29 June 2011

My First KISS Show

When I went to my first hockey game at my little town's new hockey arena last winter I could see that it was a great place to see a rock show. I have never been big on arena rock shows but with the arena being about as close to my home as the Drive is to Dope City's Colosseum there was no way Sonja and I were going to miss the next rock show that got booked into the place.

Turned out the next rock show was KISS. Sonja, my telephone angel, ordered us the tickets, a couple rows up from the right hand of the stage. Alright. Paid an arm and leg for them of course. That is what it costs to see the Canucks lose game seven, God or Gene Simmons.

When the big night arrived I was sick. An early summer cold. Could not even drink. Instead I took some pills (the good ones the doctors hand out like candy to old motherfuckers like me), drank a bottle of prescription cold syrup and put another bottle of cough syrup and a few more pills into my pocket before we left home.

We got to the show early so we could look at the KISS freaks outside as they arrived. There were lots of people all painted up. The crowd was littered with people from seventy to seven dressed as their favourite band members, dressed to motherfucking kill.

The cough syrup and pills began to work. By the time the doors opened I needed a fucking beer. Before I could get my beer and Sonja could get some wine we had to be searched by security. Sonja wanted to be patted down by a good looking muscle man but he motioned her to a lady who let her in. I had a Hindoo search me, a Hindoo from my gym.

"How you doing?" I asked him as he was about to begin.

"Beer!" he said, "Aren't you a little old for this shit?"

"Fuck you," I told him. "Shouldn't you be doing a drive-by somewhere?"

When his hand brushed over the bottle of cough syrup he made me take it out. After looking at for a second he handed it back. "I'm not being paid to confiscate some geezer's cough medicine. Don't drink it all at once. The first aid in this joint isn't that good."

First band up was Bad City. From Chicago. For a hair metal band their hair was not even that good. I thought they were terrible so one day soon they will probably be huge.

As we were waiting for KISS to come out the Green Men showed up. I should have known those two Canuck motherfuckers were KISS fans. The crowd cheered them like you would not believe. Canuck fans are so fucked in the head they are dangerous.

Sonja had seen KISS before, back when she had even more of an attitude than she has now. I missed them back in my long hair days.

I have seen some pretty funny rock shows in the past but my first KISS show was the most hilarious of all. I fucking loved it. The music, the flames, the banter, the blood, the bombs, the boots, the video, the fog, the strobes, every fucking second of it.

And I got my first KISS t-shirt. Fuck you, you disco motherfuckers.


ib said...

KISS. Jesus.

Back when we were still sitting around the dansette spinning ATV and the Pistols, it would never have occurred to me that my partner in petty crime might one day gravitate to Kiss.

This possibly explains in part why I have never been a betting man.

For six or seven months he squirreled what he could out of his Giro for tickets to go see them in Madison Square Gardens. I can not quite recall whether it registered with him that he ought to apply for a visa.

Of course. Sooner or later, the fairly tidy sum proved too much of a temptation. He blew the lot in two or three days. The rope of snot held magically firm between nose and elbow while rubber legs ferried him this way and that.

When the bars refused to serve him, the off sales continued to take his money.

I have never been fond of Kiss. Simmons, Criss or Stanley. Ace Frehley was not so bad. "Back in the New York Groove". That had something of a disco kick to it, at least.

A touch of irony.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I was a fan of KISS for about six weeks when I was a teenager. That all ended when I saw the New York Dolls on Don Kirschner's show. Have just about all their records though. Love their song "War Machine." All I can say, three days after the show, is that I got money's worth and more, and that I would still be in the arena rocking if they had decided to play every song in they have ever recorded. Even the new shit off "Sonic Boom" sounded cool.

ib said...

Never got it, then or after the event. Even though I was bludgeoned with the entire back catalogue and those 1978 solo releases as they appeared.

Well. At much the same time as he caught the Kiss infection, my friend developed a crush on Alice Cooper.

Of course, I will not deny that everything between "Love It to Death" and "Billion Dollar Babies" is pretty damn good - 4 albums at least - but up until then my exposure to AC (the band) was limited to the 45s in the main.
"School's Out"; "Eighteen", etc.

And it would be churlish to underestimate the influence of Alice Cooper on the Dead Boys: Glen Buxton's influence on Peter Laughner, to tease it on the carpet. I mean, even Eater covered "Eighteen" ("Fifteen") with not one jot of embarrassment.

Well. I got to know those LPs like the back of my hand. It would be years, though, until I ever heard "Pretties For You". In fact, I only bothered to check it out a few weeks ago.

But. I pretty much refused to allow myself to give Alice Cooper, the reinvented one trick pony, much headspace.

As it was, I was forced to endure "Welcome to My Nightmare" on the heels of "Rust Never Sleeps" as our empties piled up in the corner. From the faintly sublime to the ridiculous.

A tug of war as I fought to steer us back into neutral waters.

Good times, in the main. I bumped into my old friend about 15 years ago on a train, and he seemed to be doing alright. He'd got his shit together and was doing a bit of writing for some music magazine or other.

Not quite the big time, but in print.

We did not appear to have anything left in common. I would have crossed the street just to avoid the acts which enthused him.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

It's like Lemmy says after he asks an audience if they like the Sex Pistols before his band plays "God Save the Queen" and they boo, like metal audiences do in my riotous town, "It's all rock 'n' roll."

Cooper and KISS, like Bloodrock before them, were what I think of as drama class rock 'n' roll: theatrically designed, originally, to scare parents and therefore attract their horrible, smelly, doped up children. Maybe not quite as authentic as Jerry Lee Lewis but very bit as effective if not more so.

KISS' staying power was a mystery to me until I finally saw them. Like the Marx Brothers, the four most influential New York Groovers ever, they both entertain their audiences and leave them whistling their tunes until they see them again. That is, they give the people, from little kids to Stone Deaf Forever motherfuckers older than me, what they want. An audience that carries with it, I might add, the most precious punk rock ethic of all, the Eater ethic, if you will, : they do not care whether it is cool or not to support what they like.

I still listen to Alice Cooper. The old vinyl, nearly always "Killer", and a few mp3s burned onto cds. "Killer" still scares the shit out of me.

ib said...

Oh. I have never much cared for someone else's barometer of cool, either. And I say that as an unapologetic aficionado of The Glitter Band and everything Glam spastic.

'Killer' is one hell of an album. 'Dead Babies' gives me the shivers too. 'Sick Things' off 'Billion Dollar Babies' too; every bit as on the money as Iggy & The Stooges.

As authentic, after a fashion, as anything by the VU or any band fronted by Johnny Thunders. Maybe even more so.

If I told you the kind of crap my old friend was tuned into last time I met up with him, however, you would probably not believe it.

Made me kind of sad. Then again, he probably thought I had turned into some kind of grade 'A' asshole too.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Come to think of it I haven't the slightest idea of what is cool any more, except for roller derby and riots.

Anglers Belong said...

Wish I was there!
Feel free to visit and follow our humble fishing blog at;