Category Archives: Life
It’s milestone Monday, and this one is a doozy for sure. Raise your bottle of Zima and break out the Bon Jovi! Twenty-five years ago this very day was my first EVER gig with a band.
On April 29th, 1988 my band, “Silent Rage” competed in the Bath Firehall Battle of The Bands. I know this not because I have a perfect memory (hell, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast some mornings), but because I was smart enough to keep a journal of my musical exploits.
I actually formed Silent Rage in March of 1988, and can remember vividly how much we busted our asses. Sometimes we would rehearse four nights a week for hours at a time. Eventually, we got our very first show.
It was an under-21 Battle of The Bands gig in the town of Bath, Pennsylvania and needless to say, with my band’s first gig now officially booked, I was stoked. Although I honestly don’t recall who won that night (it wasn’t us), I do remember the names of the bands we competed against: Lethal Tender, Cobalt Blue, Mizery and Detour.
But as I sit back and remember this day, I do recall a bull-headed, 18-year-old guitarist who thought he knew everything. There would be a lot of growing pains for me over the next twenty-some-odd years. Pains that began that very night. For while in full rock and roll mode, I neglected to realize that timing was everything. So when we were approached by the promoter asking if we wanted to go on last, I jumped at the chance. I thought “Now THIS is a rock and roll dream!”
With the 8pm start rapidly approaching, I remember being downstairs proclaiming to anyone who’d listen how WE were the headliners that night, and how WE had that coveted final spot. Little did I know it, but my hasty decision likely led to our own undoing. For by the time we went on to perform, it was already well past midnight and most of the under-age crowd had already headed for the exits.
In true Hair Metal fashion, this was our set list that night. The first set list I ever played:
1. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
2. You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)
3. Talk Dirty To Me (Poison)
4. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)
5. I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
6. I Won’t Forget You (Poison)
I liked the idea of “I Won’t Forget You” at the end. Kind of made the whole thing sentimental, in a rock and roll sort of way.
Here is the journal entry I wrote after the show was over.
4/29/1988: Well, the Battle’s history. We didn’t win. We were on last and I think that was the biggest factor, because everyone was gone. I think we did extremely well and I was sweating my ass off under the lights. The songs really sounded good. The sound man even told us that ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ sounded great. I threw out all of my picks. We had fun. I remember looking out and seeing people singing along to the first three songs we did: ‘Crazy’, ‘Shook Me’ and ‘Talk Dirty’.
I was so nervous until we finally started ‘Crazy’, then all hell broke loose. My guitar solo was great. Even though we didn’t win, I’m so happy to have done it. Winning is shit, I did what I do best; I want to do it for a living.
I learned a lot that night about what to do and when to do it. I also learned the importance of group decisions when it comes to being in a band. One member shouldn’t speak for all. And I believe that had I asked what the others had thought about going on last, the outcome that night would have been different.
In the end, it was one of the best nights of my musical career. For with that killer opening guitar riff to Crazy Train, my rock and roll dream began.
When I heard my very first KISS album back in the 1970′s, a seed was planted and I realized I wanted to be a rock star. I remember picking up my grandmother’s hand-held potato slicer (which kind-of resembled a guitar) and played it til my fingers bled. Which come to think of it, happened rather quickly. Those little metal tines sure were sharp.
In the mid 80′s, I seriously began working on my craft. I’d sit up in my bedroom and play guitar for hours after school. I even remember getting mad at myself if I fell short of my set goal and only practiced for 2 1/2 hours instead of three. I couldn’t let anything (not even dinner or mowing the grass) interfere with my progress. Whether it was trying to figure out the lead to ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ by AC/DC or mastering a section from my guitar lesson music book, I accomplished it.
Back then, I had no fear.
It wasn’t until 1987 that I had my first chance to actually get out of the bedroom and play in front of an audience. I was the sole guitarist in the pit band for the school play and also performed the song “Flashdance” on stage with the school choir. That’s where it all began.
Over the next few years (oh, ok… decades… I’m 43) I played in no less than seven different bands with various degrees of success. I remember a lot of the lows, like playing hair metal in dive bars for 6 people. I also remember the high: performing in front of 6,000 people at Musikfest. But whether it was six or six thousand it didn’t matter. The message was the same:
I had no fear.
I’ve never really been concerned about playing my music in front of an audience. Nope, no stage fright here. Whether they loved it or hated it, I didn’t care. As Frankie said, I was doing it “my way”.
Which leads me to the real meat of this post.
Last month, me (along with a great friend and artist) had the opportunity to write and publish my first children’s book. I was interviewed by the local newspaper about it (piece of cake) and did an on camera, live TV interview (ok, I’ll admit, that one was a bit scary). I was even offered the opportunity to read my book to a group of children at a bookstore next week to help raise funds for a local organization, and I jumped at the chance. Not only would it be for a good cause, but it would also be a good outlet for the story. In retrospect though, as the day beins to draw closer, I’ve realized something:
I have fear.
There is something about reading in front of children that intimidates me. I could bring my guitar and sing songs all day long without worry. But reading a book (MY BOOK) is a whole different story (literally and figuratively). It’s funny to think that I can already tell I’ll be looking for reaction from their faces; hoping that my book will be worthy enough for them.
It’s odd how someone my age, who’s played so much music in front of people of all ages, would suddenly be nervous when it comes to a small amount of children. But I think I know the reason. When we’re kids, we discover early on how much it means to fit in with others. We all grow up wanting affirmation from our peers that what we’re doing is cool in their eyes. It’s important to kids that they feel a sense of belonging with each other, and I think one of the reasons for my own “cold feet” about reading the book has something to do with my subconscious mind still wanting to fit in too.
Regardless, I know the event is going to be fun and I’m really looking forward to it. Although some of my fear may rest with the fact that this whole experience is something completely new to me, I’m going to face it. For as is the case with music, the show must go on.
See you there.
A lot of people have been asking about my interview with Eve Tannery of WFMZ. So for those who may have missed it or just want to watch it again, here it is. Enjoy!
Thanks go out to Eve and everyone at WFMZ for taking the time to hear about the book.
You can read more of the “Doodle” story and purchase your own copy
by Clicking Here
My job in information technology requires me to every so often take a trip out of state for a three-day educational class. Usually, the topic is something bland that would bore the average person to death; myself included. I mean let’s be honest, is there any sane person who would want to travel to a major city and then have to spend the better part of the next three days stuck inside some old stuffy classroom talking about databases and SQL queries?
I’m not a big fan of these excursions, and I’m what you call a last-minute person when it comes to preparing for these kind of trips. Call me a homebody or whatever but the truth is, I’m not one of those people who starts making plans and packing a week before leaving. I also don’t research the city I’m going to very much and always wait until the very last-minute before digging out the small suitcase that’s just small enough to be used as a carry-on (yeah, I’m cheap that way). Considering that the weather was going to be beautiful and that I would be making the trip to Atlanta solo this time around, it only made me lament having to go even more.
My arrival in at Atlanta on Monday was pretty uneventful. I rode the Marta from the airport to Dunwoody station with the biggest bunch of Louisville basketball fans I had ever seen in my life. These folks were on their way to the NCAA Championship game and were dressed all in red and whooping and hollering about how in just a few hours, their team would be crowned king. It was pretty cool to watch them.
It wasn’t long before I arrived at the hotel and took to my room. The first thing I noticed after dropping my baggage onto the bed was this giant device sitting next to the nightstand. It was a piece of technology that I had never seen before. An electrical, unplugged contraption that had more knobs and controls than the space shuttle. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this thing that was almost as big as a toaster oven was actually some new fangled, 21st century alarm clock. But rather than try to figure out how to work it, I thought it would be easier to just use my phone’s clock to wake me up each morning. I set the alarm for 6 am and used a song from my music collection as the alarm. I knew that I would probably never needed it though. I don’t sleep well these days and would most likely be up before the alarm sounded and turn it off.
The class itself was as you might have expected – dull and boring. I met some interesting people who worked at a hospital in Alabama, took long walks with our 90 minute lunch breaks and hung out in the outside gardens enjoying the crisp, spring Georgia weather in the late afternoon. It wasn’t until yesterday that things started going south.
During class, someone mentioned that there was a huge line of rain and thunderstorms that would arrive in the area on Thursday, just as class was getting over and I had to make my way back to the airport. Wonderful. Being the worry wart that I am when it comes to airline flights, I could already see that long delays at the airport were in my future and my 8:55pm flight home would be pushed back to well after midnight… or later.
Then on the walk back to my hotel after class, I began to have this weird feeling in my right foot and when I touched it, a sharp pain ran up my leg. I took off my sneaker and sock to discover that the pinky toe on my right foot had turned into a purply, blistered mess from all of the walking I had done the last two days. (Note to self: get better sneakers)
Remember when I said that I don’t sleep well most nights? Well, last night was one of the worst. I kept dreaming that I had left my wallet at the airport security checkpoint and when I went back to retrieve it, all of my money and credit cards were gone (hopefully not an omen of things to come).
This morning, I woke up in a daze and jumped out of bed at 4:45; nearly ninety minutes early. I decided to clear my head and take a walk to the local Starbucks before class. But just to be safe, I checked my wallet and confirmed that I still had money and a usable line of credit. All good.
As I’m leaving the hotel I start hearing music coming over the intercom. It’s Jimi Jamison’s song, “Never Too Late”, one from his recent solo album. “WOW”, I thought to myself. They actually have that song playing in the hotel mix in Georgia. Pretty cool. I continued my short walk to the coffee shop next door enjoying the music playing off in the distance.
It wasn’t until I walked up to the Barista that I noticed something wasn’t right. Everyone in Starbucks was staring at me. It was then that I finally felt the vibration in my pocket. I pulled out my phone and noticed that my alarm was going off and was playing (you guessed it): Never Too Late.
In all of my worrying about getting to the airport, having my wallet hocked and a delayed flight, I was oblivious to the alarm that had been going off in my pocket for the last ten minutes.
Yeah, I think it’s time to go home.
I really am grateful that I took the time to semi-regularly write a journal during my high school days. It gives me the opportunity now to look back and see where I was and just how far I’ve come. Back then, the future was bright and there were no limitations. Oh sure, there are definitely some things I lament doing and not doing, but all things considered, I wouldn’t change a thing. The good, the bad, the mistakes I’ve made – they’ve all made me into the person I am today.
This was my situation 25 year ago this very day: I had just graduated from high school nine months ago and was already a college drop out, living at home and without a job. Most of my time was spent either practicing my guitar, driving a beat up 1974 Ford Torino, bumming money off of my mom and grandmother and doing anything I could do to make it to the big time.
One of the biggest regrets I had musically in high school was not being able to participate in my senior year Battle of The Bands competition. It was an annual event held in the high school gym every spring, and gave students the opportunity to showcase their musical talent in front of the greatest audience of all: their peers. Even if you didn’t win, just being in the battle was a right of passage for future rock-star musicians.
At the time, I had no band and thus couldn’t participate. But for some reason that now escapes me, (I blame it on the ten Zimas I drank on my wedding night), I was somehow able to submit an entry for the competition the following year, 1988. By this point, I had already formed my first three-piece band and had begun the process of taking over the world with our brand of face melting metal. Needless to say, I was elated to have this opportunity (albeit a year later) and wanted to really shine.
Reading this journal entry now, a quarter century later is surreal. I was (still am) a huge Ozzy/Randy Rhoads fan and at the time must have played the song ‘Crazy Train’ a million times. I was also hugely into Poison and AC/DC, so those songs also had to be included on the live demo tape we recorded for the judging panel to see if we had what it took to compete. We never did get a call back about being in the battle that year, and I never followed up on it. By that time, my band had already started playing real gigs and the battle (much like the reason we could compete in it in the first place) soon became a distant memory.
Even better than the entry I wrote about the battle of the bands was the question I posed to myself afterwards. I asked myself what it was that was making me so happy in life. My answer is pretty cool.
Here’s my journal entry from 25 years ago: March 30th, 1988:
3/30: I attended a meeting of the Battle of The Bands. It will be quite a competition. I think we’ll get in. They only take eight bands and I’m confident that ‘Silent Rage’ will be one of them. We have a demo and I think it is really good. My situation has really changed since last year at this time. Back then, I was the high school student who dreamed of being in the battle and now I’m actually living the thing I should’ve done last year. Even if we’re turned down, at least we tried.
All I know is, the other seven bands they choose better be extremely good. We played and recorded Crazy Train three times on my cassette player and kept the best version; the one that’s there now. The first attempt had no bass, then too much bass and on this one, it’s an even balance. I swear, some parts of that song make me think Randy Rhoads was controlling me. Even the Poison shit sounds professional. Where it goes “I’ve gotta have you, oh yes I do!” I swear, that little lead I play is C. C. Deville. My original is quite good too and Shook Me by AC/DC is kick ass.
Why are you so happy lately?
The band is the reason. For once in my life, I’m doing something that I really want to do. I’m in my career. No one understands why I talk about it so much. They think it’s probably a phase. It’s not.
I didn’t want to play guitar to be a hobby. I wanna be the best. I want to someday look in a guitar magazine and see my picture as an artist and be recognized as a guitarist and songwriter. Sure, in the beginning everyone gets into it for other reasons; like girls, money and fast cars. I originally thought girls were the reason I got into it too. But deep down, I had this weird feeling and as each day passed, I fell more in love with music than ever before.
Before my junior year in high school was over, I was taking Music Theory. But even that wasn’t enough. In my senior year, I took Music Appreciation, Choir and Theory II. During that time I had guitar lessons and sometimes practiced for five hours a day. Now, the girls don’t matter. As long as I can live normally, I don’t care about the money or the fast cars either. I’ll drive a Torino until I’m 90. All I wanna do is play and make money that way. I want to write songs and have money to go out to dinner. After three long years it’s starting to happen.
I’m so happy about my life at this point, I can’t help but talk about it. Someday, my hope is that everyone else will understand it too.
I’m not sure of the exact day, but I can tell you that it was sometime during the summer of 1983. Back when I was but a wee-lad of 13 and innocence was all the rage.
In those days, my father used to like to take my brother and me on drives to visit his friend Hal, who lived in a small ranch about five miles away. In order to get to his house, we would have to take the winding, back roads that wound along the Lehigh, a river which separated our home in Pennsylvania from the New Jersey border.
With windows rolled down, it was always a pleasant drive to Hal’s; particularly on sunny days when (from my vantage point in the back seat of my Dad’s 1977 Malibu Classic) I could take in the beauty of the scenic overlook, smell the honeysuckle in the air and feel the wind rush by my face. Little did I know at the time, but this was going to be one of those special days.
Our visit with Hal that particular day is not something I have any real recollection of. My brother and I were most likely tossing a football around in his back yard while Hal and my father kabitzed about work or something. In fact, it wasn’t until the ride home that I actually had the epiphany that would change my life forever.
We were nearly home and were listening to the local radio station when it came on. At that precise moment, we could have driven right off the road and into the river and I would have been oblivious to it. Once I heard it, I was hooked. The song was “Cum on Feel The Noize” by Quiet Riot and at the time, I had no idea that it was originally a #1 hit for the band Slade ten years earlier. All I knew was that this updated version was the most incredible song I had ever heard in my entire life. Who would have thought that girls rocking boys would have had such an impact on me? It would be the first time that I would ever make a demand of my father. Three words: “Turn It Up!”, to which he thankfully obliged.
I remember we pulled into our driveway and (much to my father and brother’s chagrin), I made them sit there in the car with me until the song was completely over. Back in 1983, there was no way of knowing when I would hear that song again, which in retrospect actually made me appreciate the song even more whenever I did hear it.
I instantly longed to be the one who vocalist Kevin DuBrow put on his shoulders and played the guitar solo instead of Carlos Cavazo. I wanted to be the one standing alongside the thundering bass of Rudy Sarzo and the infectious drums of Frankie Banali. I wanted to be the one to get wild, wild, WILD!
It wouldn’t be long before the album, ‘Metal Health’ found its way into my possession. But Metal Health was more than just an album. It pushed the metal genre into the mainstream and ushered in a new wave of music euphoria for a generation of starving ears. For me personally, the album went much deeper. It actually became a part of me. So much so, that when I started taking proper guitar lessons a year after that drive along the Lehigh River, the very first song I ever learned how to play was ‘Metal Health (Bang Your Head)’. Perhaps it was the reckless abandon of the songs, or maybe it was because Quiet Riot once had Randy Rhoads in its line-up at one time that made the album appeal to me as a guitarist. One of the all time greatest players was once part of the band whose album I now enjoyed. Whatever the reason, I gave up trying to find an excuse for why I liked it long ago. Good music speaks for itself.
I picked this up from Wikipedia: Metal Health was released on March 11, 1983 (thirty years ago), bolstered by the #5 hit “Cum on Feel the Noize” and the #31 hit “Metal Health”. The album is notable for being the very first heavy metal album to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 and knocking The Police’s Synchronicity out of #1 spot in the US. Metal Health went on to sell over six million copies and it is considered a classic among heavy metal fans to this day.
On my last day of junior high in 1984, I remember blasting “Cum on Feel The Noize” from the back seat of the big yellow school bus on my boom box. It was my final year before starting high school in the fall, and I felt like a king. Me, James Wood was privy to musical greatness and I just had to share it with the world.
There are certain albums that you instantly bond with, and then there are those that remain with you for a lifetime.
Did something happen while I slept? Since when did I wake up and everyone else got old? Last night while trolling around Facebook, I came across someone I haven’t seen in years and it started to make me worry a bit.
The person I saw is a year older than me and a good friend of my brother; who lived next door to us growing up. I recall standing on the corner with him at the bus stop every morning during school years, waiting for the big yellow taxi to carry us off to education. I also remember all of the Sunday afternoons where he and my brother would get a gaggle of kids together from the neighborhood for a game of tackle football. Good times.
But, as what typically happens in life, once school is over people tend to go their own separate ways, and ours was no exception. I went to West Chester to study music and he wound up moving to Florida to take on a construction job. It was the late 1980′s and we were young; ready to take on the world. It was a time when life’s possibilities seemed endless.
The thing is, once I saw the profile picture he used on Facebook, I began to reconsider that last sentence. For although I’d often see him over the years when he’d make his pilgrimages back north to visit my brother, the person I now saw in the photograph sure didn’t resemble the same dude I remember.
He was sitting on a couch, wearing a t-shirt and worn out blue jeans. A Ford Racing baseball cap adorned his noggin, much the same way as I remember him. He didn’t look sickly or unhealthy at all. For all I knew, he was the healthiest man alive. The only difference was for the first time, to me he just looked…well:
I saw an old man sitting on the couch. A forty-five year “old” man. A man who is only twenty months older than me.
Now, this is not to be meant as a knock on him. After all, it’s life. But it did make me begin to wonder how people really see me. As much as I’d like to forget about it, every morning I see the grays in my beard; have to deal with the trick knee acting up and the fact that my daughter is growing up way too fast. I’m constantly being reminded about my own mortality. Where did those endless possibilities and Sunday football games go? Sure, I can still pass by the places where we used to play and picture everything in my mind. But in my vision, we’re always kids.
I’m sure that if I were to see my brother’s friend today it would probably be just like old times. We’d probably joke around and laugh about the great games we used to have on the grid iron, or the days standing on the corner in the freezing cold waiting for the school bus. Although this time we’d probably be laughing about them over an adult beverage rather than the Kool-Aid Fruit Punch we had to drink back then. But I like to think the effects of the beer would help soften the blow that we were now the same age our parents were when we enjoyed such reverie.
I was always able to see people as they were in the past, and not as they are in the present. Oh sure, visually I still see the age mass and the gray hairs on the head that indicate years of life lived, but I was always able to look beyond that. I was always the forty-four year old, still being that fifteen year old teenager waiting for the bus. But now, in a strange way and for the very first time, I’m beginning to see the future.
What’s in a number? I mean, really. I’d sure like to know. All our lives, we base everything on these imaginary counting things.
Right from the beginning, numbers are engrained into our way of thinking. We know as soon as our brains start remembering things that “5″ is the magic number and the age at which we start school. From there, the next number we tend to get excited about is “10″ (the year we start the double-digit age; which is kind of ironic because it’s also most likely the same number of digits of age we have when we die).
Next on the list: “13″ (a teenager), “18″ (the year we can vote, drive a car, graduate high school and become an adult), “21″ (the year we can officially drink), “40″ (when the cruel, ‘over the hill’ jokes begin). We also celebrate big anniversaries with numbers like a 25th High School Reunion or a 50th Wedding Anniversary.
But all that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how we use numbers. They’re in the code that run our computers (“1″ and “0″). in the identification we need to remember in order to unlock our smart phones and get money out of an ATM machine. Numbers are so important, that we actually have to study them in school for years.
Now that I’m “43″ (not a bad number if you ask me), you’d probably expect me to have a pretty good understanding of them. But even after all of my experiences of going through most of the aforementioned cases of numbers, (I’m still working on that 50th anniversary thing), I’m still finding myself dumbfounded at how some people seem to care more about certain numbers while ignoring others.
We’re all familiar with “cooking the books”; a process where financial numbers are manipulated in order to produce a favorable (and often times illegal) result. But I’m talking about how numbers are used to favor a certain way of thinking.
Here’s where my confusion lies.
1. The most recent jobs report just came out, and the unemployment rate is at 7.9%. Payrolls rose “157,000″ in January. Not good news.
2. Gasoline prices once averaged “$1.93″a gallon four years ago and are now “$3.42″ for that same gallon. Yep, bad bad.
And yet, here’s a number that everyone seems to overlook when they think the world is ending and the Soviets are about to take over: “14,000″.
I’m sure for some people, this may seem like a miniscule number in the grand scheme of things (heck, you can’t even buy a decent new car now-a-days for that price). But, look a little deeper. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,000, and is nearing it’s ‘all-time’ high. This average is used to measure (among other things), how stocks and big businesses are performing and doing financially.
At the end of January 2009, the Dow was at “8,000″ and has since increased more than 40%.
Now, I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on, but if we’re focusing on how bad gas prices and jobs are, then why are we overlooking the fact that the other end of the business spectrum is performing better than ever?
Hmmm, something sure smells like number “2″ to me.
Sometime during he mid 1970′s, I stumbled upon a bunch of old record albums that had been accumulating under my grandparents large stereo system. My family and I had lived with my grandparents at the time, and their house and property was used by aunts, uncles and cousins as a repository for such things as old records, books, hand me down clothing and the occasional automobile that did not run anymore. Every once in a while, especially when there was nothing else to do on a rainy day, it was always cool to take stock of the things relatives had dumped off with no intention of ever taking back.
It was during one of these rainy days, while picking my way through the Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow and Carpenters albums, that I discovered it. The picture on the album was both creepy and cool. There they were, four dudes standing on some street corner against a pole; perhaps waiting for a bus (or an ambulance to take them all to the loony bin). They were all dressed in suits and ties; wearing the highest of high water pants the seventies had to offer. Big white shoes and the coolest make-up I had ever seen in the seven years that I had been alive.
The album was KISS’ Dressed To Kill, and unless my grandmother was a closeted guitar shredder and told none of us kids, I still to this day have no idea how the album wound up with all of those other relics. But I was so glad I did. Thanks Nan!
I quickly fired up the turntable and placed needle on vinyl (for those of you born after 1995 or so, that means I played the record). At the time, I remember not being all that much interested in most of what I heard. Sure, songs like “Two Timer”, “Rock Bottom” and “She” were kind of catchy, but nothing that really did anything for me on a first listen.
Then it happened.
The final song on the album was played and a spark went off. The cool little drum intro, the crunch guitars, the catchy lyrics! When I heard “Rock and Roll All Nite” for the very first time, I had an epiphany. Something snapped inside of me and I knew I would be changed forever. Yes Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace, I did wanna rock and roll all night AND party EH-VER-EEE Day!
Over the next several years, I couldn’t get enough of KISS. The “Alive”, “Alive II” and “Destroyer” albums were soon added to my collection (yes, I took ownership of “Dressed To Kill”). Each a masterpiece of music and mystery. I signed up as a member in good standing of the KISS Army and whenever the band appeared on TV, I just had to watch. I even remember there were times I was bummed out when I saw that a “Jean Simmons“ movie was coming on and only found out (after watching most of it) that they really didn’t spell Gene’s name wrong. Whether it was the music, watching Ace Frehley’s guitar catch fire or Gene Simmons’ spitting up blood (always a fan favorite), I was obsessed with these “unknown” guys.
In retrospect, I suppose it was the combination of everything that made KISS appeal to me so much. But little did I know at the time, the band (and particularly the song, “Rock and Roll All Nite”) planted the seed that made me want to become a rock star.