Pretty soon, we will have Kisstory along with Elected Babies on stage, to perform at the very first Sleazenation tribute night in Roeselare. Performing an acoustic set, with benefits going to the Heart for Heather foundation, we hope to see a big turn-out for what promises to be a spectacular showcase. To celebrate this, we sat down with Kisstory...
1. How did the idea of a Kiss cover band take form?
I was in Los Angeles to see the first show of the Psycho Circus show of KISS on Halloween at Dodger Stadium. During those Halloween-days, there were also different attractions at the Universal theme park. One of them was a KISS Tribute band "Black Diamond" performing there. When I saw thos guys play, I knew I had to do that too. That was the first time I saw a tribute band. Back in Belgium I told some friends about "Black Diamond" and soon we started our own band "KISStory"...
2. How long did it take for you to form the band? Was it hard to find members who were willing to take on the Kiss persona?
Within a few weeks we had a drummer and both guitarplayers. We knew someone to do the bass parts, but that guy just started to have succes with his other band and didn't have time to come down and play with us. So we called some friends and finally we found a bassplayer who unfortunately called it a day after a year playing in the band... Suddenly out of nowhere came our current bassplayer
3. Where did the idea for a fifth member come from, how did you work that out?
As we were rehearsing in the beginning, it was hard to play the guitarparts and sing at the same time. It just didn't work out well... And then, one day, one of my friends came along to see what we were doing and thought "yeah right..." until we started playing... he was really surprised. Without asking he grabbed for the microphonbe by exitement and started singing just like that... he was really impressed and kept coming to rehearsals week afer week after week...
Before we really knew he had become part of the band...
4. Which is your favourite Kiss-era, for listening as well as playing?
I really prefer the classic KISS. That is from the first album until "The Elder". At the time I was kind of upset with KISS taking off the make-up... also the musical style had changed.. and my favorite band couldn't stand up with bands like Metallica and Slayer that very fast were becoming popular at the time.. Years later I rediscovered that KISS-era that I liked less at the time... but for me, I like the Classic KISS as I grew up upon as an 8-year old... Also their latest album is killer and tends a lot to the Classic era.
5. Are you living as large as Kiss does, in other words: what stories are worth sharing with the world?
We try to do so :) We are going to put on a show that most bands would never do... In a way, just as KISS says, we want to be the band we didn't see onstage. Lots of organisers think of us like "oh yeah, it is just another tribute band.." , "It is Belgian, it can't be good..", till they see our truck pulling up the driveway.. then they go like "holy shit, must all those props go onstage?" and afterwards they still can't believe what we did..
The best compliments still come from Bill Aucoin (RIP). He was the former KISS-manager, who discovered KISS and propelled them to stardom. We had invited him to our first KISS-Expo. He was really nice and kind... but still he didn't believe in the 5-man concept... After the show, he was really impressed! He told us he had never seen a Tribute band as crazy as us with the whole stage-setup and that from the first note, he didn't have a problem with us being a five-man band... That was great to hear from that guy!
6. How large can you expect a Kisstory show to be, given that you have all the room and possibilities you want?
I think that we would try to even more pyro and use lifting risers to put us onstage....A videowall like KISS is using now is also nice... but what I really would like to do is a rendition of "Alive 4 - The Symphony" with a 60-piece classical orchestra playing KISS-songs... I was allready talking to people to make all this possible... but this would cost us about 15.000 Euro... that is just way out of our league...
7. How large would you want it to be? Is there a limit to how far you want to go, or do you want to outclass Kiss themselves?
If everything would be possible and there were no logistic problems like getting days off from work, and spending time with the family, or money-issues.. I would like to go on tour and play everywhere where there's a stage big enough to put a show on. We would never try to outclass KISS as they are role-models for us... Allthough there have been times that I thought "well if I was their stagedesigner, I would have done things different instead of recycling the old props...." But right now with the latest album and tour I am really happy that they re-invented themselves...
8. Do you aspire to reach the level of fame Action In DC reached, or is that not part of your music motivation?
That would be very nice. But we must face it: ACDC-music is way more popular than KISS-music. Even people who don't know ACDC start to move to the music when they hear it play. With KISS, either you like it or you hate it... Our main motivation is that we can play the music that we like. And it is great when some kids come and tell you that they bought a guitar and started learning it just because they saw our kick-ass show. When we can inspire someone, that is just great... and it doesn't matter if we play for a crowd of 200 or 2000... we are having fun and that is what matters
9. Are you aware of any more Kiss cover bands, and who's your greatest competition if you do?
There are a lot of KISS-tributebands...
there are some in Germany, Holland, France.. there a about a hundred KISS-tributes in the States. I don't see this a competition. I see this as all kinds of fans celebrating KISS-music and the KISS-philosophy as a whole... Kiss is more than a band or a trade... it is a life-style. We are friends with KISS-Forever band as well as KISS on the rocks... and we all have the goal.. to honour KISS and show how the big boys do it...
10. As a seasoned tribute band, which cover band, national or international, do you recommend us to go watch?
I had a really good time when I saw ACDshe. that was an all female ACDCtribute band from San Fransisco. The music was not really perfect as they had a new "angnes young" in the band.. but the way they took the stage and the way they were giving themselves 200% really made the place explode... Sometimes I had the feeling when I saw "Action in DC" that they were on automatic pilot... These girls gave the best they had... unbelievable!
11. Do you feel obliged to follow the playlist of the original band, meaning that you may have to play songs that you don't care that much for?
Because the Classic KISS-era is our favorite one, we started out playing songs from Alive! and Alive II. But more and more ther are newer songs getting into the setlist.. It pretty much depends where we play.. if it is a festival or a KISS expo.. on a festival you have to play the songs everyone knows..
12. Is there a line you draw between tribute and copy? If so, where is it?
To me if you bring a real show with the same stagesetup and stageprops, and the music is right on, then I call it a tribute band. I have seen bands doing an impersonation of Queen or whatever, giving the music their own twist, or when their show don't remind you of the real thing.. then I call it a copy.. That doesn't make it bad thing.. but that is what I would rather see playing in a bar or club or something, and not on a festival
13. Why did you get behind the "Heart for Heather" initiative and how did you learn about it?
I have this friend "Cindy Frey", an international rock-photographer. She is a very talented photographer and has a love for dark-art, horror and stuff like that. She also likes to work with kids and kids are crazy about her..
She had just finished a project "Live Evil II: come and play with us". These were all photos and artwork of children in creepy places or situations. Heather (and her sister) are one of the models of the Live-evil shoot...
The way she works with kids is awesome and I am really impressed by what she does.
Some time ago there was this "music for life"-action going on to raise money for homeless children or something like that, which was a media circus on its own. The idea might be good, still I have a problem that I don't know where my money is going to when I want do donate something to it.
At the same time, Cindy started this charity-project to raise some money for Heather. This is a 4-year old child, with a tumor in her head. She has special needs and it is all very expensive... Heather means a lot to Cindy, and by helping this charity-project & Cindy, we know where our money is going to, and that we can really make a difference for someone.
Cindy has a big heart and I thought that this was an awesome opportunity for us to help Cindy raising money for this little kid. At the same time I have seen that also other photographers and artist contributed their help to raise money for Heather. I am glad we are part of all that.
14. All that's left for us to say, is good luck on the show and for the rest of your career!
Last Updated (Monday, 24 January 2011 21:02)