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Archive for the tag “kiss”

1976: Got My KISS Record Out!

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.

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1998 Radio City Music Hall: Pretenders and B52s Double Bill

Photo by James Yeramian, found on Flickr

Late June, 1998, I had the pleasure to see a double bill with The Pretenders and B52s at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

I was a fan of both bands and saw them both much earlier (on separate occasions) at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey — all the back in 1980.

With an 18 year time difference between the times I saw both acts, I can’t honestly say which shows were better because both of these bands were always a class act.

Aside from all the great songs, dancing, people not being in their seats during almost the entire show, high energy, etc., there were three outstanding moments from this particular gig.

1. Shaking hands with Gene Simmons. The B52s were up first. Now, from day one, whenever I went to a concert my eyes are always pretty much glued to the stage. But when my friend Janet pointed out that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were sitting right behind us, so I had to look.

She was right. It was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at a B52s/Pretenders concert! How surreal.

I said hello to Gene Simmons and he shook my hand. He seemed very nice. Paul was sitting a bit further down, so I didn’t get to meet him that night, although I met him over 10 years earlier at a club in Brooklyn called L’Amour’s.

It was so surreal seeing two members of KISS with their girlfriends. (I’m not sure if it was Shannon who was with Gene, as this concert was way before the “KISS Family Jewels” show was on the air, so I didn’t really know who Shannon Tweed was). Both women were blonde and beautiful.

And it just goes to show that musicians love all kinds of music — not just the kind of music they perform. This is why music fans should stop referring to anything they think is “uncool” as a “guilty pleasure” because it’s all cool!

Gene and Paul left in the middle of the B52s set. I guess too many fans were staring at them.

2. Chrissie Hynde acknowledging the death of Wendy O. Williams. Two months prior to this show, Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics killed herself. This was a shocker to me. I heard the news via email from an editor I worked with briefly. The news broke my heart. I was a huge Plasmatics fan and saw their show pretty close to 10 times. I met Wendy once and she was nice to me. I always admired her strength and viewed her as a woman way ahead of her time. I took her death very hard.

I don’t know if Chrissie Hynde and Wendy O. Williams knew each other personally, but I do know they had a major common ground as they were both vegetarians. Wendy O. Williams was even on the cover of Vegetarian Times.

It was very sweet of Chrissie to acknowledge Wendy. That was so nice and unexpected. Kudos to Chrissie for doing that.

3. Chrissie Hynde dedicating “I’ll Stand By You” to “the animals.” Being an animal lover myself, this was a very poignant moment for me. I love that Chrissie Hynde does so much for the animals. Whenever that song comes on the radio, I remember this concert that I went to so very long ago and ever since hearing Chrissie’s dedication, I love that song even more.

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