7 Songs That Changed My Life – Day 3: Let There Be Rock

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

Day #3

KISS – STRUTTER

I’d been staring at it for weeks, that first KISS record. I didn’t know anything about them, hadn’t heard a note or any description of the music. But I came back and looked at it every week in the department store record bin…because it was COOL, and a little bit scary. I finally got it and sat in front of our record player listening to it over and over when no one was home, feeling like part of a secret society when Paul sang, “I know a thing or two about her….”

Not much over a year later, they had already released two more studio albums, and their first live album was hot on the shelves when they announced a concert appearance in Montgomery. Excited by the news, I raced home to ask my mother if I could go (well, I was 13 you know, and it’s kind of what you had to do). She was sitting at the dinner table chatting with a friend when I came in with my request, and she asked what the music was like.

“KISS? They’re acid rock,” her friend said.

“What’s acid rock?” my mom asked.

“It’s music that only sounds good if you’re on acid,” the friend replied.

Thanks, lady. But I was allowed to go to the show anyway after a little innocent convincing, and it was awesome! The blood and the tongue and the fire and the majesty of it all! And remember – this was just a basic stage set up, before the large multi-level extravaganzas they would shortly put on. Just incredible.

The very next day I bought the double-album ‘KISS Alive!’ and it was amazing too, but I had a problem with it. The entire record was EXACTLY the same as the concert I’d seen the night before – the same songs in the same order…even the between song banter was exactly the same, with only the name of the city being greeted changed. I felt a little bit ripped off.

I still liked KISS okay after that, but my interest waned and I never bought any more of their albums and never saw them again live. I certainly don’t mean to disparage them in any way here, but it did open my eyes to what I wanted from a band – or rather what I didn’t want – and that contributed to defining the types of music and artists I would seek out going forward.

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