Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com with NBC Sports is not only arguably the go-to-guy on all things NFL these days but is also a KISStorian well-versed in the ‘Old Testament’; IE the original fab four of Gene, Paul, Ace & Peter. He graciously took time out from his busy schedule of Xs, Os, deflated balls and rampant off-season conjecture to talk about the hottest band in all the land, KISS!! …it appears their influence truly knows no bounds.
>>>>> Part of being a KISS fan often involves recruiting for the KISS Army, how is that going? I actually joined the KISS Army many, many years ago. I was dishonorably discharged for buying a Peter Frampton album.
>>>>> Can you give us your KISS elevator pitch? “Want to experience a thrill similar to the feeling of this elevator plunging to the bottom of the shaft but without being turned into human guacamole?”
>>>> How did you catch the KISS bug? I watched the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. It was either become a fan of Paul Lynde or KISS. I flipped a coin.
>>>> What was your first KISS concert? January 1978. Loud, exciting, visually stimulating. Nasally stimulating, too. I never knew it smelled like burning B.O.
>>>>> Who was your favorite member of KISS growing up and who is it now? Growing up, it was Gene, because of the fire and the blood. Today, it’s Paul because now that I know more about Gene, I admire that Paul found a way to coexist with the biggest ego this side of Donald Trump.
>>>> What to you is the must-have KISS opus? Alive. First KISS album I ever owned. I was transfixed by it. The music, the packaging. I still remember how the thing smelled after I removed the shrink wrap. It was nothing like burning B.O.
>>>> Were you in the KISS corner throughout the 80’s? Once the makeup came off, it was over for me. I bought Alive III and enjoyed it, but the bug didn’t return until they put the makeup back on in ’96. I went to the Farewell tour in 2000, and I remember thinking that it just wasn’t the same without the original four members. Fifteen years later, I think it’s time for Gene and Paul to start thinking about finding four guys who will look and sound like KISS from the ’70s, hire them, and start it all over again for a new generation, or two.
>>>> How do you rate The Elder? I had drifted away from KISS at that point in my life, so I never had any strong feelings about it. “A World Without Heroes” is one of my favorite songs from “Unplugged”.
>>>> Which is better: ‘Sonic Boom’ or “Monster’? I’ve heard neither. I’ve been stuck in the pre-Dynasty phase since the reunion tour of ’96.
>>>> What are your most-prized KISS items / collectibles / keepsakes at home? In 2003, I found a refurbished KISS pinball machine that ended up being a piece of crap. I returned it, got my money back, and recently made a deposit on the new KISS pinball machine from Sterm. I’ve also got a couple of tour books from the ’70s and the Destroyer and Love Gun puzzles.
>>>> Do you have a favorite KISS related story? I have two: After seeing them on the Dynasty tour in 1979, we were driving away from the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, and someone on the sidewalk was waving a white towel and shouting, “Ace Frehley touched this towel!” So my buddy took off his shirt, stuck it out the window, and started screaming, “Gene Simmons wiped his ass with this T-shirt.” I’ve never forgotten that, no matter how hard I try to. More importantly, the entire approach to my website was directly influenced by Paul Stanley’s explanation of how KISS came to be. They created the band they would have paid to go see. I tried to create a website that I would spend my own time visiting. (check out ProFootballTalk.com)
>>>> Are you a face-painter? In 1978, my sister painted my face as Peter Criss for Halloween. It was a one time thing. I used to think his gray hair was cool. Now that I’m sprouting a fair share of my own, I don’t.
>>>> What was your mindset on the eve of KISS’s induction into the Rock Hall? The original four should have performed one last time. Whatever the issues were from the past, they should have found a way to set it aside for one very important night.
>>>> Have you been exposed yet to KISS’s football venture, LA KISS? I went to their game at Pittsburgh last year. The team was horrible, like most expansion football teams are. It looks like they do a great job with their home games, but ultimately the thing that gets fans to show up consistently is a winning team. After watching Fourth and Loud, I have a feeling that if Paul and Gene could do it all over again, they would have passed on the AFL opportunity. In sports, there are too many things that can’t be controlled, and Paul and Gene like to control everything.
>>>> Last question Mike ….what is your forecast for the Chicago Bears this year? John Fox has won plenty of games with quarterbacks far worse than Jay Cutler, including Tim Tebow. The challenge will be to get the defense quickly fixed. Expectations will be low, which means that they can catch opponents by surprise, win some games in September and October, and position themselves to contend for a playoff berth.
This article is from the March of 2006 issue of UNCUT and includes a fun interview by Jon Wilde with Gene & Paul as well as a handy KISStoric 1976 timeline that chronicles the bands mad-dash to super stardom on the heels on Alive!