KISS Gave Rock N Roll To Me: My Relationship With A Die-Hard KISS Fan

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KISS shirts look great in EVERY situation. This was taken on our 6th month anniversary.

My name is Kinsey and my boyfriend’s favorite band is KISS.

From being a member of the KISS Army, to the numerous concerts he has attended including the KISS Kruise, and to owning oodles of T-shirts, action figures, autographed vinyls, flags, posters, incense diffusers, tattoos: you name it, Andrew can tell you all about it. 

His obsession started with the movie “Detroit Rock City.” Don’t laugh too hard at him. He was young. (After all, we are both only in our early 20s.) From there, it escalated and he never looked back.

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Andrew’s “Rock And Roll Over” tattoo.

I always knew who KISS was and obviously knew “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I was aware of Gene Simmons because his tongue scared the bejeesus out of me. My dad also really liked the band’s early stuff and would sing it from time to time. The makeup used to scare me, because I have never been one for costumes (I still cannot go to Chuck E. Cheese.) I even saw KISS with Motley Crue in the summer of 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama, but they were just another “classic rock radio” band for me and I was pissed they did not play “Calling Dr. Love” because I had just seen it in a Dr. Pepper commercial. They were not a band on my radar.

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This photo was taken a few weeks after we started dating in 2015!

Fast forward to 2015, when I met Andrew. We became fast friends and we immediately discussed our favorite bands: me, Hanson and Pearl Jam; him, KISS and Third Eye Blind. I am not one to make fun of people’s musical taste, because, look at who my favorite bands are, but I remember snickering when he said KISS. “You mean like ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ KISS?” “You mean like ‘MMMBop’ Hanson?” Y’all get the idea. We also had the discussion of tattoos. He already had the “Rock N Roll Over” album cover on his right shoulder. I was planning on getting a Hanson tattoo at some point (which I finally did in 2018).

Andrew and I have been together going on four years now, but it was not until recently that I decided to give KISS a real chance, especially with the recent End of the Road Tour announcement and knowing I would be attending several dates.

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Andrew meeting Vinnie Vincent at a convention in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Mind you, I have always been supportive of his love of the band, so much so that we have travelled to random parts of the country just to meet two former band members: Peter Criss and Vinnie Vincent. I have learned a good bit over the years, but now, it is different.

One night, on the verge of my budding fandom, Andrew and I were at my parent’s house, where the Wi-Fi is notoriously slow. He thought of a video he wanted to show me. It was five minutes long, which took well over ten minutes to fully load. It was KISS playing “Cold Gin” at Budokan Hall in Japan in 1988. Paul Stanley yelling “TOKYO”; the synchronized dance moves; NO MAKEUP!; the high kicks; Gene Simmons’ face bass; all of this was absolutely fascinating to me. For the next hour, Andrew and I would look at each other and blurt out “TOKYO” in our best Stanley impersonations and then we laughed until we were actually crying.

I owe a big thanks to the Sirius XM KISS Army Radio channel. I have had it on in my car since its limited run began and have fallen deeper into this rabbit hole that is KISS.

So far on this journey, I have developed very strong opinions on certain songs. I have declared my favorite as “Shandi.” I have started singing it as “Shandrew” instead, because why would I not? (I am gutted to know they only play it in Australia, so maybe I need to start saving for a flight?) I am also really digging “Heaven’s On Fire,” “Creatures of the Night,” and “Hide Your Heart.” My least favorite (and I am not sorry about it) is “Beth.” I love Peter Criss, but that song just does not do it for me. Plus it is played every 15 minutes on the KISS channel like clockwork. They have 20+ albums to choose from. PLEASE play something else. Like “Baby Driver.”

After listening to the LIVE! @ Whiskey A-Go-Go on SXM, Tommy Thayer is my favorite. His playing is brilliant. It is what Rock music should sound like. He also has the coolest makeup. (Yes, I know it was originally Ace’s makeup. Don’t @ me.)

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Andrew with Peter Criss at a convention in Orlando, Florida!

Perhaps my favorite thing about KISS is how much fun their music makes my life. KISS is one of the many soundtracks to my relationship with Andrew, even with the most mundane things. Need to clean? Let’s listen to my KISS Spotify playlist. Need to go pick up dinner? The KISS channel is on in the car. Want to sing songs about cake and bodybuilding? There are KISS songs for that too.

KISS is now a large part of our communication with each other. Sometime, KISS songs remind me of other songs and it gives Andrew a new perspective, because these songs are not new to him. It enhances both of our minds when we make those connections.

When we belt out some jams, Andrew sings the verses and I sing the choruses. We harmonize pretty well together. We should be on Carpool Karaoke. If “Forever” comes on, y’all just better watch out. It will sound like Michael Bolton up in here (Bolton co-wrote the song.) If “Hide Your Heart” is on, just get ready for the “Ah, ah, ah, ah, hey, hey, hey. Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo” part. We own it. Any Paul song with a high pitch? We will imitate very badly and laugh the whole time.

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A baby Andrew with Paul Stanley on the KISS Kruise in 2012!

Honestly, to make a bad pun, God really did give Rock N Roll to me. It was in the form of an Andrew. We are attending the Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL dates on the End of the Road Tour. Just know when “I Was Made For Loving You” comes on, somewhere in the crowd, I will be doing the dance moves from “Just Dance 3.” I am not a die-hard fan, but I might just be getting there.

My favorite KISS songs (so far)

  • Strutter
  • Nothing to Lose (Very Beatle-esque)
  • Cold Gin
  • Black Diamond (Thanks, Pearl Jam)
  • Let Me Go Rock and Roll
  • She
  • Detroit Rock City
  • King of the Night Time World
  • God of Thunder
  • Shout It Out Loud
  • Do You Love Me?
  • Calling Dr. Love
  • Baby Driver
  • Love Gun
  • I Was Made For Loving You
  • Sure Know Something
  • SHANDI!!!
  • Tomorrow (Reminds me of this Jason Isbell song)
  • Creatures of the Night
  • I Love It Loud
  • I Still Love You
  • Lick It Up
  • All Hell’s Breaking Loose
  • Heaven’s on Fire
  • Tears Are Falling
  • Uh! All Night
  • Crazy Crazy Nights
  • Reason To Live
  • Rise To It
  • Hide Your Heart
  • Forever
  • Unholy
  • God Gave Rock N Roll To You II
  • I Just Wanna
  • Every Time I Look at You
  • Jungle
  • Psycho Circus
  • Dreamin’ (Reminds me of this song & this song.)
  • You Wanted the Best
  • Russian Roulette
  • Say Yeah
  • When Lightning Strikes
  • Hell or Hallelujah
  • Outta This World
  • Let’s Put the X in Sex
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A photo from my first KISS show in 2012! (My photog skills are MUCH better now.)

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