“I Stole Your Love”
“Got Love For Sale”
“Tomorrow and Tonight”
“Then She Kissed Me”
This is where everything started for me and my love of hard rock. Up ’til that point, I was a Top 40 kid, as most teens are. This wasn’t an album that I was interested in or would ever have picked out for myself. And in fact, I don’t know why I was ever given it. I remember that I got this for my 15th birthday. I can’t remember which of my friends got it for me, but I never could figure out why they thought I would like this. I remember at the time I’d had some exposure to KISS. “Beth” had been all over the radio the previous year, and I knew the single of “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” from Alive! from 1975. I liked both songs just fine, but the band itself didn’t appeal to me. And of course, like many kids at the time, I saw them perform on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special in 1976; but unlike many kids at the time, I thought they were silly.
When I was presented with Love Gun for my birthday, I kind of set it aside at first. I kept going back to it and looking it over, though. I remember being really intrigued by the cover painting, I thought it was seriously cool looking. It took a while before I listened to it. When I did there weren’t any songs on it that I knew, so I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Slowly, though, I started to get familiar with the tunes, and the drumming in particular.
It was about this time that I was becoming interested in playing drums. I’d taken piano lessons for a while by this point, and had auditioned to play drums in the sixth grade school band. Listening to Love Gun started to really fuel my interest in taking drumming more seriously. I didn’t have a drum set, so I would line up my school text books like drums. I brought some sticks home with me from school and I hit every one of my books, and then arranged them by the tone they made, higher to lower. The first song that I really took to was “Christine Sixteen”, because it was rather pop-ish and because it had an easily-picked-up drum part. I played the song over and over on my drum set-like arrangement of school books, eventually adding other elements to mimic the crash cymbals and the hi-hat.
I started listening to the album more and more and started developing my favorites – “I Stole Your Love”, “Love Gun”, “Almost Human”, etc. I really didn’t understand drumming too well at this point, but I did try to mimic what I heard on my book set. I did eventually get a drum set, and I was honestly rather confused by how to make it go. It took a while to understand the coordination of all the things it could do. But I learned fairly quickly and basically taught myself how to play by studying “Christine Sixteen”.
I quickly became obsessed with KISS – magazines, posters, the earlier albums, demands for Christmas presents, the works. I covered my bedroom with over 200 KISS posters to the point where walls were no longer visible and I’d started displaying them on the ceiling. By that time Alive II had been released; the following year Double Platinum and the Solo Albums were released. I finally had my first opportunity to see them live in 1979, the opening show of the Dynasty tour. By that time I was so heavily sunk in the KISS quicksand there was no way to escape. They’ve been my favorite band for many years and are still one of my favorites. Maybe one day on my blog I will review every KISS album. Lord, that’ll take a long time!