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Bach In The Army

Ok, So I finally picked up a copy of Sebastian Bach‘s book “18 and Life on Skid Row“. I’m not finished yet, but I’m diggin’ it so far and felt compelled to write a post about the excitement and thoughts a particular chapter has given me.

While sitting on an aeroplane recently heading home to Central Queensland I must have looked like a complete moron grinning from ear to ear peering into a book that to anyone else on that small rural-link flight to the bush could have assumed is covered with a photo of a topless lady! The reason I was grinning so hard was Bach’s explanations of his obsession with KISS, the same obsession most of my friends have (keep in mind most of my friends are Bach’s age)! Bach states “It cannot be overstated today what it was like to have four masked men marauding around the planet belching blood and fire. Who kept their identities a complete secret. It may not seem like a big deal to you, reading in this day and age. But to a kid my age, in the mid to late 1970s, it was completely fantastic in every way. A complete mind-fuck to not know what these guys actually looked like. In many ways, their commitment to mystery really did make them seem like true-to-life superheroes“.

Over the years my dude and I have talked about this phenomenon and it’s impact on his and his friend’s lives through the 70s and 80s. He lived it – but I had never fully realised the effect that this kind of mystery could have on a whole generation of kids until I read the words above and could hear in my mind Sebastian saying it with the excitement and animation we’ve all come to love from him! I mean, I know KISS are “The Hottest Band In The Land” for a reason but in my lifetime they’ve always existed, something which I think I’ve taken for granted. I’ve always known who they are, what they look like with AND without makeup . As I got older and the internet magically landed in my pocket it answered any other question I may have had about them. Growing up my Mum had explained to me that no one really knew who the band were as they’d cover their faces and it was exciting when they all finally found out. But this “mystery element’ didn’t really exist for me, I just knew they were awesome and ridiculously incredible when it came to marketing! In fact the closest current band I can think of that has anything remotely similar in regards to the mystery KISS created are GHOST– but they’ve got nothin’ on pre-internet sex, drugs and rock n roll fuelled KISS.

It’s not often I meet people who don’t like KISS. My dude was born in 1970 and most of our friends are around a similar age. There isn’t a party or gig that goes by where KISS aren’t cranked on the stereo and people start to talk about who their preferred band member is or their favourite experience where KISS are somehow involved… Surely KISS have the world record for the most “finger bang classics” recorded by one band?! ha!
In reality a huge part of my life has been influenced by these 4 dudes – I have friends with KISS tattoos, huge KISS collections and I can honestly say I believe ALL of my friends own AT LEAST one KISS t-shirt! My twin sister Brittany is a huge KISS fan and I must admit, it’s through her that my love for them (…and the musical Starlight Express) grew. I seriously can’t tell you how many times we watched Detroit Rock City while locked in our boarding school dormitory of a weekend!! On our twin adventures we’ve been lucky enough to meet KISS (and Sebastian!) and have seen them more than a few times. I’ll even say the last time I saw them was the best yet as it felt more like a real gig complete with bum notes. They seem to never age – maturing like a fine wine wrapped in spandex & covered in sugary blood!

I listen to KISS pretty regularly but I must say it’s been a while since I got as genuinely excited about them as I did while reading Bach’s book. I honestly love that after all these years KISS still incite that excitement and wonder in people regardless of age. I feel really lucky to be alive at the same time as them, to witness their adventures that people will no doubt still talk about in 100 years – why do I get the feeling they’ll still be touring?!

Imagination really does fuel the future and what a time to be alive!
Thank you Sebastian for reigniting my excitement and no doubt recruiting future members of the KISS ARMY!

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4 thoughts on “Bach In The Army

  1. A really well written piece Alex. I too came up through those years when KISS was at the height of their popularity. We were living in Sydney in 1980 when they first came to Australia and I was 10. I had all the bubblegum cards (still here somewhere) and was more in love with the imagery at that age than the music. Our neighbour in Sydney at the time bought me a rubber transferred “Love Gun” album cover t-shirt for my 10th or 11th birthday. It was light blue. I remember that much 🙂 …

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