Posted by Chris Alexander
As many Fango readers know already, your editor is indeed a card-carrying member of the Kiss army (literally; the card is in my wallet, in front of my driver’s license). I have been a serious fan since I was a little boy, borrowing Kiss records from the library, eventually saving up my allowance to get my first slab of vinyl—which was, oddly, THE ELDER (because of this, I still have warm ties to that controversial, commercially DOA 1981 rock opera…in fact, it might be my favorite in the catalog).
I bought as much Kiss krap as I could find—I had posters, flags, hats, shirts. I would draw pictures of Gene Simmons (as I’ve said before, especially in the cover feature in FANGORIA #298, Simmons’ Demon persona was my first monster) and wished I was Paul Stanley. I loved the mythical otherworldliness of the band—the visual aesthetics which were part garish, full-color, sexed-up Hammer horror movie and part Barnum & Bailey circus. I loved the music, which was screechy, fast, dirty, sometimes epic (THE ELDER, again), anthemic and full of a kind of lunatic energy. Coupled with a love of monsters, comic books and science fiction, this love for Kiss would put me on the path—for better or worse—that I’m on today, and—especially considering I’ve since passed all this passion on to my kids—I cannot see this enthusiasm ever ebbing.
So perhaps I’m biased when reporting on a Kiss concert. Blinded a bit by love. But who cares? Here I sit in a hotel room in Ontario’s Casino Rama, a monolithic entertainment center two hours outside of Toronto in the semi-rural community of Orillia, the day after watching Gene and Paul and succeeding Catman Eric Singer and Spaceman Tommy Thayer blow shit up. The Rama stop is part of Kiss’ relatively brief “Lost Cities” tour, which sees the band hitting off-the-beaten-path arenas across Canada and the U.S. for what is, in essence, likely a warmup for a bigger tour that will launch later in support of their impending new studio album, a follow-up to 2009’s ultrasuccessful SONIC BOOM.