Three Sides Of The Coin re-unites KISS Army

three sides of the coin Oh, the power of the world-wide web. Three Sides Of The Coin, a 3-person hosted, low-fi, webcam podcast available on iTunes, their Youtube channel et al just celebrated their 50th episode and are hands down the definitive KISS podcast. If you live under a rock or just discovered Kiss, then take a deep breath and start working your way through their archive and CHOOSE ONE!  In a fractured ranks divided into many camps, Three Sides Of The Coin bridges the gaps and goes into the void, fists up, mending fences and finding common ground in understanding KISStory.

Since starting their three-sided fanatical volleys have been shared lovingly by KissAsylum.com, the Kiss fans long-standing stand-bye. Each show is just over an hour or so and they also have had some amazing ‘well-in-the-kno’ exclusive guests and, in a very short time, have managed to provide a one-stop-shop for the real deal in a no spin zone the descerning fan can appreciate.

The 3-Kissketeers, which includes the increasingly giddy renown rock critic Mitch Lafon, former Kissonline.com founder with the actual band KISS / marketing guru Michael Brandvold and, for no reason immediately apparent, Tommy Sommers, a regular guy real estate agent from Minnesota who brings it all down to earth here and there with the occasionally necessary “what a minute, can you explain?”

largeIt all just works very well. They get along but also aren’t afraid to disagree and each has a unique perspective that works great in the simple three-window format which, to their credit, they could have done online without the visual. But instead, they bring us into their worlds in a format that makes it pretty hard to hide your feelings once you have watched someone for a bit. But, in their defense, there is so much to argue about!! And they do it for no other reason than that they are fans and what we get (for free it should be noted) is a glorious weekly intrusion into the psyche of three Kiss fans beyond help on the eve of what looks like Kiss’s induction finally into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a possible re-union of the four original cats no less!

I imagine mega-fans of other mega-bands would do well to take note of the simple formula as a solid template. Our undaunted brethren have covered a lot of ground already but I am hopeful they can keep it rolling as long as they can stand because it’s helping LOL!!!  Not to diminish some of the great stuff that folks like KISSfaq.com, DecibelGeeks.com and podKISSd.com and others have done, but for me Three Sides Of The Coin has managed to capture what it is to be a card-carrying KissArmy member and deliver hot content week after week, especially with the enthralling guest segments like epsiode #50 with That Metal Show host on VH1Classic Eddie Truck.

Or watch this episode in which the boys “sit down” as it were with the first KISS (former) member Bruce Kulick to recognize the show for what is: perhaps the best place to talk Kiss and reach the real fans. My guess is it won’t long before each band member is coming on the show and my guess is the next man up will be either Ace himself or the new ‘Spaceman’, Tommy Thayer, who recently sent in a note to the guys that they read on the show. How would be cool to hear Tommy actually talk and see him interact so we can get to know him a bit more, or Eric Singer for that matter?

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eleven keys to indie band touring

2392252farsideone, always allow enough time to get from A to B to guarantee you aren’t late for load-in no matter what; sucks to start the night with excuses or an argument. if you’re gonna be late, you better call the venue or your booking agent so the club knows in advance.

two, arrive in a business like manner, there’ll be plenty of time to show your wonderful personality later on.

three, have one person speak for the band as it relates just about everything; … you don’t want each band member bothering staff, management or the sound man for that matter (sound check aside of course (often can’t be helped!)). Fine if they wanna make buddies after sound check, until then – shut up and get your gear on stage!

four, you are not rock stars yet, don’t forget it no matter how great the gig goes. the people running the place have seen it all before and will be more than ready to stereotype you as the beers flow and the ego hits over drive … stay cool yo.

five, the sound man is the most important person in your life: do what he says, be polite but not too friendly (or he may take the nite off), know how to sound check as a band in the shortest time possible, already know what you want in your goddamn monitor or ask for little to nothing, “get what you need” only, less is always more in this regard and, lastly, treat him with respect right outta the box and make him feel he is part of it. Never soundcheck full songs if you can help it.  Choose a tune to run that covers all the bases so you are able to hear your stage mix quickly and get out-of-the-way. Less is more in this arena. When you’re a star you can become a soundcheck diva, until then, plead the fifth. The better you sound check the better your chances are at the club because first impressions are often the most telling.

six, tell your friends there is no guest list and, if you have to put Mr. Big on the list, pay outta the bands pocket for the ticket and then have him added to the list – you will make a strong impression.

seven, after sound check, make yourselves scarce and don’t start drinking. if you are gonna be drinking early, don’t do it at the venue.

eight, always thank the soundman by his/her name from the stage and mention the openers / headliners at some point. you are there to make friends or you will never build your draw there.

nine, be seen listening to and enjoying the other bands on the bill, do not disappear backstage, it can empty a room out a bit and people start wondering when they are leaving too. you are there to make the club money, if they don’t, it wasn’t a good night no matter how good the board mix sounded in the van.

ten, humility and an eye on the prize is the only way you will make the venture, your gig that night, time well spent. the real clubs staff n’ mgmt. know who the real bands are even before they’ve heard’em, or think they do, and are right more often than not.

eleven, this one goes there ….know your rights and stand up for them if you have done all the above and still got the shaft, it’s a game, be ready to win it and bite your tongue here n’ there ….

KISS early American punk?

Kiss-pictures-1973-CA-3457-007-l
Creem Magazine unmasked ’74

From the Encyclopedia Britannica: PUNK, also known as punk rock, aggressive form of rock music that coalesced into an international (though predominantly Anglo-American) aesthetic / movement in 1975–80. Often politicized and full of vital energy beneath a sarcastic, hostile facade, punk spread as an ideology and an esthetic approach, becoming an archetype of teen rebellion and alienation”

Maybe rock history has it (relatively) wrong? No doubt staunch critics of KISS (IE ‘music critics’) will scoff at the suggestion that KISS were originally essentially a punk act. If so, perhaps the most influential one of all time, just a few years too early and simply too singular to be part of the traditional discussion.

Suspend your disbelief, the proof is in the pudding. Like the punks and every movement in rock, KISS created their own thing, their own look and their own sound. Both gravitated to shock value and, like the punks, KISS had zero shame, eventually drawing you in with their sheer will, devotion and spectacle.

Sure, if they ever were punk, they didn’t remain it for long and, sure, they were far from political, although the assertion that they wanted to “Rock & Roll All Nite & Party Everyday” left little for the establishment to condone or moms to embrace. And, yeah. of course they ultimately totally sold out in a way that is perhaps the very anti-thesis of a punk ethos that demands failure by definition. It was Johnny Lydon who summed up punk fatalism most succinctly in the Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” with the ever-enduring refrain” no future, no future, no future for you”.

Perhaps we miss the analogy just because KISS became way too successful to be remembered as punks? I submit that they may have been classified as something slightly other than classic rock had they folded in 1975 before ALIVE! saved them. Decked out originally in black leather, studs and white face, the bands presentation was as raw as a fist fight and far from glam or glamorous.

I came upon this surprisingly reasonable revelation the other evening while re-watching KISS’s 1974 performance on ABC In Concert w/ Dick Clark. 

So cool. When Criss screams “Your days are sown with madness!” at the end of “BLACK DIAMOND” you realize KISS meant it and, as it turned out, were reflecting something that would soon have parents all over America puzzled. Worth noting that it takes only Frehley’s first frenetic solo on the opening number for chicks to stand up and the party is on. 

You had to be there, but somehow KISS were the band stateside to mega-articulate “fuck what the adults are telling you” to a generation waiting for something to happen. 

KISSOLOGY Vol. 1.documents the heady times well, especially with the Paul & Gene commentary feature punched. It was the wild west back then and it is well-known the band and their crew acted like devil-may-care renegades as openers both on and off stage. Refusing to tone it down, KISS were bounced off tour after tour by pissed-off headliners for feathers ruffled and bruised egos. KISS took no prisoners save the audience. The early live footage speaks for itself Youtubers, KISS were freaks on a mission and like punk, KISS aimed to kick your teeth in one way or another.

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did you see the opening band dude?

Musically speaking, early KISS (esp. the first two ‘offerings’) was darker and considerably slower than the general attack that punk ‘musicians’ hurled over the pond a few years later. Start with tunes like “PARASITE”, “BLACK DIAMOND”, “DEUCE”, “WATCHIN’ YOU”, “100,000 YEARS”, “GOIN’ BLIND”, “STRANGE WAYS”, “HOTTER THAN HELL”, “STRUTTER” and “SHE” for a keen snapshot of their no frills urgent ballsy attitude rock & roll.

Don’t buy the usual pundits backwash folks: KISS really could play, no way it would have worked if they didn’t rock man. Check the tapes: it was happening.

It may be Ace Frehley’s “COLD GIN” that supports the argument best —- a tune about getting drunk just to keep warm and ‘keeping it together’ (lol.). Way ahead of its time and certainly an honest blue-collar concern. That’s what Ace and Peter Criss brought to the band; legit fast-trigger, gang-tested attitude from the streets of the Bronx & Brooklyn. But, for business acumen, Gene & Paul might have been the biggest punks in town. No needles, no violence, but more attitude than anyone in their way.

Just think about it: you would have to be punk of sorts to be in KISS at its inception. Making any sense? KISS as an Americana precursor to punk? It’s not that far-fetched my friends. Hell, look at the crowd on the back of KISS’s 1975 deal sealer ALIVE!….half the people in the crowd look like they are in The Ramones (or relatives of the Hanson brothers from Slapshot).

AliveRamones
I Wanna Be Sedated & Party Every Day

Described early on as ripoffs of everything from the New York Dolls to Alice Cooper to Humble Pie to Free to Slade to Led Zep to Cream to The Faces to The Who to Sabbath to Ziggy to Hendrix meets the Beatles but, make no mistake, KISS were punks at heart.

Alienation? KISS were aliens.

Teen rebellion? Check.

An aesthetic? Um (gulp)….yeah.

Hostile facade? Hell yeah!

Ideology? Keep It Simple Stupid.

Aggressive? What was your daughter’s name again?