Walk ‘N Rock for Hope Productions with KISS
Legendary rock band KISS walked onto stage and rocked the crowd Sunday night at Raley Field at a benefit concert for children sponsored by Hope Foundation. As if emerging from Mount Olympus, each of these rock icons entered the stage: Eric Singer, Catman; Tommy Thayer, Spaceman; Gene Simmons, The Demon and Paul Stanley, Starchild.
Opening bands Miles Schon and Big Boss Graffiti set the stage for the magnificent musical journey that was to come. Almost immediately following BBG’s last song, the crowd began chanting, "WE WANT KISS! WE WANT KISS! WE WANT KISS!"
Almost instantaneously after taking the stage, Paul Stanley sang out, "You said you wanted the best band, you got it- KISS!"
They masterfully took their diehard army of rock fans on a musical journey spanning 38 years. From the very first album, starting with “Modern Day Delilah” and culminating with “Let Me Go Rock N Roll,” they performed with the sort of music mastery, pyrotechnics, flames and fireworks that only they could deliver.
The only thing more astounding than their humility, compassion and generosity during meet and greets with fans is their philanthropy. KISS had four MINI Coopers customized to reflect each of their characters and put them up for auction on eBay, all proceeds going to Japan’s relief effort.
Eric Singer was gracious enough to grant an interview to Marc McLaughlin (Sacramento Press) before rushing off to makeup.
Interview with Eric Singer (drums, vocals)
Marc McLaughlin: How does it feel to be doing a charity event for children (Walk ‘N Rock for Kids)?
Eric Singer: It’s cool. I mean, everyone has to make a living, but when you can do what you love to do, make a living at it and also help people, it feels wonderful. I can do things that help people and I think that is really important. Then, when you add that it is for kids, it makes it even better. As you know, KISS does a lot of work with wounded soldiers and it is amazing being able to help them whenever we can.
MM: How does it feel to be a part of such an iconic band?
ES: Although I am not an original member, it really is an amazing feeling. This is a band that people recognize whether they know the music or not. The band is known world-wide; when we travel to Europe, it is just amazing how many people come out to see us. Being with people like Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, two original members, [makes you] realize that this band transcends generations and really touches people. Well, ultimately, your audience is what helps put you in a positive position. Without a fan base, you have nothing; however, you have to keep yourself there by delivering the music, the shows and the performances.
I always tell people, "You vote through participation in life."
If someone decides they don’t like the product, service or the way they are treated, they will stop buying the product. Eventually, the company would have to redesign it or come up with a new product to keep their audience. This is true of anything, so your actions and your work need to be on target to keep you in business.
MM: Speaking of that, how does it feel now that the band is experiencing another reemergence in the music industry?
ES: Every band goes through their up and downs and their support comes in waves, so it is normal for us. It is nice though, seeing people still want to be around us and coming out to see this iconic band. Whenever you have people who support what you do, it feels good and we are just so supportive of that. Without our fans we would not be here, and knowing they support us is the ultimate compliment.
MM: KISS is known for their makeup most of all. How is it sitting there and actually having it applied – does it become a role you slip into or is it just one more thing that must be done?
ES: Yes, the makeup is something we are known more for than anything else. Some know the “monster” while others know the “star.” It is all a part of who we are. Because of that, the process is something that can not be explained. It takes a couple of hours to get ready and the makeup is a closely guarded secret. When I first started doing it, it felt strange to take on a role like that; becoming something so known, so iconic. Even after all this time, it is still the same. You become part of the character and you use that to entertain the fans.
Even with these interviews it is part of what we do. For this we flew in early so we could spend some time with the press. You know, Gene and Paul have been doing this since the beginning and they still go the extra mile and speak to people when asked. It is a part of what makes the band who they are. The work ethic is very high and an important part of what we do. Everyone does their part to keep things moving forward. Many bands of lesser levels do not put the time in and that is part of the reason why our fan base is as deep and supportive as it is.
MM: If there was one thing you would like to say to your fan base today, what would that be?
ES: I guess just keep doing what you are doing. It is a give and take, a mutual participation thing. One thing I learned in life is that you can’t make everyone happy. You appeal to the majority by trying to find the ground that works for most. We thank the fans who come out and support us and continue to believe in this iconic band. Whether they have followed us for a day or 35 years, they are the reason we do what we do.
MM: Thank you for your time today and for supporting Walk ‘N Rock.
ES: Thank you and hopefully this will help the children of the community. We appreciate your time, and enjoy the concert.
Regretfully, the time came for Paul Stanley to attempt to say goodnight to the fans, who were simply not ready to let go. They chanted for an encore, and suddenly, KISS was back on stage to thrill the audience with “Black Diamond,” “Shout It Out Loud” and “Detroit Rock City.” Finally, an unbelievable night of charity for Hope Foundation finished with "Rock and Roll All Night."