As a rule, I generally try to not get too blog-like on your asses, but some scenes have to be set using the simplest, most conversational tone. When I was six years old, I pestered my parents to send away an enrollment form and a little bit of cash to pay for my membership in the KISS Army. Although I started listening to music from an early age, KISS was the first band I held dear to my thin chest and ribcage and regarded as "my band." For my part, I received many treasures from this inclusive club — newsletters, badges, photos, and the like. However, the most important prize was an iron-on decal that came to the mailbox one day. I immediately got my mom to affix it to a shirt and consequently wore the thing out.
Do you want a less heartfelt and much sadder story? Before I was lucky enough to have that homemade t-shirt, I actually went and had another one made at the local flea market, "Shirt Stop." It was pumpkin orange with dark blue fuzzy-felt letters that simply stated "I LIKE KISS." Can you imagine? Well, you don't have to because the photo is to your left. Good grief man, if I had any credibility before (not likely), this posed picture of yours truly, bowl-cut intact, grinning like a jackass, proudly displaying said stupid t-shirt while perched on my Dad's knee, sure as hell seals the deal!
As embarrassed as I am of this, I've never been shy about confessing my allegiance to early-period KISS. I have had no problems mostly avoiding the band's past 25 years — including many awful group and four simultaneously-released solo efforts, the movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (which rules, actually), "unmasking", endless reunion tours, current reality show madness, co-writing songs with Michael Bolton, his and hers fragrance lines, the KISS Coffeehouse, and the boning of 20,000+ groupies — but still love the vintage, raw nuggets contained on those first few albums by New York's finest. Make no mistake, I know that KISS are all about the sell and very little about the music, but that's no reason not to be pumped about the release of KISSology Volume One: 1974-1977 this past Halloween (when else?). Needless to say, this DVD is going to be awesome when I get my hands on it. The two-disc set (three-discs in limited quantities and certain locations) covers the band's nascent years and apparently features the stuff that all good music DVDs should: loads of archival television appearances, four full concerts (San Francisco '75, Detroit '76, Tokyo '76, and Houston '77), interviews, and rare, unreleased footage including, among other things, a performance by the band at Ace Frehley's wedding in 1976. Bring on the bliss!
So, friends, have pity on the cherubic lame-ass in the photo, and trust me on this one. When it comes to KISS, you can take my words to the bank.