LA KISS Managing Partner Talks Football, TV and Working With Rock Stars
by Chris Epting / Ultimate Classic Rock
Brett Bouchy, the managing partner and co-owner of the LA Kiss arena football team, has had a wild first season in Anaheim. The team may have not performed all that well on the field, but Ď4th and Loud,í the AMC reality TV show based on the club called, has had a great season. (The team is currently auctioning autographed helmets, jerseys and bobbleheads from the season to benefit the Veteran Tickets Foundation, which offers free sports tickets to troops, veterans and families of troops killed in action.)
The first season of the show wraps up tonight. and in an exclusive interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Bouchy talks about working with Kiss members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the TV series, the team and its future.
Weíve heard some rumors about what goes down in the last episode. What can you share with us?
Itís basically unlike anything else that has ever been on television. The heart of the episode is a season review, and while I never get to see the footage in advance, I was in the meetings and I will tell you that it was one of the more difficult days of my entire business career. Look, you are dealing with the season that was a failure and while that may be good for a TV show, trust me, itís not that good for the people in the room.
Has that been the thought all along that if the team did really well, it wouldíve made for less tension on TV?
In a sense. We had expectations at the beginning of the season, and our concerns were if we were too good at it, and there were celebrations all the time, that it might get a little bit boring. That said, I wish we had made the playoffs. But it was difficult to lose those games down the stretch at home. We have amazing fans, and I feel like we let them down on the field. So when it comes time to sit down with the coaching staff, it gets really difficult. With this kind of season, you have to question everything. Gene and Paul have even questioned me and I understand that.
What do you think makes the television show so riveting?
I think the fact that nobody has ever [had] the cameras in very real meetings like this before. None of this is scripted or made up, like virtually every other reality show. This is all 100 percent real, which makes the show very unique. It can be very heavy at times, as people will see in the last episode. But itís the authenticity that matters, not just on the field but also on the screen. If we were trying to act, the show would be contrived, and we never wanted that. We set out to do the first true and real reality show. I think we achieved that. But with comes along with that is a lot of pain. Any pro franchise that loses 80 percent of its games, itís going to be ugly. And we are not afraid to show the ugly.
Safe to say that itís going to be a rebuilding year for the team?
Absolutely. Next season, I anticipate that two thirds of our roster will be new.
Did Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley deliver what you hoped for?
When I decided to do this, I sold my interest in my Orlando team that I had for 16 years. That was a big deal for me. This was like giving birth to another child, and one of the issues I had was, How engaged are these guys going to be? They are very busy with lots of projects. My hope was that this would be their No. 2 priority after the band. And I think thatís exactly what they did. Kiss created a band in 1972 that they imagined was something the world had never seen. Thatís our same approach with this football team, and without them it would not have happened. Paul and Gene have far exceeded our expectations in terms of their involvement.
It certainly seems that way in the show.
It is, but it doesnít cover everything. What is really blown me away this year is how Paul became the true creative architect of the team. More than anybody else in this office, he drove the full vision from the logo to the uniform designs to the helmets to the cheerleaders to everything. He has an amazing ability to help build the brand in a short period of time, and I can tell you he takes all of this very seriously. Paul and Gene are most definitely solid teammates in this venture.
How do things look for next season in terms of the television show?
Weíre cautiously optimistic there will be another television season. I will tell you it makes recruiting tough, because not every player wants to be on TV show. So we have a very unique set of challenges. But we embrace them and run with them.