Sunday, November 19, 2006
There was a time when I thought KISS was the most profound, evil-est band in the world. (I was 13, and "God of Thunder" was truly my idea of "EVIL" and/or profundity.) I had a very musically advanced friend in junior high who turned me on to all sorts of stuff: KISS, Angel, the Rolling Stones' "Some Girls"... When I'd spend the night at her house, we'd do "weird" stuff like stay up late to watch "Midnight Special" and read and discuss "Creem" magazine and KISS lyrics...
Around the same time my parents were divorcing. My dad would have me and my brother for the weekend and would usually take us to the mall for wont of anything better to do. One time he bought me KISS's "Hotter Than Hell" album; when I got it home, my mom was quick to disapprove: There was a naked girl with a superimposed star over her nipple on the cover! Later, though, she relaxed a bit, even going so far as making me a Gene Simmons-face birthday cake one year.
This was all in 1979 or so and the reason I bring it up now is 'cause I just bought KISS's "Double Platinum" last week and am now listening to it cranked up and getting up from the computer every other song or so to pretend like I'm singing whichever song. I always liked Side 1 the best (Strutter, Do You Love Me?, Hard Luck Woman, Calling Dr. Love, Let Me Go Rock n'Roll)... Some stuff you liked when you were a teen you're later embarrassed about, but every single song here is still standing up 25 years later... Detroit Rock City: "I've got to laugh 'cause I know I'm going to die---Why?!" That was profound to me at 14, and listening to it now at 41, it's still profound both lyrically and 'cause the song fucking ROCKS!
"You were distant, now you're nearer, I can feel your face inside the mirror..."
Man...you get older and you become trained in how to talk to "adults" in the "professional" world. And all the life and excitement gets sucked out of you 'cause you're no longer supposed to say how you really feel or think. Repressing your true opinions is now "being professional." Someone that I was in love with (and respected) years ago said about the rigamarole surrounding both college and work: It's there to prove that you can jump through the hoops. I'd never thought about it like that, as a proving point. I'd always been so utterly disdainful of the falsity of it. Until I realized that I was going to be making $10 an hour and living in shitty one-bedroom apartments in shitty parts of town for the rest of my life unless I made an effort to play the game... Sounds phony of me, but in reality, living in a shitty apartment (where I had to hear my neighbors fuck and watch TV and listen to their stereo) and making $8 an hour was a damn impetus for quitting my goofing around and starting to jump through said hoops so I could get the fuck away from those loud, obnoxious people and my inability-to-buy-any-damn-thing life.
Still...KISS matters. Not today's "reality show Gene," and certainly not today's "plastic surgery Paul." Just the fact that their MUSIC still stands up and gets me pumped up after over 25 years.