Author Topic: From Monsters To Kiss  (Read 1947 times)

Toy Ranch

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From Monsters To Kiss
« on: December 30, 2007, 10:39:47 PM »
Terry has talked about this quite a few times and so have other members.  I picked up my first Kiss figure the other day, not the old Mego one, but a McFarlane toy from a few years ago...  which defined the era for me...  I liked it mostly because this one includes the bass he played at that time.  All of the other Kiss figures I've seen are either small action figures or don't have instruments.  This is a 12" figure with the bass, so that really attracted me and I bought the first Kiss toy I've ever owned.



but this thread isn't about that toy, it's about what I figured out about my journey from monsters to Kiss and rock n roll. 

I've told this story before, but it's relevant to this thread...  I found FM when I was almost 5 years old.  We were at Disneyland and the motel lobby had a newsstand and on that newsstand was Famous Monsters issue 45, dated 7/67.  I had some money saved up for the trip and before my parents knew what was happening I bought my first FM.  They were not too pleased, not because it was a monster magazine, they were amazingly tolerant of that, just that they thought I was spending money too freely... but when I didn't want to go to Disneyland so I could read the magazine, they realized it was more important to me than they thought before.  I had to leave the magazine behind anyway, and was none too happy about it, but Disneyland proved to be a reasonable diversion from getting back to it, especially when I saw the monster masks in the magic shop!  I had already become a monster kid but FM sealed the deal with me, just as I'm sure it did with most other monster kids from that period. 

Some time later, I subscribed to FM and fell further into monsterkid fever...  but this thread isn't so much about that.

My subscription to Famous Monsters ran out with the 12/74 issue 112.  That's the last copy that came to my mailbox.  I picked a few up after that, but for the most part my monthly association with monsters ended there.  I was 12 years old and I was just starting to really become interested in music.  That doesn't mean I stopped watching monster movies and whatnot, but it was the first real changing of the guard moment.  Some time in 1975, I bought a rock magazine called Rock Scene.  Just like FM introduced me to a whole world of monsters beyond the movies I had seen on local TV, the Rock Scene magazine was my window into music.  It had pictures of Kiss, in full makeup, walking around downtown New York City in business suits (like they were wearing on the cover of Dressed to Kill).  Well, that sold me.  I hunted down a copy of their latest album, which was Dressed to Kill, and became a Kiss fan right then, in early 1975.  In August of that year, they played an auditorium at a small local college, and I was able to persuade a friend of my parents' to take me to the show, provided I paid for the tickets.  It wasn't my first concert, but it was one of the first (second maybe?), and Kiss were awesome!  I never had the Kiss Mego figures or anything, that didn't really interest me at that point in my life.  My rock heroes were The Who, Kiss, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper at that point.  The more I got into rock, the less time I had for monsters...  and that continued for many years....  until things came full circle years later.  I never gave up on monsters, and bought the Remco mini monsters and playcase when they came out and then displayed them, along with other toys and such, for most all of my life, but my attention went to music and mostly to music from about 1975 to 1988, when I started actively collecting toys.

Who else has a "Monsters to Kiss" story to share? 


roddmatsui

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2007, 10:53:14 PM »
That's a great story...I remember seeing a lot of monster stuff at Disneyland in the early 70's...a lot of Don Post masks, and those wonderful glow in the dark plaster skulls.  The magic store had a whole assortment of practical jokes, vampire fangs, skin head wigs, all sorts of things.  Gradually this sort of thing started to vanish, but they were very hip to the monster thing back in the day.

poseablemonster

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2007, 11:17:54 PM »
Oh, yeah.  I was a monster freak because of the local "Creature Feature" and hand-me-down monster mags and trading cards from my older uncles.  So, I was way into mego monsters and AHI monsters as my favorite playthings by around 1975 when I was 6 - it probably started when I was much younger, though.  Anyway, my best pal in the neighborhood was a few years older than me and he exposed me to Kiss.  Same stuff - he gave me clippings out of his magazines and I went to his house daily to get my Kiss fix.  I remember very distinctly when Kiss Alive came out, he got it and it was absolutely the greatest thing that I had ever heard.  I was sold.  But, my parents weren't.  My folks were worried that I was hanging around with older kids and I remember them discouraging the whole Kiss thing.  I still asked for Kiss stuff, but got none.  In 1977 (I think) I made a desperate pitch for Alive II - which I thought was even better than Alive - and at that point Kiss was officially banned.  I was forbidden to go to my friend's house, and was not allowed to listen to Kiss.  I can still remember air guitar-ing to "Christine Sixteen" and having the time of my life.  It was a great time that was taken away too soon. 

Toy Ranch

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2007, 11:43:02 PM »
Hahaha, you know Andy...  my Mom got me into Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.  I was really into Elton John (Tumbleweed Connection/Madman Across The Water era), the Beatles, and stuff like that.   My mother heard something at church about Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper and came and told me that under no circumstances was I to ever listen to either of them.  30 minutes later I was riding my bike to the Woolworth store, buying Killer and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.  If I pulled my bottom dresser drawer all the way out, there was a cavity in the bottom where I could hide contraband music that I listened to on headphones.

THANKS MOM!  :D

Dr.Terror

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 12:11:46 AM »
For me it was KISS then monsters.  One of my first musical memories was hearing my Dad put Alive on the stereo.  I was terrified by the cover pic. Especially Gene.  I even use to have a tape of myself singing "Hotter Than Hell" when I was just starting to talk.  KISS got driven into my brain at a very young age because not only did my Dad like them, but so did my older brother.

They used to play Destroyer, Alive 2 pt2 and Love Gun  the entire drive down to and from Wildwood.    My Mom even ordered me a set of the T-shirts from the solo albums.   I have a pic somewhere with my brother an myself playing yardstick guitars in a footie PJs wearing the collegeville masks. One of my first Halloweens was a Gene.  My parents were pretty hip and cool about it.   I remember literally going nuts and jumping on a table at Pizza Hut when I got the Gene Mego. My brother had gotten Peter the year before.  My aunt gave me Paul (!2" megos had broken knees even in the 70's)  And finally I found Ace a year or 2 later all the way in the back of Kiddie World behind discounted Paul and Genes after I got my first fillings at the dentist.  The first album I ever bought myself at record shop was "Unmasked" on cassette.   Around this time i was infatuated with Dracula because of Castle Dracula in Wildwood..my mom bought me Remcos..the rest is history. 

My first concert was KISS.  My Mom surprised me with tickets when I was in second grade. This was the LIU tour. I didn't even know they took their make-up off. 

Thanks Mom, your the best.

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The Phantom Creep

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2007, 12:36:38 AM »
The first record I ever bought with my own money was KISS ALIVE II. I still remember getting it in the record department at the local K-Mart. Man I listened to that thing non-stop for I don't know how long. Of course Gene as the Demon was the coolest thing ever. That photo from ALIVE II of him in the blue light, his chin covered in blood was just fascinating to me. I still have that album. That K-Mart still sits closed about 4 miles from my house. It's been closed for years. By the time I started going to concerts they were out of makeup so I didn't care about them.

Today I own the KISS pinball machine and a boxed set of the 12" figures. I'd kinda like to have that KISS transistor radio from back then.
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Dr.Terror

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2007, 12:52:56 AM »
One of my biggest regrets was selling my KISS pinball..for what I paid for it..$500  :P  I should have kept the German backglass too. >:(  In fact there is a bunch of stuff I should have kept.
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darkmonkeygod

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2007, 03:28:35 AM »
The first record I ever bought with my own money was KISS ALIVE II.

This.  Except mine was the double 8-track, not vinyl.  And I too still have it!  Got Love Gun at the same time.  Shawn, that's funny that I did not know that about you.  When are you gonna set the pinball machine up at the house?
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The Phantom Creep

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2007, 04:56:59 AM »
As soon as I get the basement cleared out. You know, any day now.  :P
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darkmonkeygod

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 06:30:21 AM »
Yeah, just like I'm ALMOST done with the monster cases. Almost.  2008 gonna be the year.  Actually, because of this group, I think it really will be, funny enough.
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roddmatsui

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2007, 12:22:56 PM »
I used to have this KISS comic book...so many things get thrown out, you know the story...but this was in 1977 or 78, the comic book that had KISS blood mixed into the ink (a brilliant bit of publicity gimmickry).  Anyway, it's been gone for many years.  And recently I saw a pristine copy selling for around $400.  Ahhh, it just surprises me.  I think twice about selling things now, I do more research before something leaves.

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2007, 02:36:00 PM »
I think many of us had the same journey.  I was influenced by Shock Theater when I was a wee lad and then my uncle gave me KISS Alive II on 8track.  That was truly a life changing event to my mom's dismay I might add!  I was already heavy into comics (they were 20cents at the time!) and KISS, monsters, comics and megos were my life.  I've always preferred the "lower tier of comics" meaning I didn't go for Superman and Spiderman.  For me is was Ghost Rider, Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night and Kamandi. 

On a side note, those things were doubly special to me as my mom and dad were in the middle of a divorce and these things were a means of escape for me, if only for a little while.

Up until the last time KISS came around it was like going back in time at the concert.  Now, I think they need to hang it up or at the very least, make some new music.

Maybe they could take some of the ink their blood was mixed with to produce the comic special and clone a younger version of the band.............

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NekroDave

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2008, 01:10:54 PM »
My older brothers were into KISS from as early as I can remember so of course I followed in their footsteps. KISS ALIVE II was far and away my favorite album and remember listening to it on 8-track in the car all the time (along with Steve Miller and The Cars). I used to love Ace Frehley and one of the many ways my oldest brother used to torment me was to pull the 8-track out of the player to catch me singing along with "Shock Me" and make fun of me. (I'm convinced it is this that is the root of all my problems in life, everything from not being able to project my voice to being withdrawn in social settings. ALL HIS FAULT!)  He would also mock me mercilessly because I used to cry when "Beth" came on. Though I've been told that it's a terrible movie, at that age, I love "Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park". Never got to see them live (I don't often go to concerts), but I did catch Ace many years later in support of Iron Maiden. Somewhere there exists a photo of me, roughly age three, wearing my moms boots and a wig, playing one of those little toy guitars and sticking my tongue out, impersonating Gene. Sadly, the picture seems to have disappeared..

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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2008, 06:18:53 PM »
I grew up with Star Trek, Space:1999 and Monster movies and around late 1978 or early 1979 I thought I was outgrowing them. I started to turn to the cool things, like Disco. :D

It seems that even in popular music, I gravitated to the theatrical. First big thing for me was The Village People.

Then, at school there was this fair, or festival, I can't remember what it was all about. Anyway, there was this booth that was putting KISS makeup on people. KISS? What is KISS? So, I looked at the unauthorized paperback book about KISS that they were using as a guide to put makeup on people. In the book I saw guys in the band dressed up like a spaceman, a monster, a tiger (it's how I thought of catman Peter when I first saw him) and (trying to figure out Paul) a... a... Star.

Almost automatically, I felt a little licence to still like Sci-fi and monsters (just do it in a more Rock and Roll way). Got the albums, loved the music. Got the dolls, the colorforms, the lunch box, got whatever I could get my hands on. I also got 16 Magazine which covered KISS a lot. It was 16 Magazine where I first learned Peter was leaving the band. And I also got honerable mention in a contest to design KISS costumes in 16 magazine. The one I did was for Gene and was inspired by the alien in Alien.

And then, my sister (I inducted my little sisters into likeing KISS) entered a contest to win a phone call from post KISS Peter Criss (promoting his solo album Out of Control) and won. My young sister was so shy that I ended up doing most of the talking to Peter on the phone. All I remember about it is that Peter seemed nice and I enjoyed talking to him.

But before all that, KISS (with Peter) did come to town for thier Dynasty tour and the folks thought I was too young to go. I was bitterly disapointed. Sometime after the concert I called a radio station to request KISS and told the DJ how disapointed I was that I didn't get to the concert. The DJ then proceeds to say how the band isn't really good and how Ace Frehley is the only true musician. I can't believe a DJ is discouraging me from liking KISS.

But it was a sample of the future where in the early 80's I continued to love KISS and most of my peers did not.

I finally got to see KISS in the Creatures of The Night tour (with the surprise of Vinnie Vincent taking Ace Frehley's place) and loved it. I also saw them a lot in thier non makeup years but always wished I got to know KISS beggining in 1975 or 6, instead of 1979.

But come 1997 that didn't seem to matter anymore since they got the whole lineup back together and in makeup. From 1997 to 2000 I got to see them 4 times and it finally seemed I was seeing the KISS I just missed in the 1970's

KISS, Sci-fi and Monster movies go together like peas, carrots and mashed potatoes as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: From Monsters To Kiss
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2008, 10:46:44 PM »
I liked all that Kiss stuff, but I was blown away by Kiss Dynasty.  When this came out it yielded what I think was their biggest hit ("I Was Made For Lovin' You") but many people were vocal about how wrong it was for Kiss to do a disco album.  It just sounded like their strongest work to me.  The songs are all at least decent and there are a few real gems.  Well, I like it.  And I like disco too.  When I think of Kiss Dynasty, I think of Phantasm.  It all resonates of that time period.  Pure fun.
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