I became a fan of the band early on, and I was inspired to purchase a guitar for myself out of the Sears catalog and taught myself how to play. In short order I was attempting to write my own songs and play with friends in the neighborhood with similar interests.
My dad had a 2 track reel to reel player/recorder & we recorded some music onto it. At the same time I made KISS compilations on it from my KISS records. I didn’t understand how the 2 separate tracks worked yet, and one time we ended up recording one of our original songs over a KISS recording. When I played it back one channel was us and one was KISS. I asked my dad about this and he said at first he thought we wanted to be playing along with KISS. This sparked the tribute band idea and “KISS II” was born. At first we made guitars out of cardboard and plywood and air jammed but did sing along, until we upgraded our own equipment as we got better at playing real instruments. We made flyers and held our own concerts in my parents’ living room. Later on we played at parties and then we rented community centers and sold tickets.
So at 1st KISS II was done where I recorded compilations of the KISS songs we wanted to perform on the reel to reel. Of course many songs were from Alive & Alive II, however when we wanted to play newer songs as they came out or different songs in the set, I would record extended cheering onto the beginning and ending of the songs fading them in and out to sound as if they are live. So really the full stereo song only kicked in after the cheering was faded out on one channel. We sang through microphones through our guitar amps & such and I wrote and timed the song intros and did that myself over the audience track. So there were no Paul raps only my versions of the Paul raps. This allowed us to do things from side 4 of Alive II, solo album songs, plus Dynasty & Unmasked as they came out.
Along the way, we imitated the real band by making & selling our own magazines and comic books, plus tickets, flyers, posters, and merchandise. We even did our own “studio recordings” where the respective band members sang over the KISS songs and tried to sell those tapes, naming them things like, “Golden Platinum.” Our action figures were comprised of Star Trek and super hero dolls which we painted & dressed ourselves. We made our own T-shirts also by hand. Needless to say it was all a lot of fun!
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