When Peter Criss (original drummer) left and Ace (original guitarist) followed soon after, KISS really spiraled downward. The makeup came off, the mystique was gone, but I still dug the kind of music they were making. The new drummer (RIP Eric Carr) was far better than Peter, but the numerous guitarists they were using couldn't hold a candle to ACE (actually they were technically better but couldn't deliver the goods like ACE). ACE was the reason I ever picked up a guitar. I couldn't play the damn thing (I still can only do a few chords) but I could copy his stage movements to a tee. I stood for hours with my KISS records playing while I did my best ACE moves (my 4 yr old is carrying on the tradition).
So it was after the make up came off that book deals started to be made, dirty laundry began to get aired and the truth emerged..... KISS was not the super hero's I had believed them to be. They didn't hang out with each other like partners and lo and behold they didn't even get along. I equate all of this with like when I first found out there was no Santa Claus. I actually felt like I had lost a part of my youth.
So anyway, years went by and I came to grips that these guys were just regular guys who were in it just for the money. So when they did the MTV unplugged gig and ACE and Peter came out, I knew they would put the makeup back on. What I didn't know was that they would go right back to same egotistical bullshit that split them in the first place (I'm just whining because I didn't act on the multiple chances to see them after the reunion).
Well, the original 4 have since split again, replacements are wearing the makeup to sell the "character" of the original members, old school fans are raising hell and blaming the birthday boy Gene for dragging the good name of KISS all the way to the bank. Peter and ACE rant and rave about Gene, and Gene is so obsessed with money that he has become a merchandising whore.
Oh well, out of all this I've had the pleasure of getting in contact with KISS' newest drummer Eric Singer and former Ace Frehley's Comet guitarist Tod Howarth. Huge thanks to both of these guys for being so nice with advice and email conversations. Check their sites out on my links thingiee.
OK, so all of this just because I wanted to wish a happy birthday to a childhood hero of mine.