EDMONTON FAN READY FOR !
July 07, 2013

Edmonton KISS fan, who has one of the largest memorabilia collections in Canada, excited for Friday concert


'Of all of the collections out there, I think it’s probably one of the coolest collections'

By Claire Theobald / Edmonton Sun

Dale Kemp plans to “lick it up” Friday night.

And his love for the band KISS has endured 40 years, followed him around the globe, and is now filling his basement.

“It’s been this hobby that just hasn’t stopped for the last 40 years,” says Kemp who is extremely excited about the legendary band's massive concert at Rexall Place Friday.

Kemp, who co-runs KISS Army Canada, has been collecting KISS memorabilia for four decades, carefully organizing and storing thousands of rare and unique items valued at more than $100,000.

“Of all of the collections out there, I think it’s probably one of the coolest collections,” boasts Kemp, who even had his collection displayed at Capital EX last year.

But his most valued KISS collectable isn’t his 1978 KISS pinball machine, nor is it the autographed smashed guitar he received from the superstar “starchild” himself, Paul Stanley. His most prized KISS collectable is an autographed photo of himself and his two sons with the band.

“Everything else can be replaced,” Kemp says.

Every piece carries with it a memory, whether it be of the person who gave it to him, the place the self-proclaimed “treasure hunter” acquired it, or his happiest memories of concerts and meet and greets.

Through his collection, a passion he shares with his children, Kemp can escape the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the carefree days of his youth.

“It’s so wickedly cool, because I can almost pick anything in there and I can tell you a story behind it,” Kemp said, adding “it takes me all over the place and back through 40 years.”

Kemp first fell in love with the band at nine-years-old when he picked up an album as a gift for his older cousin.

At first, the powerful visuals, high energy performances, over the top theatrics and hype at the bands height during the ‘70s made it easy for a young boy to get hooked.

Even when the band’s popularity slumped, Kemp’s love remained steadfast. Over the years, he has seen around 30 live shows in venues around the globe, collecting rare and meaningful mementos along the way.

“They keep it consistent, but also fresh,” he said.

When work took him to Australia, his passion for KISS followed him, filling an entire shipping container with KISS swag.

“It’s always been a consistency in my life,” says Kemp, “it’s always been there.”

But as he aged, so did the band, and the physical performances are taking their toll on original band members Gene Simons, now 63, and Paul Stanley, 61.

“I think they are going to pack it in,” Kemp admits.

Kemp intends to be in the audience until the end, his heart still beating out of his chest as he hears the opening line “You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world, KISS!” awaiting the first boom.

Kemp will will appear in full Gene Simmons costume for the first time ever.

“Do yourself a favour,” he says, “go check out the show.”