It was quite unbelievable, even to this day. Today they charge for such things.
I had left Washburn guitars but decided on a whim to catch Kiss in Madison, WI to see them one last time on the ‘Farewell Tour’ with a girl friend of mine. We got some half-decent seats but I thought, if we got up there early, I might be able to get in touch with one of the band’s guitar techs and get some seats or, better yet, go back and say hey to Paul, maybe meet the whole band?
Half of it came through plus a cherry on top. The gal I was with didn’t believe much of what I said until we stopped by the venue and I jogged over to the box office and quickly re-emerged with two front seats and a backstage “after show” lamanets. All of a sudden I was cool (a story for another time).
The show was cool too being that close but it felt like a bit of a slog for Gene and especially Paul as I caught a few of impromptu glances between the two of them when Ace or Peter were sloppy. First time I have seen sort of going through the motions, but sometimes, when you are up close, it takes away some of the magic in a way – you realize they are performing for everyone, not you LOL..
At one point my friend stuck her tongue out at Gene and it was shockingly long!! Gene responded in kind and then, when she showed him her tits. the Demon wagged his pointer finger like “bad girl, naught” but kind of like he meant it? It was strange.
Paul made eye contact with me a couple of times and seemed to recognize me, who knows? When the show was coming to an end I pushed past my date and headed for center stage where Paul was smashing his guitar for the finale. My girlfriend said “where do you think you are going?” and I said “to get that guitar!” and she said, hilariously, “good luck asshole!”
It sounds like bullshit but it was like Paul saw me coming down the first row along the barricade and, just as I got dead center, he tossed the neck right to me!! I had just stepped in front of a guy dressed up entirely as Gene Simmons (which I hadn’t thought much about until now) who must have thought it was coming to him and was none to happy to have been scooped as such.
A struggle ensued with me at the bottom of a mini Kiss Army pile-up. At one point I remember thinking this could be bad but I managed to escape with the guitar and returned to my seat a little roughed up but with the souvenir of all souvenirs – a ‘make-good’ gift of sorts from Paul Stanley.
Funny thing is, we weren’t free yet. When the house lights came up after the show and we waited to file out I couldn’t help a brief obnoxious display of my good fortune and jumped up on a chair, guitar neck held aloft, and screamed “FUCKING ROCK & ROLL!!” and found us quickly surrounded by fans who just wanted to touch it, and a couple others hell-bent on getting it off me apparently.
When we got outside the venue I realizes we were being followed. I told my friend to take her heels off and get ready to run. She was like “you’re insane, no one is following us”. I said ‘wanna bet” and, as we started to jog we looked back and saw that they too had picked up their pace. It quickly turned into an a hundred yard dash to the restaurant nearest the venue and, eventually, they decided better of having a go at me for the guitar.
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are.