Kiss Kruise: Three Ultimate Kiss Army/Navy Fan Experiences
By Reed Fischer
Photo by Ian Witlen
One young Kiss Army member put it best when he said, "All other music fans are measured against Kiss fans." With about 2,000 diehards aboard the Carnival Destiny -- many of whom never considered taking a cruise previously -- a weekend voyage dubbed the Kiss Kruise proved to be the ultimate test of this fan base's dedication.
It was surprising that pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman was nowhere to be found on the very first Kiss Kruise. Few people -- save official biographers Ken Sharp and David Leaf, and prolific author/bassist Gene Simmons -- have published such passionately written accounts of the band over the years.
Klosterman devotes much of a chapter of his 2005 book Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story to a road trip through Montana in which he excitedly listened to all four "unloved" 1978 Kiss solo records -- each titled after an individual member of the band -- back-to-back. He writes: "I love Kiss because the world makes sense when I think about them." And a large percentage of Kiss Kruisers feel exactly the same way.
When every person filling their plates in a buffet line, each vacationer dipping their toes in the cerulean waters surrounding Half Moon Cay, and, most of all, an entire fist-pumping crowd attending a trio of intimate Kiss shows is a member of the Kiss Army, it can be intimidating -- at first.
The hope is the Kiss Army is not be as hostile to "outsiders" as the face-painted fans of Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos. As a reference: at the 2010 Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, social media starlet Tila Tequila's face was bloodied, and Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man got a flying bottle to the forehead. Not that the Kiss Army was expected to be a violent bunch, but would a reporter and photographer who love the undeniably sappy Kiss song featured in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey be a welcome addition?
Read the rest of the story at the New Times.