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WHY I LOVE KISS

Posted on 01/18/2013
January 18, 2013 Dear KISSONLINE.COM (and to all the members of KISS) This is a letter describing WHY I LOVE KISS I am a KISS fanatic - just turned 50 this year - and have been since I was 13 years old. It was 1975 when I got my first KISS album in the Fall, KISS ALIVE!, from a boyfriend when I was in the 8th grade named Brian L. (I won't say his last name for privacy reasons). I must say I was not impressed with the cover - in fact I was downright "grossed out" (I think this is the proper expression from the 70's!) by the appearance of the band. But, alas I took the album home and listened to it - WOW. I listened to it over and over and over. (I must confess it was the only album I had, lol) and I was hooked literally for life. I withstood countless ridicule during my high school years at Clare High for loving KISS, but looking back at my high school yearbook, I am still proud they have a picture in there of me with my little compact portable tape player, with a solitary ear bud in my ear, walking down the high school hallway jamming to KISS. They also had a cool one of me in my Clare High Pioneers softball team jacket with Ace Frehley makeup on. My bedroom was filled with KISS posters and pages of pictures from the band ripped out of Circus magazine. I even had posters on the ceiling that interconnected and formed a giant picture of the members of KISS. My locker was filled with pictures of KISS as well. I can still remember Christmas Day of 1977, when my sister (who is one year younger) and I received purses from our mother as one of our gifts. I can't say that I really liked receiving a purse, but when we looked inside - - OMG - - KISS tickets!!! My first KISS concert (my first concert ever in fact) was on January 21 (a day after my favorite Paul Stanley's birthday), 1978 at Olympia Stadium. I sat in Section 14, Row J, Seat 16. I know because I still have my ticket framed on the wall to this day. The cost of the ticket was only $8. 50. I was 15 years old. It was one of the best days of my life. My mom bought us souvenirs including a KISS Alive II t-shirt and a gold metal KISS belt buckle that I still wear under my shirt to work every day. My sister and I could hardly see the band, but we had binoculars, which afforded us a close up view of our heroes. We literally screamed every word to every song at the top of our lungs and bounced up and down, hugging each other over and over. Unbelievable. My mom made us leave during the encore, right after Peter Criss sang "Beth" I believe, which I still hold a resentment about to this day! BUT--the best part of the story was yet to come. You see, my mom took pictures of cars and they were placed in a newspaper type magazine of autos for sale. One of the benefits was that she was rewarded for outstanding sales by receiving two rooms in the top floor of the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, the PENTHOUSE floor. After the concert, we went to the Hyatt to spend the night and lo and behold, KISS WAS STAYING ON THE ENTIRE FLOOR!!! We literally went out of our minds. The really hard part was that we were only allowed to stay in our room - we couldn't wander the halls at all - and had to be escorted by security to and from the elevators. We ordered room service that night and the person who brought our food said he had a hand towel that had been used by Ace Frehley. I still have that brown towel in my hope chest, and no, I never washed it. The next day, Sunday, my mom, sister and I had just checked out of our room and turned in our key to the penthouse suites and we were standing around literally crying because we had been so close to our heroes and didn't even get a glimpse of them. But then, my sister saw a guy with long, black hair walking right by us with a newspaper in his hands (I didn't even see him) and pointed at him, shouting at the top of her lungs, "THAT'S PAUL STANLEY!!!". My mom, sister and I ran towards him as he walked quickly to the elevator and he graciously let us get on that elevator with him. I will never forget how I was face to face with the member of KISS I held highest in esteem, and HE DIDN'T HAVE HIS KISS MAKEUP ON. (This was when no one was allowed to take photographs of KISS and no one knew what they looked like without their makeup). I looked at him and said, "You don't look like what I thought you'd look like." (what a stupid thing to say I know). I had recently bought a post card that had a picture of the hotel on one side, and had put it in my pocket. I reached into my pocket and pulled it out and turned it over to the blank side and PAUL STANLEY SIGNED IT. It says, "TO LORI LOVE PAUL STANLEY KISS with a star drawn next to his name. My poor sister didn't have anything for him to sign, so when we got to the penthouse floor, there was a table with napkins on it and he signed one of the napkins for her. We went back down to the lobby and out to the street where we jumped up and down, hugged and screamed and screamed and screamed. It was one of the best days of my life and I was only 15 years old. I have seen KISS so many times I've lost track. I often travel for hours to cities remotely near my now home of Midland, MI to see KISS. I would go online to find a KISS concert that had a seat close to the stage (usually in the first 10 rows) and then I would just get in my car and drive. I've been to the Cleveland area 5-6 hours away; Indianapolis 6 hours away and my furthest excursion, to the college campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. It took me 11 hours to get there, one way. I had no idea how long it would take for me to get there, so I left around midnight the night before the concert, drove straight through, and arrived around noon the next day. I waited around outside of the concert with the other KISS fans for the entire day, watched the show that night, and drove home all night. I remember my ears ringing for hours and my friend telling me to stop talking so loud because I'd gone half deaf from the concert. One of the biggest thrills I've ever had going to see KISS was when my good friend surprised me with tickets to go see KISS at Tiger Stadium in 1996. It was the first show of the reunion tour when the 4 original member of KISS put their makeup back on and had the biggest money grossing tour of any band for the entire year. I can still remember the electricity that was in the air while we were waiting for the show. It was unbelievable. My friend has told me many times since then that his siblings who went also went to the show have told him to NEVER bring that girl to a concert ever again. They couldn't hear hardly because I had screamed so loudly the entire show. I saw KISS three times during the farewell tour. I was SO depressed going to those shows because I thought they'd be my last. I cried during the shows. It was painful to think I'd never see them again. But, THANK GOD, they changed their minds and are still together to this day, stronger than ever with Eric & Tommy bringing them new life. There are so many memories and such joy for me having been a KISS fanatic for the past 37 years (they started in 1973, so they've now been together for 39 years!!). I have every album several times over - on records, 8 track and cassette tapes and CD's. I've purchased every reincarnation of every album and the box sets in the fancy carrying case. I still love my LOVE GUN gun that is from the album that snaps open. I am a true diehard KISS fan and my whole house is decorated with various framed pictures (one of my favorites is a huge picture of Paul Stanley's face made out of little individual pictures of the band), banners, KISS figurines, my KISS lava lamp, my Rock and Roll Over clock, my autographed Paul Stanley guitar, my giant door poster that adorns my bedroom door, my KISS slurpee cups from the 70's my friend gave me, the list goes on and on. I even have a tattoo, like so many other diehard KISS fans, of the band's name KISS on my right shoulder. My Michigan license plate is KISS4VR (KISS FOREVER, of course) and my email address is also my official KISS Membership name that I use to sign in on the KISSONLINE.com website - kissfan1(@chartermi.net. But, the most intimate part of my story is what KISS has done for me every day of my life since I was 13 years old. I had been raised by my grandparents since birth, and my loving grandmother passed away in 1975, when I was 13 years old. I remember the feelings of overwhelming sadness and indescribable pain. When my boyfriend, Brian gave me that KISS ALIVE! album in the Fall of 1975, he gave me what became my salvation. When I listened to KISS, all I felt was joy. When I was sad and missing my grandmother, it made me feel happy and brought me peace. It made life worth living. It may sound extreme to someone else who isn't a KISS fanatic, but those of you who are, know exactly what I am talking about. When I got teased in school growing up, and was made fun of, especially for loving KISS, KISS was always there to bring me up. When I was happy and in a good mood, listening to KISS made it even better. All I have is overwhelming gratitude for the band that loves its fans as much as we love them. THANK YOU KISS for being there - ALWAYS. You truly are the HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD, now and forever. Lori Faley kissfan1@chartermi.net Midland, Michigan
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