ROSS HALFIN: A WEEK WITH
December 01, 2009
Photographer Ross Halfin shot some amazing photographs of KISS in California. Throughout last week, Ross also blogged about his various experiences with the band. Read the highlights here, excerpted from RossHalfin.com!

________________

November 19

In Los Angeles to shoot, if I have my way, some Kiss.

November 20

Spoke to Paul Stanley and thinking about it after, I realized he REALLY is a fine man. He returns phone calls, emails and if he says he's going to do something he does it. I like him a great deal. He invited Peter and I to Fresno tomorrow.

November 21

FRESNO, YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU GOT THE BEST - THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD - KISS! They were EXCITING. If I could pick one show I enjoyed the most this year it's KISS. It has everything you pay to go to see. You come away HAPPY and I think that is why you go out - to have a good time.

I took Peter and met up with Paul and Gene and flew up late afternoon. Paul described Gene as Christopher Columbus - very funny...

Shot the soundcheck with the band playing Funk 49, with Evan Stanley on lead guitar. Shot reportage and the show with the help of new assistant, Evan Stanley, now trading guitar for camera bag. New stage set, no monitors in the way, clean and wide with a split video screen, modern and fresh. The stage had no clutter, the Kiss logo is on the stage floor. In Detroit Rock City the band freeze for about thirty seconds before Armageddon erupts. It is a great ending.

November 22

In the early hours as I get back to my hotel I see Joe Perry with John Bionelli, who looked preoccupied and bored. I am just falling asleep at 3.30am when my phone rings with a voice singing 'SAY YEAH! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.' it is John. 'They've all gone to bed, WHAT WAS THE SHOW LIKE?' John then tells me what the show's like. 'You haven't seen it!' 'I have, I watch them every night on YOUTUBE! Let's meet for breakfast and you can show me Kiss photos...'

Had Sunday lunch with a starstruck John Bionelli, watching Paul Stanley and family have brunch on the next table. Paul gave me one of his paintings for my girlfriend (she loves his art).

November 23

Drove to Anaheim where Joe Perry was playing the House Of Blues. John Bionelli was sweating doing the set list. He moaned 'If only they played like Kiss, they could blow up the House Of Blues.' John is distraught as Joe Perry is playing the same nights as Kiss are in LA and Las Vegas. 'This is torture!' John even came to my room to watch Detroit Rock City on Youtube.

November 24

Back to Anaheim for Kiss - just like in the old days Kiss destroy Anaheim. I was invited to shoot Wolfmother at the Wiltern which I was tempted to do but John Bionelli would have never looked me in the face again. 'YOU DID WOLFMOTHER OVER KISS?' he would hate me...

The drive from hell on the freeway. Got there at 6pm. Did a set up with lighting backstage. I haven't done this for ages, at least since, ermmm, Sunday.

It was good. Kiss know why they are doing this and give you a hundred per cent of what you need and want. Shooting the show was hard, the pit was only a couple of feet wide so it was like shooting up between their legs getting pictures of armour- plated testicles. I did okay towards the end of the show - shot half from the mixing desk. But I preferred it up close next to the mayhem.

November 25

Get back to the hotel at 2am, see John - he asks me for my Kiss set list to frame. I give him it. He looks disappointed, 'You could have got them to sign it!' I bid him farewell - he calls after me 'They need to play God Of Thunder!'

I sleep for three hours then get up, turn on the tv and watch the news with the queues and chaos at LAX airport. For those of you not American, this is the worst day to travel this year - everyone does. I think I can't face it, I'm flying to Chicago then on to London plus tomorrow the flights will be empty - decide to stay in LA.

As I'm still here it was off to the Staples Center for Kiss, it was good to shoot again. I got a couple of perfect jumping shots of Paul Stanley, plus Gene breathing fire and dripping blood. This was the best Kiss show of the three - not that Kiss have bad shows. I even had a bit of Thanksgiving turkey after the show.