Studio Night

Give us a KISS, but keep your shirt on

On the heels of a comment from a previous entry I was reminded of my tenure in the KISS Army.

At age 10.

It was a heady time.  Songs like “Hotter Than Hell” and “Strutter” were redefining my ideas of lots of things.  Girls.  Music.  Rocking out.  Did I mention girls?

I was so into the whole extravaganza that at Halloween that year I decided to dress up as my favorite KISS member: Gene Simmons.  My grandmother, who was a phenomenal seamstress, put together a wicked cool costume, complete with shiny wrist guards, the bat-wing cape, giant shiny shin guards, and the shiny… codpiece, I guess.  Weird for a ten-year-old to wear a shiny codpiece, but that shows you how happily oblivious I was.


I added a few touches of my own: I made the chest chains out of tin foil that I crushed into chain links.  I made a guitar out of oak tag.  (WTF is oak tag?  This.)

The finishing touch was, of course, the makeup.  A friend of Mom’s named Mary Lou came over and did the makeup.  Perfectly.  It was insanely good.  I remember the greasepaint made my skin feel funny – like I was sweating cold water.  I didn’t care.  I looked fscking AWESOME!

When it came time to go to school, I was looking forward to emulating my rock and roll hero Gene by going bare-chested under the costume.  For some unknown reason Mom put the kibosh on that.  I remember being really upset, near tantrum-level upset.  In the end I had to compromise.

I wore a long-sleeved beige shirt under the costume to create the illusion of bare-chestedness.


To this day, I still refuse to wear long-sleeved beige T-shirts.  Thanks, Mom.