March 16, 2006

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KISS Army unites
Local KISS fan plans to storm the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
By Richie Victorino  rvictorino@hippopress.com

One of David Miller’s ultimate goals is to be buried in a KISS casket.

That might seem dark to some, but for Miller it’s the finishing touch on a life devoted to the Detroit-based band. Miller is more than a KISS fan; he’s a soldier in the famed KISS Army. This army officially died away with the ‘70s, but don’t tell that to Miller. He has committed himself to the frontlines of that army ever since buying KISSs Dressed to Kill album in 1975.

“People say the KISS Army is dead,” Miller said. “But it’s not. It’s alive and well.”

Every room in Miller’s home is a mini-shrine to KISS. His right arm is permanently branded with the band name. Every Halloween, Miller, who is a drummer, dresses as original KISS drummer Peter Criss (a.k.a. The Catman). But his favorite KISS man is Ace Frehley.

Miller’s obsession has spread to his wife, Kellie, who was always a KISS fan, but never in the way that her husband is. But she’s learning, quickly.

Any true KISS fan holds the same angst toward the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Millers do. KISS continues to be ignored by the hall of fame, much to the astonishment of KISS fans from here to Australia. Any nation that feels they are being treated unjustly will eventually rise up and take action; that’s exactly what the KISS Army, including the Millers, plans to do this summer. They plan on storming the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (at a KISS Army march) on Aug. 5, arming themselves with posters, KISS tribute bands, and fed-up soldiers demanding that their beloved rock gods be equaled to the likes of U2 and The Pretenders (both 2005 inductees).

“If any band deserves to be there, it’s KISS,” Miller said.

Miller is one of the organizers for the event. He can rattle off a list of reasons why KISS deserves the honor – no, literally, he has a list he’s willing to share: KISS has been America’s #1 gold-record award winning group of all time, according to the Record Industry Association of America; KISS was selected to perform at the 2002 Winter Olympics to represent the spirit of American rock ‘n’ roll; KISS has discovered and nurtured bands such as Van Halen and Metallica.

Why no KISSing in the hall?
According to Miller, the hall of fame panel has it out for KISS.
“Dave Marsh [Rock historian on the hall’s panel] stated himself that KISS would never enter the hall as long as he was on the board,” Miller said.
Miller, and the rest of the KISS Army, wants to change the way inductees are nominated. They hope that fans will have more influence on inductees, and not just a group of elitists.
“The hall of fame fails to realize that without the fans, there would be no bands and no hall of fame, period,” Miller said.

The KISS Army returns to its roots
“Do you know how the KISS Army was formed?” Miller asked me, with a sly smile on his face. I am a KISS fan, or should I say, once was a KISS fan. Miller and I trade off fun facts with each other like listing every guitarist, in order, that KISS has had; we both know the band used to be called Wicked Lester. But this question stumps me. Miller, of course, is burning to let me know how the army was formed.
In 1975, a 19-year-old KISS fan, Billy Starkey, called up a local radio station in Terra Haute, Ind., requesting KISS be played. The station said no. Starkey decided he’d show the station how serious he wanted KISS on the airwaves; he and fellow fans stormed the station, demanding KISS be played.
Thirty-one years later, the KISS Army finds themselves in a similar situation; they must unite as a force to be reckoned with; they must fight to earn respect for four guys, who, until 1983, made wearing makeup seem like the coolest thing in the world. Starkey, the founder of the army, will be at the August KISS Army march.
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Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

Where?
The KISS Army (including members from Australia, Canada and all over the United States) is uniting for a march/peaceful protest at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug. 5, 2006. Their goal: respect for KISS, and the induction of the band into the hall of fame.

Several KISS tribute bands will be at the march. Miller hopes to bring the family of fallen KISS drummer Eric Carr (who died of cancer in 1991) to the event for a vigil in honor of Carr.

You can go too!
Anyone is welcome to join in the march in August. Check out www.kissarmyunites.com and http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/Marchontherockandrollhalloffame for more information.