Not even gonna post my standard lyric sample from the blog title this time because, well, the lyrics to “Shock Me” are beyond pedantic.
But last night served as a shock for me, and here is why…
My first favorite band was KISS. I imagine that was relatively common for any kid born in 1970. They came up with catchy hooks, they had the whole “no one knows what we look like in real life” thing going, and they also had bits. Long tongue? Spit blood? Breathe fire? Platform shoes before they were cool? (Ok – platform shoes were never cool. Unless you were wearing makeup and spikes on your knuckles.)
I had all their LPs (yes, actual records) and I played them non-stop. Especially their first two live albums and Love Gun. My older brothers once rigged me out with a guitar that did not work and made me (though I enjoyed it) perform an air guitar KISS concert in our living room.
If you’ve got about 8 minutes to kill, watch this video:
This band gets an A+ across the board for attire, sound, demeanor (I think they got flashed – by women – a few times), and overall presentation.
I, however, get an F- (that could be pronounced as “eff minus”) for only recognizing six songs in their two hour set. And that floored me.
Again, I lived and breathed KISS as a kid. In first and second grade, I could recall having arguments with my best friend Willie about which band was better. I always stood by KISS while he took the side of some silly band called The Beatles. (Fast forward to 1988. I graduated 9th in my class of almost 400 students. Willie, however, was Valedictorian. As usual, he was right.)
So during the show, “Paul” would banter before most songs. And for the most part, I could predict what song was about to be played. “There is only one kind of drink…” Well that would be Cold Gin. (Just an example.) But once the songs started, and these guys nailed them, I had a hard time remembering them – even Shock Me, which I mentioned earlier.
It came as a huge shock to me that all those songs I listened to over and over as a kid left very little impact on me. I often say that as I got older, I appreciated Led Zeppelin more and more. To this day, I can sing or recognize 90% of their songs. But KISS? My favorite band (BY FAR) as a kid? A band I kind of met in 1978 (Gene Simmons spoke to me and my siblings – without his makeup)?
It makes me wonder. Was it all pomp and no circumstance? To be fair, “Rock and Roll All Night” is one of the best rock anthems ever written. So is “Shout It Out Loud”. So was KISS a good band, marketing geniuses, or both?
I vote for both – even if only 10% or so of their songs have left a lasting impact on me.