KISS Finding Bigfoot!

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Kiss Me Deadly

On the heels of the FBI’s recent misinformation campaign / release regarding Bigfoot last week, leave it to KISS to bring some levity to the situation … and this is super hush-hush but sources close to KISStorian.com are reporting that Gene & Paul have been orchestrating a chance to Animalize themselves and are soon to announce a partnership with A&EOprah to, get this, ‘find Bigfoot’!! While some are concerned it’s merely a diabolical plot to ‘Animalize’ more KISS fans into purchasing Paul Stanley’s new Pumas, this KISStorian thinks it’s high time! 

Reached for statement via satellite the band co-founders & CEO’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were characteristically glib about what the ‘nay sayers’ might opine:

“Why not KISS to find Bigfoot?… we don’t delude ourselves, but sometimes over the march of time things becomes real apparent, whether it’s with a band, a relationship or finding Bigfoot …it’s simple really ….sometimes one has to take things into their own hands if they want results, that’s why I produced the last two KISS records Sonic Boom and Monster, so they wouldn’t suck.….Kidding aside, I am quite sure Gene & I are not alone when we tell you that we have zero faith that Bobo or Moneymaker are the guys to find Bigfoot…. Frankly, we’d give Ace & Peter better odds; at least they’re nocturnal!(laughter) …..listen, KISS has always done things our own way, this is just a continuation of the core KISS principle that no one can tell us what to do, or what’s cool.. We are still cool, and so is Bigfoot .. I see it as an inevitable and yet natural marriage.”

Simmons didn’t miss a beat when he concurred: “We’ve made a living making magic but Bigfoot is one myth we think we can solve, or dispel … it’s gonna be big-time mommy … all those critics out there who don’t believe in KISS, or Bigfoot, are gonna be blown away when they see how the Demon handles this furry fella … we aren’t goin’ out there like (Sammy) Hagar the barbarian without a net …this is not kid stuff, this is serious business….this guy, if the reports are accurate, dwarfs me, even in my battle gear…….KISS is already known for bombast but this time I think the fans, and non-fans, will see our true stealth …..Right now it’ll be the initial 5 episodes on A&E, unless we find him sooner, and we certainly believe we can. Our KISS scientist are not to be second guessed, except by Paul & I, and that’s a …good thing”

When asked if new(ish) band mates Tommy ‘Spaceman’ Thayer or Eric ‘Catman’ Singer will be joining the festivities Stanley is his usual guarded if bemused self: “They are both naturals to help us too but we are working all that out ….to be honest, not everyone is as into the subject as Gene and I so, like everything KISS, it’s a process …that said, Eric truly is like a cat in the woods and Tommy does a have a few special powers that could be handy: for one he has been known to communicate with infra-sound on stage but, I gotta be honest, it’s Gene I am looking forward to seeing out there, out of his comfort zone … he’s not a big fan of bugs or tents or apex predators for that matter, wild hogs aside (more laughter) … we’ll see how it goes because, spoiler alert, Gene’s bark is bigger than his bite” chuckled the Starchild, adding defiantly: “see, KISS doesn’t take on anything unless we plan to do it right, so we will be on a mountain somewhere or down in a holler, whatever it takes, doing the dirty work, finding Bigfoot …there will be no room service… we may put Gene in charge of the plaster-casting of the foot prints”

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Lonley Is The Hunter

Hilarity ensues as the Demon interjects laughingly: “Let’s be clear: it’s not me that needs to be worried, it’s Sasquatch, all of them … KISS is coming for you if you are tuning in ‘Sas!! …“pay-up or miss the show big fella —- I am bringing my Gene Simmons Axe Bass!”

When asked if KISS’s foray into Squatching is a ‘no-kill’ enterprise, Stanley took the question as Gene leaned back in his chair with a deep sigh: “Look, no one wants to get hurt out there …KISS is about having a good time, leaving your troubles at home, and sometimes that involves tents and BBQ’s and a Bunsen burner, so what?? ….we’ll have fun either way. To think that KISS wants to kill anything or anyone is the height of absurdity … I am not saying we won’t defend ourselves if we have to…..we just want to give Bigfoot a chance to introduce himself to KISS fans world-wide, and that’s what we are going to do. Like it or not, it’s a KISS planet and Bigfoot is now just another part of it …there’ll be a video, a new single “Squatchy Lady” and some other surprises ….a cartoon adaptation and so on …..we can’t say too much right now”

When asked how Oprah might figure in the effort, Gene was quick to dot the i: “C’mon …everyone knows KISS have had a long and happy relationship with Oprah and she wants to help us find Bigfoot? ….should we have said “No Oprah, you can’t help us find Bigfoot?!” ….Oprah will be our eyes and ears and I suspect a calming influence in camp as well as a big help managing the considerable logistics, and ballistics, of such an undertaking ….So, yeah, again ….it’s an exciting time to be KISS! …it was this or a one-way trip to Mars! …even KISS has to make choices and we are staying on earth for the time being”

Reached for comment moments ago, former-KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were less jubilant about the impending Simmons/Stanley announcement: Frehley joked “Who knows? maybe they’ll finally find a replacement for Gene out there?” and Criss vented “God save us all …I hope they do find Bigfoot and he kicks their asses!” – KISStorian

BOB RICE talks KISS Spokane ’74

KYRSbobriceatboard2008KISStorian takes a 70’s deep dive with renown rock & roll radio dj & musician BOB RICE: >>>> How did you end up going to the KISS show in Spokane in May of ’74?  I’m glad you asked this question as I love telling the story. I was 14 years of age and playing bass in my first rock band, Angel Painted Lady. Boasting two guitarists, with one of them doubling on trombone, we also had a trumpet player and a flutist. Our drummer doubled on vibraphone, and I doubled on percussion. This was my first dream band. We performed a mixture of rock, fusion, funk, and jazz, covering the music of David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, The James Gang, Chicago Transit Authority, Maynard Ferguson, and Chase, as well as playing our own original music. Our lead guitarist/vocalist often wore make up, when we performed. We always played to packed rooms, which I thought was odd at the time, not that I complained. I am pinching myself, as I write this, as all of the members of Angel Painted Lady went on to create professional, if not satisfying musical careers. It was the lead guitarist, the one who wore the make up, that told me that I NEEDED to see this band, KISS, because he believed that they were going to be “the next big thing”.

What are your most enduring impressions from the night?  I arrived at the concert early, which was normal for me, as I always liked to scope out all of the gear on the stage and possibly catch the eye of one of the musicians who might still be on or near the stage. There were very few people in the venue, with the majority being employees and stage and sound crew, and hardly any concert goers. While I was eyeballing how the venue was set up, one of the crew struck up a conversation with me. After inviting me to check out the house mix, we made our way to the stage … talk about an instant high!

Did you have any pre-show expectations? Yes, it was their first appearance in Spokane and their first official tour. Going into the concert I knew very little about the band aside for the fact that they wore make up and dressed in costume portraying individual characters. In fact I have to admit that I had not heard any of their music before seeing them. In respect to their show, I did have very high expectations based on my guitarist’s adamant recommendation that I see them. They did not disappoint me … they fucking blew me away! When they hit the stage it was like a bomb dropping. I looked around me and everyone was wide eyed and picking their jaws up from off of the floor. Within 20 min. of their set I realized that Ace was the true glue in the band. His ability to create bedrock guitar riffs while seamlessly lacing his lead lines around the other player’s parts, and his riffs, found me standing stupefied, laughing and shaking my head in awe.

Was there already a KISS Army to speak or did the band have to win the crowd over?  There was not a KISS Army, in fact it was very apparent that most of those who were there had come to see Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. By the end of KISS’s set they had won over everyone who was in The Kennedy Pavilion. I heard later that The Earth Band was a little reluctant to take the stage after KISS’s set. The last time this had happened was when Led Zepplin opened for The Vanilla Fudge 4-1/2 years earlier in the same venue. I feel as though I personally witnessed history being made in Spokane that night.

As you re-listen to the show today anything that strikes you in terms of the tunes?   There are two things that struck me, about that night’s performance: The first was that the songs were very fresh, with a beautiful raw and spontaneous feel to them. There was true interplay happening between all four members. If you are a musician you’ll be able to relate to what I am about to say. There were many times, as an example,  when Gene would emphasize a certain bass note, or series of notes, with Peter being lock step with him, punching his drum beats just a little bit harder, and with more authority. Or Ace suddenly ripping into a lead to counter point a particular vocal flourish that Paul is laying out. It is these moments and intuitive exchanges which allow the music to breath. There was a lot of naturally, spontaneous breathing going on that night. The second was that their stage show was loosely choreographed, compared to what it has become. Since their first tour I have seen the band more than a few times. Their stage show has become a major component to their overall concert presentation but not without consequences, being, having that space for spontaneous musical interplay considerably narrowed. When I saw them in 1974 they were playing together with pure joy, as a unit, but also with individual freedom.

Did any of the four seem to be the band leader ….or did KISS come off more as a unit?  Paul did most of the talking, with Gene close on his heels, when announcing in-between songs. Ace was generally tuning his guitar between songs (no surprise with 70’s era Gibson guitars). When they were performing they were united as a band, as I said previously. At the same time they displayed their individual personal made up character persona. In direct answer to your question, they performed like a band of brothers, although the under pinning of Paul and Gene’s ultimate leadership roles were well in place.

Do you think that may be part of their early fan appeal, someone to root for like with a favorite sports team?  Absolutely! If you were not a fan going in, you were one when you came out. They embraced the audience and drew them into their rock n’ roll party, with them being the host.

I was in the front row pressed against the stage. There were moments during the show when you could feel the pressure of the bodies behind you building, sometimes near crushing. Spokane had no idea what this band was about but Spokane’s first KISS Army was born that night. I auditioned a guitarist 6 years after that concert who had KISS tattooed across the knuckles of his right hand, upside down and backwards, and KISS tattooed across the knuckles of his left hand in normal orientation. Hence, if you are a right handed guitarist, your picking hand, (right), clearly shows KISS, and your fretting hand, (left), does as well, to an audience in front of you. During our conversations I asked him what his connection to KISS was, with his first answer being … I saw them at The Kennedy Pavilion in 1974 … he was one of Spokane’s first to enlist and support The KISS Army!

Did you think they would make it big after seeing them live?  Absolutely, and without a doubt … my guitarist was dead on!

You’ve seen perhaps more shows in Spokane than any other single human: who else did you see of note in the 70’s and how does KISS in ’74 rank on your 70’s ‘Best Of Live Spokane’ menu?  This is a very tough question… wow! In reflection there were many shows, some which I played a role in presenting in Spokane in the 70’s. One of my most memorable series of shows was watching the band Heart develop, beginning in 1975. My best friend, at that time, was related to the Wilson family. His older brother, Ray, was the editor of the newspaper at what was then Eastern Washington State College, now Eastern Washington University. He was also a huge music fan who possessed, what I thought was, the largest record collection in the city. In fact he turned me on to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention as well as introduce me to the world of record retail a few years later. Late fall of 1975 Heart released what would become their ground breaking debut album “Dreamboat Annie”, originally released in Canada. The band was living in Vancouver, British Columbia at the time but had roots in the Seattle area. One day Ray received a phone call from his aunt, Ann and Nancy’s mother, asking him if he thought that he could arrange a concert for his cousins at the college. He coordinated two shows for the band beginning with an afternoon show followed by an evening show. During the coarse of the day he also created an interview, which he shared with the Spokane newspapers. He needed a couple of gophers for the day with his brother and I raising our hands without hesitation. On February 14, 1976 “Dreamboat Annie” was released in the US and the band soon skyrocketed. Following the success of that first album the band routinely made Spokane a necessary part of their tours with me being treated as family when ever they were in Spokane.

I mentioned earlier that Ray introduced me to record retail. Working from the ground up I positioned myself in management with a chain of stores called Eucalyptus Records & Tapes, which was originally based out of Fairfield, CA. Part of the companies expansion was into Spokane, and at it’s peak having 4 locations in the city. We would often host touring bands with in-store appearances prior to their show which found me working directly with concert promoters and media entity’s. There were a number of band’s which we routed through Spokane on an annual basis with Heart, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Blue Oyster Cult, Kansas, The Pat Travers Band, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar and Van Halen being core bands. I have fond memories of shooting hoops with the REO boys, talking with Robin Zander about working with George Martin on the bands album “The Dream Police”, getting drunk with David Lee Roth, jamming with Pat Thrall prior to a Pat Travers Band sound check, playing poker with Emmylou Harris and losing $100, leading Ted Nugent through the cities underground stream tunnels for seven blocks, the only way to get him into the store as the fans had circled the entire city block and were stopping traffic … and yes, seeing KISS for the first time in 1974. That concert was, and continues to be a memorable rock n’ roll highlight for me.