May 08, 2011
by Mathew Klie-Cribb

"When you're nine years old, they're superheroes. No one ever saw them without their makeup, they were a bit of a mystery." - Dale Kemp

Legendary rock band KISS is coming to Fort McMurray July 2, and while some hope the show will attract widespread attention and improve Fort McMurray's image, one of Fort McMurray's biggest KISS fans said it's a chance for him to pass on his obsession to his children.

Supplied photo Dale Kemp, a KISS fan with a huge memorabilia collection, poses with his children Alex Kemp, left, and Dylan Kemp, right. Dale will take his children to see KISS perform live in Fort McMurray July 2 so they can learn what his collection was all about.

Dale Kemp has been a KISS fan since he was nine years old, and he has collected lunch boxes, radios, guitar picks and other memorabilia since then.

His total collection is valued at $80,000.

"I'm going to bring my two boys who are five and nine, who kind of grew up with my KISS collection," said Kemp. " They've never seen them, so it's going to be a pretty special day." Kemp said it's up to the kids to decide whether they like KISS as much as he does, but at least they can say they've been to a concert and seen the spectacle - which includes fire and lights.

Kemp said he was about the same age as his children when he first learned about KISS.

" When you're nine years old, they were superheroes," he said. " No one saw them without their makeup. They were a bit of a mystery."

That's why Kemp is spending the next couple of months trying to build some excitement about the concert for his children and the wider community.

" That's the big thing," he said. " It's kind of getting them excited to go with me and kind of pass the torch."

Kemp built up his collection of KISS memorabilia over more than three decades, and refused to part with it even when he moved to Australia.

" It filled most of a sea can," he said.

Kemp has seen the band perform about 30 times, around the world, and he even met Gene Simmons once when he helped organize to have him headline at the Edmonton Indiy event.

Having such a high-profile concert in Fort McMurray will attract a lot of workers who otherwise wouldn't be able to go to a show in Edmonton.

" If they have good security, and it's a fun night without getting silly, it will definitely put the area up there on the map," said Kemp.

He said Fort McMurray is now on the KISS website, and that helps bring international attention. Kemp also encouraged everyone to see the concert, even if they're not a KISS fan, because it's an elaborate non-stop show with lots of side effects that everyone should experience at least once.

" It's quite a spectacle," he said. " It's not something to be missed."