My son loves the rock band KISS. He comes by his love naturally – his father has loved KISS since he was a child. Parker has been listening to KISS roughly for his whole life. When I was a child, I was not allowed to listen to the band. My mom condemned them as evil, and quite frankly, I was terrified of the faces I saw on my uncle’s album covers.
In dating and getting to know Dave, there was no alternative but for me to get to know KISS too. In addition to watching videos of concert footage and listening to the entire catalog of their songs, I watched numerous interviews of the members of the band. The makeup they wore as part of their stage show became much less frightening as I got to know the men behind the band.
Gene Simmons – in makeup and on stage – is a fire-breathing, blood-spitting demon. In real life, he is a former school teacher with a degree in English. Paul Stanley is an artist and has appeared on stage in Phantom of the Opera. Both men are dedicated family men and fathers, despite the image they may have in the media.
Most importantly, neither of these men use drugs or alcohol (as their former band members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss did). Simmons refuses even to touch a drop of alcohol and both men live healthy lifestyles and make the kinds of choices we encourage our kids to make.
On stage, KISS sings about a lot of things that other rock and roll bands sing about, particularly sex and rock & roll. But I
could not in my life find better role models for my son.
However, at their concerts, they offered free general admission seats for kids. And for each paid ticket, the band donated a dollar to the Wounded Warrior fund – which ended up being over $400,000 by the end of their U.S. tour. What a way to send the message that giving back is a good thing – even for rock stars!
Thanks, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, for continuing to rock long after most predicted you would be done – and thanks for making it so easy for me to let my kids enjoy your music! I’m proud that you are role models for my son to emulate as he dreams of being a rock star!