Story and photo by Scott McDonald
Excerpted from San Diego News Network
My introduction to the unstoppable force of nature that is KISS came in the form of a dubious confirmation. While she previously had her suspicions, my grandmother's fears were cemented by both neighbors and friends at church, when they told her that KISS was indeed an acronym for "Kings (or Knights) In Satan's Service."
My parents were understanding, but after being relayed this information, I was out of luck. They pulled the plug on my incessant, week-long campaign for the funds to purchase the KISS comics I wanted so desperately and seemingly everyone else in my third grade class had acquired.
I immediately went into super-stealth mode. Under the guise of "hanging out," I spent time at the loose-parenting confines of my next-door neighbor Todd, playing with Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley dolls, listening to "Destroyer" on his record player and watching their movie "KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park" on TV.
Years later, and long after they'd dispelled the acronym theory as silliness, my parents watched me and three high-school friends drive to the San Diego Sports Arena to see a KISS show in 1988. They were touring on "Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits," a compilation that included the cheesy single "Let's Put the X in Sex." It was a decent show, but they played without make-up or costuming and it was far from the full KISS experience.