By Jane Kwiatkowski
Dr. Eric Schroeder wanted to be a dentist since he was an 8-year-old boy growing up in Lancaster. He credited his family dentist for planting an interest that Schroeder could not shake. He worked for two years as a dental technician before entering the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, where today Schroeder teaches a course in gum assessment.
Schroeder was 13 when he discovered KISS, the white-faced metal band that formed in the '70s. It didn't take long before he became a passionate fan. Today, Schroeder is 51, and his dental office is a KISS shrine. So is his home behind it.
People Talk: Do they call you Dr. Love?
Eric Schroeder: They call me Dr. Kiss.
PT: Why did you turn your dental practice into a stage?
ES: Because I learned a lesson from the band KISS. They were told many times that their idea for a band was stupid, that it's never going to work and they were wasting their time. Their response was: "Nobody tells us what we should do. We will succeed." Thirty-six years later they're still cranking away.
PT: Do you treat people with your KISS makeup on?
ES: The makeup would be one thing but the full costume? I cannot sit down in a regular chair because the boots are 8 inches high I can't get up out of the chair. Plus I can't wear my dental mask.
PT: How do patients react to your passion for KISS?
ES: People like it. It's a nice way to bond with people because there is no pretension. I am not better than them; I am just a dentist, a normal guy who can fix teeth. I think it's an icebreaker, really. When the younger kids come in, they kind of get a taste of KISS and they get into it - maybe get some albums or watch Gene Simmons "Family Jewels" show.
PT: Have you ever talked to Gene Simmons?
ES: Oh yeah. I met them all. Gene Simmons has my office sign on his Website. I have a stack of tickets 6 inches thick from all the concerts I went to see.
PT: Does your KlSS obsession give the profession a bad name?
ES: Not in any way, shape or form. As a matter of fact, I am applying to be on the forensic dentistry staff at the Sheriff’s Department, I was an anthropology major and it fascinated me.