This is only our opinion… it is neither right nor wrong.

KISS UNMASKED, Learn About Mitch Lafon’s Secret Letter from Gene Simmons

In episode 31, July 9, 2013, this week we discuss our most meaningful KISS albums. For Mitch, KISS UNMASKED. For Tommy, KISS DYNASTY. For Michael, KISS ROCK AND ROLL OVER. Mitch tells the details of his interview with Gene Simmons at Aucoin Management Offices, how his mom turned down lunch with Gene and the letter that Gene sent Mitch which got him free KISS passes for 16 years.

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  • Snoop

    Kiss were always being accused by critics of being too self indulgent, too pompous, too pretentious, etc. I think the cover was Kiss’ way of saying, “Yeah, we’re all of that, and the people love us for it. You’re just jealous pricks who wish you could be us!”

    Of course, Kiss never really were any of those things. What better way to prove it than by having the Howdy Doody reporter guy slink away maintaining that they still stink?

  • John Penza

    For me it’s KISS Alive! Not just because it’s a great album, but it was my first KISS album. A friend of mine who had older brothers was instrumental in introducing me to all of the great bands that I still love today. Up until that point I loved Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk, The Who, Jethro Tull etc. but I did not know who I felt was my favorite.
    Well he showed me KISS Alive! and said my brother got this you have to get a copy. So without even listening to it as I normally would with him, I talked my parents into getting me a copy of my own. Needless to say I was blown away just by the album cover, then I put the album on and just stared at the booklet as I listened to the album. I knew even before Deuce was over that this was my favorite band.
    I never felt like I did upon hearing something for the first time like I did with that album. I literally saw that concert in my mind. Nothing would ever be the same. From that moment on no matter what else I was as I grew up …..an artist, a comic collector, a football player, a body builder, and eventually a teacher….I am always identified as the KISS fan; not a fan but the fan! To this day 100,000 years from that album is still my favorite KISS song and every time I listen to it I can be that carefree 11 yr. old kid again. I will always love KISS for giving me that.

  • Joel Dohrmann

    I would first have to say that I love the fact that you are discussing KISS albums on the merit of personal meaning versus album quality. The discussion of Rock and Roll Over for example really relates because although it is a very good album, to me it was just purchased because I needed to complete my KISS collection, and not because of a specific desire.

    For myself out of all of the albums that you discussed this week, I would have to say that Alive III is actually my most important album. The first time that I ever saw KISS was on the Revenge Tour. The anticiapation of going up the Streetside Records here in St. Louis, gettting a line ticket to see my favorite band, and then almost ruining it will always stick with me. At this time I am only fifteen and had never heard of line tickets. I figured that you went to the record store got in line and waited your turn, So when I get the numbered ticket, here comes around this guy from the record store with a shoe box “collecting tickets.” So here I am, all excited and I put my ticket in the box. Then they call out the ticket number for what number the line will start at. How great is this? We are number two in line! Except for the fact that I put my ticket into his box and now have no proof that I had that second position number. Of course I get an immediate chew-out from my older brother, but we do end up getting tickets and the show was amazing.

    So now KISS Alive III is going to come out. I hear radio commercials for it, and see ads for it in Hit Parader magazine. At this point I am now sixteen and can drive on my own! So now I can drive up to the record store all by myself on the day that it comes out to get it. Of course the Streetside Records does not have it, nor does the Camelot Music in the mall have it. Finally three weeks late I finally find a copy of it, and rush home to listen to it. The cover is awesome. It is pictures from the tour I got to see, and as soon as I press play on my cd player I can remember all of the sights and sounds of the show I went too. I remember how when we were at the show it was so loud that we could not even tell that the first song was Creatures of the Night until it was almost over. But now I can hear it perfectly clear. I can still get goose bumbs from hearing the finale with the Star Spangled Banner.

    Every time I listen to that album, every memory is still there from almost having no experience at all because I was a dumb fifteen year old who did not know how line tickets worked to leaving the show thinking how could anything be more exciting that a live KISS concert.

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  • George T

    Great show! You guys hit it right on the head. Albums that have personal meaning to you, not what’s better or worse. Of the albums mentioned… Alive 2 is my most meaningful in my life. I wasn’t a true fan until that album came out with all the art work tattoos and photos. I would go to the store and see all the other previous albums, but never bought them. The best part of the story is that it was my 25 year old 4th grade teacher who turned me on to the band upon the release of Alive 2. She brought it into class and she would let anyone who was interested skip recess to sit in the classroom and listen to it instead of going outside. It was me and one other friend of mine who always chose to stay in the classroom and listen. This shit blew me away at the time, and I think after that it only took me a year or so to back track and get every other album that had been previously released. It was a trip hearing the studio versions of all the songs on Alive 2 after already knowing and loving the live ( so we were lead to believe) versions from my 4th grade teacher. oh and did I mention she was HOT!! lol. I found her years later when I was in high school to thank her for what she had done because that for sure was a changing/ turning point in my life and it started this Kiss thing I have had going on since. She went to the concerts and bought me my first tour book. It was the alive 2 tour that she went to that year and had taken a roll of photos with an expensive telescopic lens. I bought a few from her which I still have. From there it was buying anything I could find. The next album, Circus mag, 16 mag, sweat band, belt buckle etc.. I started playing guitar a year later just so I could learn the songs on all the Kiss records. I was bitten. And no matter what Kiss put out after that, they did no wrong in my eyes. Both Dynasty and Unmasked too I considered the next best thing from Kiss at the time. I unfortunately lost interest a bit in Jr high when The Elder came out. Even though I love it now! Thanks Carol Prutting… Hope you guys enjoyed short version of the story! G

  • Dave Cook

    Hey guys,

    Unmasked was huge for me! Still is. I was 13 and still kind of a fresh KISS fan. All the KISS fans in middle school turned against KISS when “Dynasty” was released. Giving away their albums they were so angry. I got a free copy of “Double Platinum” from Brian Balducci in 7th grade. Got “Dynasty” for Xmas that year. Then one day, I’m listening to the radio on our back porch and a commercial comes on for “Unmasked”. Not a DJ mentioning it, but an actual commercial for the album. It was basically an audio version of the comic strip on the cover of the album. This was a very exciting moment and a permanent picture perfect memory. I couldn’t wait to go to our local K-Mart in Boynton Beach, FL and buy “Unmasked”. I remember being confused by not seeing KISS actually unmasked, but thought it was very KISS to do what they did and I never EVER questioned it. I just LOVED the music. Always have and always will. K-Mart also had a ton of KISS cut-outs at the time. The solo albums for $1.97 and 8-tracks of Alive 2 also for just a few bucks. I still have them.
    I listened to “Unmasked” endlessly. Outside, throwing baseballs at the pitch back. “Unmasked” playing on my portable cassette player. I loved blank tapes! Total taping penis, I was!
    There was nothing strange about the sound of “Unmasked” to me. It was KISS! It was perfect!
    Obviously, going backwards I loved all the old KISS stuff as I discovered it. But “Unmasked” truly marked the moment that I identified KISS as a band that meant a lot to me.
    I remember learning to play bass along with “Unmasked” and “Dynasty”. “Dynasty” got plenty of play during that time, but I though every song on “Unmasked” was great. People may question it stylistically, the keys are a little heavy, but I think the songwriting and production are both top notch and song for song beats “Animalize”, “Crazy Nights”, and “Hot In The Shade” combined, hands down. I even loved “Animalize” when it came out. Saw the tour, twice. Hasn’t aged well though.
    By the way, “Animalize” song for song against “Asylum”? “Asylum” wins that one, doesn’t it? Think about it. But I digress.
    This episode (#31) was definitely a killer for me. Mitch’s Xmas cards and “Unmasked” press kit are the best Mitch’s Shockers EVER!! I wanted to fucking cry when he was showing them. Seriously!! I don’t think I would have had that reaction were they from Monster or even Love Gun or Destroyer.
    I remember the People magazine article that introduced Eric Carr as a member of the band. HUGE!! That whole era was huge for me. The card from Eric Carr was really cool. Not just something signed. But what that something is. Don’t you dare ever sell that stuff, Mitch.
    “Unmasked” is the most special album and time for me. No question.

    Thanks for this (especially) and every other episode,

    Dave Cook

  • Hey Dave Cook and George T,
    Are you my triplet brothers from other mothers!!
    I swear to God of Thunder of your posts match the firsts of my Kiss Kife experienced to a T!!
    Thanks for sharing them.
    I don’t feel so alone now in my initial falling in love with them.
    Ron