Monday, January 6, 2014

Giving Credit Where Credit It Due | Greg Little/Standard Journal

I was sitting up fairly late on New Year’s Day channel surfing and came across a concert on Axis TV.

It was a very recent Kiss concert from Stockholm, Sweden.

That’s right, Kiss.

I have had a long-standing admiration for Kiss. There are many reasons, not the least of which is the fact I had the opportunity many moons ago to interview Gene Simmons. Even though it was a telephone interview, I was blown away by Simmons — especially his intelligence.

You see, he was once a school teacher in New York City, making no money and going nowhere. So he gathered together a few of his buddies and they decided they were going to do something different. They weren’t just going to play rock and roll music, they were going to paint their faces, do shows filled with pyrotechnics, blood and all kinds of crazy stuff, all the while playing music.

They changed the world of rock and roll.

It has always fascinated me how this one band turned the run-of-the-mill stage show into what is now the norm — even in country music.

In fact, it was Garth Brooks who was so fascinated with Kiss that he consulted with them and turned his ordinary show into what set the standard for almost all country music shows. Brooks performed with Kiss on The Tonight Show, which broke even more ground. I am convinced that one performance is what inspired the very popular “Crossroads” series which features rock and country artists.

Another thing about Kiss has to do with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Granted, hall of fames are generally pretty lame and are based on politics. Just look at the professional sports halls of fame and you can understand how that works.

But I have always argued that Kiss should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Certainly, their musical talents were suspect in the beginning, but what they did on stage made up for any of those deficiencies. (Today, their musical talent has improved greatly and that just adds to the show.)

Yet the hall snubbed them for years and years — until now.

Kiss is finally going to be inducted in 2014. I will be interested to see how the boys in the band handle that induction ceremony. I predict it will be in typical Kiss fashion.

Many people may disagree with me about Kiss, but I am going to stick to my “Love Gun” on this one.

I have been to four Kiss concerts in my life and each one of them has been fantastic. The show is something to see and it keeps you entertained the entire time.

Like many of those 70s and 80s bands, they are still performing their hits from back then, but that doesn’t stop huge crowds from showing up at their current shows. Even though Gene and Paul are getting up there in age, they continue to wear those ridiculous outfits, Gene continues to show off his tongue (blood and all) and Paul still gets the crowds going between and during songs.

Sure, the original lead player and drummer are not there anymore, but that doesn’t seem to matter. It certainly doesn’t to the audience.

When they break into “Detroit Rock City,” or even the love song, “Beth,” everyone goes wild.

And that’s what a good rock band is all about. It’s easy to make music inside of a studio, but turning that music into a live show is another ballgame.

Kiss can pull it off like no other band on the planet.

Their mantra has always been, “You wanted the best, you got the best.”

In my estimation, Kiss is one of the best, at least when it comes to the band’s impact on rock music presentation — and rock and roll music in general.

I may be getting older, but I can assure you if a Kiss show comes to this area, I’ll be there taking in all of the fun. I will “Rock and Roll all Nite” with those boys.

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