISS 2.0 came up. A possibility of KISS continuing on without Gene and Paul in the band and at first I laughed but then I stopped and though about it. From a business "lets keep the paychecks coming in for Paul and Gene" standpoint I certainly wouldn't be surprised if something like this were to happen.
This dilemma of separating the player from the character or should I say not being able to separate the is really quite amusing to me. Ace Frehley is the guitar player in KISS, Ace Frehley is also the "Spaceman" from the planet Jendell. Kiss is the only band that has created such a thing and it's only because of the makeup that we are talking about this. I have made this analogy before but nobody has ever accused Ronnie Wood about being the "FAKE" Brian Jones, its simply because Tommy has been given Ace's character that has everyone in an uproar.
So on to KISS 2.0, when I first heard the idea it sounded ridiculous, who would pay for that? Paul and Gene kept the band alive but, the uniqueness of this band opens up the possibility. Like no other band, the makeup and characters they have created would allow for "others" to jump in and deliver a worthy spectacle. How this would be delivered to the fans is the real question. I do not see it as a recording, touring entity as Kiss exists now but there are certainly ways in which a KISS 2.0 could be marketed successfully. Maybe a Broadway type of experience? It certainly worked for Rock of Ages and Tommy and it would be a way to keep the music alive.
I love being a KISS fan and all that it entails, through all the eras and styles and twists and turns, I am all in. Their music has always been a positive influence for me and their live shows have always been amazing to behold. If it comes down to a KISS 2.0 vs. a world without KISS, I am probably going to check out KISS 2.0 and enjoy the music probably while eating a Big Mac and large fries :)
|Cheers, KISS Army!|