KISStorian — Asylum in Hammond ’86

KISS HammondHow KISS ended up playing in Hammond Indiana on Easter Sunday is a part of KISStory they may have conveniently forgotten given the protests outside by local preachers that night and the light attendance, but it’s a show I’ll never forget.

Scan0011My and my bro Rich and a rock & roll buddy Matt, who was mainly an ACDC fan but open to a KISS baptism on Easter apparently,  were there early for the general admission show and ended up in the 3rd row!.

AsylumGENOI had snuck a small camera into the venue and was talking to my bro about how we were going to get some great shots as I had a full roll of film (haha).

Out of nowhere a guy in the row in front of us turned around and said “you wanna get some really good photos?”

AsylumCARRI thought he was showing off because of his pro camera but then he handed me a laminated ‘Photo Pass’ for the show… a KISS Asylum Photo Pass saying ‘”go for it dude, have a blast!”.

PaulAsylumPGI grabbed the pass and was let in behind the barricade stage left but soon found out I could not actually go backstage but was free to roam around the stage area. I got Paul’s guitar tech to snap a shot of me in front of Paul’s Asylum Tour array of BC Rich axes and, before I knew it, the house lights went down and I saw the band emerge from the dressing room to walk to the stage. I had seen Paul through the backstage door briefly when it opened once: he was sitting down and his left leg was bopping up and down as fast as a bee’s knee with pre-show jitters.

When they cleared the ramp, complete with the ABC Eye Witness News Team camera lights rolling, I ran around the front of the stage and awaited the famous ‘You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best” intro and snapped a few frantic and blurry shots as the band, immersed in smoke, as hopped off Eric Carr’s drum riser the hit the first G chord of “Detroit Rock City”.

asylummarch30_1986After the 2nd tune a big dude with a beard in the Kiss crew said, looking at my pass with a flashlight and leaning forward to yell in my ear, “that’s all you get, it’s only for the first couple tunes” and, no bullshit, then he and another roadie hoisted me over the stage wall into the first row!  As I came over  my bro and buddy Matt saw me and we’re pointing at me laughing in the mayhem as some of the Kiss Army’s finest in the front row, called into rock & roll duty, helped let me down to the floor and I climbed through my way back to our seats.  Asylum, nuff said.

PS – King Cobra sucked, like their name.


KISStorian’s first FREHLEYS COMET sighting LaPorte ’87

AceLaPorte63087It was back in the summer of ’87 and there’s a reason I remember it well… was the day a friend and I met legendary rock guitarist Ace Frehley.

Ace was doing some warm-up dates a few weeks in advance of the release of the Frehley’s Comet debut and somehow, without the aid of the internet, my brother Rich and I had found out he was playing somewhere in Indiana.

We were eagerly awaiting the record because we had gotten a kick-ass bootleg of The Comet’s very first show at L’Amours in Brooklyn from ’85. Kiss is like religion so we convinced a couple non-Kiss-fan-friends to join us on our pilgrimage to see Ace play on a Tuesday night in La Porte, Indiana in what amounted to a very nice gym; the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

We got there way early and ended up sitting down out front on the sidewalk in line for the general admission show. A couple of hours into our vigil, we saw a tour bus duck behind the venue. No one else in line seemed to have noticed so my buddy Jay and I decide to have a snoop round back. Just like that, we walk up as the tour bus door opens on cue and Frehley’s Comet members Todd Howarth, John Regan and Anton Fig pile off for sound check. Cool!

ACE_groove“Hey guys, can’t wait to see you guys live!! Where’s Ace?”

“Oh…he’s coming, he’s good” giggled Howarth walking by.

Seconds later, two worlds collided; daytime & Ace Frehley, that is. Space Ace stumbled from the bus to terra firma like he was in the middle of one of his smoking guitar solos, propelled by gravity but afraid to stop moving for fear he might fall over. It was very rock & roll.

“Hey Ace, how’s it going? You are my fucking hero man! This is my buddy Jay.” Pausing to shake our hands as the band watched by the backstage door to make sure he made it from A to B, Ace offered “I’m glad you came out man, we’re gonna kick some ass tonight, you wait and see.” He would use the exact phrase as a between-songs stage rap on Frehley’s Comet; Live + 1 a year later LOL.

Scan0069When the show started we were dead center, 2nd row, and up close & personal because it wasn’t a high stage. Call me crazy, but during the opening number, “Rip It Out,” Ace even seemed to recognize us, giving us a wink as he came to the mic to sing the first verse. Our Kiss world seemed right again for the first time since the ‘break-up.’ He didn’t do “Shock Me” but it was genius: Ace was back – he had told us so.