KISS KLASSICS Reborn Issue #1
Back in a time when the music scene was really on fire the hottest band in the land had to be none other than KISS! Fans and collectors of the band and their plethora of merchandise grew far and wide but four guys named Brian Rademacher, Bill DeMild, Joe Merante Jr. and Jack Dorman, all huge KISS fans, decided to put together a KISS fanzine and called it KISS KLASSICS. The year was 1987 and we were all basically out to have fun and not really looking to make any money from a fanzine. We just wanted to enjoy doing something we loved and that was collecting and talking about KISS.
In February of 1987 the debut issue with Gene Simmons on the cover was released in a small-sized format and the reason behind that was cost. We all put a certain amount of our money into the fanzine and then sold them to try and recoup the costs. We never knew from that very first issue that KISS KLASSICS would be a hit and so we had to upgrade issue # 2 to a full size 8 1/2 x 11 version! We broke each issue down and each one of us would be responsible for two pages of stories and photos of whatever we wanted to do that was of course, KISS-related. We broke out vintage photographs, wrote stories and just had a great time with it all.
We got letterheads made and sent them to the members of KISS and they would sign them and send them back to us. We did interviews by phone and had the chance to meet the band on occasion and when they came to town they accommodated us with photo, tickets and press passes. We were all in our glory and ultimately we accomplished what we set out to do and that was to bring the KISS fans a little-seen insight to their favorite band and have a good time with it while doing that.
Here in 2012 I had an idea to see if we could bring KISS KLASSICS back for the fans to enjoy. I realized it would never be the same as the old print issues, as it would now have to be all online and featured here at RockEyez.com. Below you will see some vintage photos and as we move on to KISS KLASSICS Reborn #2 we will write stories, have more vintage photos, special accounts of KISS KLASSICS history and more. If you have any suggestions we welcome them and you can contact Bill or Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in 1982 or '83 I put a classified ad in the back of a Circus magazine. The ad pretty much said that I was a KISS fan and wanted to talk and trade with other KISS fans. There was no internet, no eBay, nothing like that at the time. This was the way we did it back then; throw an ad in the back of a rock and roll magazine or fanzine and wait for the mail to get to your house. I did get a lot of responses and some of the people I kept in contact with for a while and some seemed like just plain nuts! I even got one or two responses from people in prison; sorry but I stayed away from those!
Brian was one who wrote me. He told me that he had been a big KISS fan for a long time and had a very large collection of memorabilia. The best part was that he actually lived only five minutes from where I lived. So I contacted him and said I would like to come over to his place so I could check out his collection. Now I thought I had a real nice collection and how much bigger could his be. When I got over to his house I honestly could not believe it. Like I said, I thought I was a huge fan and had a lot of nice items, but when I saw his collection I knew he had me beat by a mile!
By meeting Brian and becoming friends with him we've gotten to know many other mutual KISS friends. I am glad to have met Brian almost 30 years ago and have shared many KISS (and non-KISS) experiences together in that time.
The photo of the cover of the new Reborn KISS KLASSICS issue - I saw this photo and wondered how come this was actually never leaked out to the press? The photo was taken back in 1974 from the infamous Cream magazine photo sessions. Apparently the photographer told KISS that management wanted some photos without makeup and so they did it. There has to be at least 20 or so photos of the band with no makeup from what I've seen. I like this particular photo because it shows off their street clothes.
The Peter Criss photo is one I remember going to Brian's home and him showing me a few photos of Peter just relaxing in his house from the 1973 period. I couldn't believe that he actually had photos like this in his possession! Where did he get these from? They were real photos and not scans or anything like that! It was very cool to see shots like that especially when you just never saw anything like this before.
The Ace Frehley photo holding up KISS KLASSICS is one I took back in 1987. It was at an in-store appearance for a guitar store in White Plains, NY that was just opening up. Ace and guitarist Tod Howarth from FREHLEY'S COMET were the guests signing autographs and meeting fans. I was always trying to get the guys from KISS (past and present) to hold up our fanzine for a photo. We were able to hang out for quite a bit of time on this day and not just get up there, get something signed and have security push us away. While there was a short break in the line I asked Ace if he could hold up an issue and he gladly did while his daughter Monique stood beside him. I really like this shot as it shows Monique and how sweet she was just hanging out with Dad! I think I gave this shot to Ace next time we saw him on tour.
This Gene Simmons 1975 photo has to be an all time great! How many photos are taken this close (with an old 126 camera) that you actually see Gene and a kid in the front row with Gene's makeup on? This was how close they had to be to get this photo. Classic! With the security and the photo pit and all that nowadays front row at a concert has to be at least ten feet from the stage or so it seems.
Band photo. I believe this is from a photo card set. It's just a great and intense shot of them rocking out from 1974 or early 1975.
Paul Stanley - I'm not a guitar guy and I don't really know much at all about guitars but in this photo of Paul he is playing one that I really haven't seen many shots of him with before. I don't know what kind of guitar this is but it does look cool on Paul. I've seen Ace with different guitars that he normally doesn't use but not many of Paul so this makes it really interesting.
Ace Frehley - Hotter Than Hell era.
This is only the beginning to our KISS KLASSICS Reborn issues here online. We have a lot more photos and new stories to share and so we will see you once a month here at RockEyez.com.
Brian & Bill