Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rock Journalist Making KISS Tribute Album To Benefit Palliative Care Residence

Mitch Lafon no longer has to go with his mom to interview Rock n’ Roll superstars.

But that wasn’t the case for his first interview, when an 11-year-old Lafon met Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons at the band’s studio in New York City.

“I looked on the back of the album, and saw the name of the band’s management company. I found their number and called, and said I’d like to interview Kiss. The lady who answered said ‘okay’.”

Did the band know he was only 11?

“I’m guessing probably not,” Lafon said.

After more than 30 years as a writer and photographer working for various rock magazines around the world, the Senneville resident wants to give back. And he can’t think of a better way than to go back to where it all started and putting together a Kiss tribute album.

Lafon, who works for Classic Rock Magazine, in the United Kingdom, and Pure Grain Audio out of Toronto, is using his contacts to put together an album to mark Kiss’s 40th anniversary, with funds going to benefit the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care residence.

Lafon was touched by the care his father-in-law received in his dying days from cancer earlier this year, and decided he wanted to give something back to the Hudson facility.

“It was very dignified and humane, and they treated my father-in-law so nicely,” he said.

With an impressive list of artists, including Sass Jordan and her drummer, and Black Sheep frontman Willie Basse, the album is starting to come together. Lafon has recruited the artists, who have taken time to record their contributions, and email back files of their recordings, to be put together by Lafon.

Lafon is raising money to get the album made through Pledge Music, a crowdfunding site for music projects. As of Monday, the project was at 39 per cent of its fundraising goal with a month left in its 60-day campaign.

The bulk of the funds raised will go to charity, as all of the artists are working for free, and the mastering house in Nashville has promised to put together the CD for free. Lafon is also getting a discount to copy the CDs. The biggest expense will be the royalties, as determined by the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd.

This is the sixth time Lafon has put together a tribute album, but the first time he’s doing it for charity.

“Right off the bat, if the Pledge Music drive is successful, the residence will get $5,000,” Lafon said. “Then after that, if we sell 5,000 copies, I’m hoping we can give about $20,000 to the residence.”

But at just 39 per cent of the fundraising goal met, Lafon realizes he may not raise enough money for the album to be made. It will likely come down to the wire.

“Even if the album doesn’t get made, it still raises awareness, so mission accomplished there,” Lafon said.

To contribute to the fundraising drive, or to pre-order the CD, visit