The Album That Changed My Life — for about a few hours
Kiss was very significant in my life.
They were the first “cool” band I listened to. Destroyer was my first “real” album. Before that it was Sonny & Cher, Bay City Rollers, AM Gold hits on the radio and my mom and uncle’s Elvis, Tom Jones and Johnny Cash records. Mind you, all this stuff is considered cool today, but it wasn’t back in 1976, age 12.
Around this time, I beat up the school bully.
My grandmother always taught me, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose a fight, just get one good punch in, show them you’re not scared.
So, here I was 12-years-old, and the school hero for beating up a bully. All of a sudden I was mad popular, after being the shy skinny pimple kid with glasses that no one would talk to because they gave up on me because I was too shy to talk to them. Fair is fair and it never bothered me much that I didn’t have friends. I was a loner.
But now that I had friends, I decided to throw a party in my grandmother’s basement and invite all my new friends.
I was suddenly too cool for my own classmates – the 7th graders. Instead, I invited all the 8th graders.
But the 7th graders were begging me to invite them too, so I invited the ones who begged the hardest.
That night, the kids all started pouring in. Twelve- and 13-year-olds brought beer and other alcoholic beverages.
A lot of the boys were still short and it was hilarious seeing mismatched short, skinny boys with girls who were overdeveloped for their age.
I only had my one Kiss album, “Destroyer,” and that’s all we listened to all night, over and over.
Pre-teen and teen-aged kids got drunk, cried and made out like crazy.
I only had a few sips of beer … to fit in. (I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t cry. Nor did I “make out like crazy.”)
Nobody fought or wrecked anything. I considered the party a success.
When “Beth” played, the cutest boy in the school sang to me, replacing my name, “Maryanne” every time Peter Criss sang, “Beth.”
“Maryanne, what can I do?”
It was the first time a boy ever sang to me. But when it came time to kiss him, I was afraid. So I lost out.
Monday morning all the kids said to me, “Great party!”
Sadly, my mother found out about the beer. I got in trouble, and felt resentful of my new friends.
I started drifting away from them and slumped back into my loner stage.
But I continued to buy Kiss records. And also moved on to Queen and Aerosmith.