KISS Tribute
by by C.J. Cain

KISS Tribute?! Why not "A Final Goodbye KISS," or "The Final KISS Off? C'mon, after more than 25 years, do you really thing there's a play on the group's name that hasn't been done? Besides, this truly is a tribute to the first band I saw live, and who I have seen in every incarnation. I have seen them with opening acts ranging from Detective to Dokken to the Plasmatics. My walls were plastered with KISS photos in high school, and from the first time I heard "Deuce" on my older brother's copy of the first KISS album, I was hooked. I wanted the best, and I got it.

Now I know that a handful of "pure" musicians will argue that KISS has always been "style over substance," and that the musicianship was not there. I cannot address that from the technical standpoint. All I know is, I like what I heard, and yes, I liked it more when I saw it performed. Sure KISS was and is a performance band, and they took the live performance to new heights. The first time I saw them live was just after Alive II was released, with the fully-blown stage show! From a teen's point of view, what could be cooler than getting paid to go on stage dressed as a fantasy character, play rock and play with pyrotechnics, all the while scoping the locals to find a handful of lovelies to personally audition after the show?! I'm no longer a teenager but DAMN, that still sounds cool!

What I respect most about the band - apart from the fact that they can still do the stage show, while it takes me 15 minutes to crack all my joints before I can get out of bed - is that they never appeared at the county fair with just one of their original members, and him being 50 pounds overweight. KISS is going to leave the business the same way they came in, except for the semis full of money and the impending book/movie deals. You always knew what to expect when you went to a KISS show, no matter which tour it was. I've never seen the band when they were having an "off-night" on stage, even with personnel changes.

KISS was, and is, the consummate rock experience. If any of your senses weren't blown away after seeing them, they probably weren't working right to begin with. Thanks guys, you turned me on to the extremes of sight and sound that are only found in hard rock and heavy metal. May you and your loved ones continue to enjoy the many fruits of your labor. I have always been, and always will be, a huge KISS fan, and I will continue to shout it out loud!