November 10, 2009
I Left my Daughter Backstage With KISS

By Jill Cataldo

On Saturday night, I did something that would have been unthinkable during the 1970s. I took my 13-year-old daughter backstage after the KISS concert... and I left her there for three hours.

Before you react and think I'm a horrible parent, relax. Gene Simmons had already left the building.

After KISS's amazing Minneapolis concert, with two very tired preschoolers in tow, parental duties had to come ahead of my inner desires to hang out backstage post-show. (Ahh, the sacrifices we make as parents!) So instead, I headed backstage with our 13-year-old daughter.

She had never been backstage to enjoy that after-show experience, and so upon making sure she was safe and would be hanging with friends who work for the band, and reminding her to leave her cellphone on, I left.

That's right. I left my 13 year old backstage with 3/4 of KISS.

My husband and I took our two very tired KISS kiddos back to the hotel, where they immediately crashed in bed. My husband was tired too, and he fell asleep shortly after. Now, my inner KISS fan said "go back to the arena... everyone's still there..." but the mom in me knew that would probably be received as very uncool by one teenage girl who was probably enjoying the time of her life.

So I stayed. I took a shower, did some work on the laptop and waited for her to check in.

Around midnight, I got a phonecall from one of the friends I'd left her in the care of. He said "Do you want to know what your daughter is doing right now?"

I said "I'd love to know, though I trust her and I trust you..."

He said "She's eating Tommy Thayer's birthday cake."

You see, Saturday night was KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer's birthday, and after the show, the band had a small party for Tommy, complete with a Spaceman-makeup themed birthday cake. And our daughter was happily hanging with the band, eating birthday cake and chatting about everything from school musicals to boyfriends! She was having a grand old time.

I smiled as I hung up the phone. She would never forget this night.

And a while later, my friends called again to say they were heading back. When everyone returned to the hotel, in walked our beautiful daughter with a piece of Tommy's birthday cake in her hand.

She chattered away about the wonderful experiences she had that night. She's a big drama enthusiast and enjoys acting and musicals, and evidently she and Eric sat and discussed amateur theater productions..! Eric mentioned he had performed in "Oliver" in elementary school and that he'd also been an orchestra percussionist for "The Sound of Music." (Eric was already her favorite drummer, but this stuff scored huge points with her!)

She was also thrilled that Paul remembered her from the art gallery show we helped out with a couple months ago. As for the birthday boy? She'd already been holding a "Happy Birthday Tommy!" sign up during the entire show prior to this, and she loved being able to wish Tommy the same in person.

I have always found KISS to be incredibly gracious with their fans, but on this night, this particular fan received an experience of a lifetime. I can't say enough about the KISS's incredible crew too, many of whom she enjoyed great conversations with as well.

Back at the hotel, as our group of friends listen to my daughter continue reveling in her escapades, one of my friends who had accompanied her said to me, "Guess how many times someone backstage asked her where her mother was."


Not once.


Special thanks to Keith Leroux for the photo.