The KISS fandom has never been peaceful on the Internet as it is out in the real world. In the real world you can easily cover it up, and be nice to fans of all ages because you know you can’t get away with being mean to them in real life.
You know me, one thing that really grinds my gears is when KISS fans who are children, teenagers, and even young adults like me, are bullied by the long time fans who are 30 – 50 years old because of some of their personal preferences of the band. Some things get really harsh, it can be as bad as someone saying you’re a fake fan, all the way to……ugh I don’t want to think about it. But I’m sick and tired of this shit. The bullying mainly happens on the official Facebook pages of the band, and Gene & Paul’s pages. Sometimes it escalates to other websites too, but most of the time it’s at those specific places, and that’s why I don’t visit those pages anymore.
Here I’m going to list all the things we younger KISS fans have been bullied for, and don’t deserve to be bullied for.
1. Lineup preference
This one’s the biggest problem since 90% of the complaining of KISS is about who’s in the band. Many KISS fans of this generation were born in perhaps the 90’s or early 2000’s, so it’s pretty obvious we never experienced the original KISS, so the current lineup is the only KISS most of us know. When I first got into KISS, I took notice of the original 4, and the current lineup almost simultaneously; I have no preference of one over the two. But for most kids today, they probably like the current lineup. There are times when if you visit the band’s official FB page, you can expect bullying going on from older fans. There were times when parents took their kids as young as 5 years old backstage to meet the band, since they were surprisingly rich enough to afford it, and those photos made it to the band’s page. It won’t take long for you to notice comments like these by older fans:
Exhibit A: “That child is not a real fan, nor will he ever be! He met fake KISS!”
Exhibit B: “How could a parent do that to their kid? I met the real KISS! None of the people of this generation will be real KISS fans like I was! They are all a bunch of wannabes who put up with Gene & Paul’s shit and Fake Ace and Fake Peter, when in reality the real KISS fans love the original 4 only!”
Examples like that don’t seem bad but I’ve seen some that are even more severe, as far as to making personal insults. I prefer not to disclose. But the actual definition of a real KISS fan is one that supports the band no matter how much they change, even if their lineup changes.
As you can see both of these are quite similar, but the main problem here is that young fans should not be bullied just because they know the current lineup more than the original. If I met the current lineup, I don’t want fans picking on me for it. If I had kids, I wouldn’t want that happening to them either if they became KISS fans because of me. It’s not nice to bully a fan and say they are not true fans just because they were not exposed to the original lineup, whether those young fans be young adults, teenagers or children.
Some older KISS fans have begun boycotting KISS concerts because of how “awful” they think the band sounds now; be it certain songs, to Paul Stanley’s voice. If you’re choosing to miss out on concerts because of something as small as this, you are missing a LOT. Young KISS fans may be subject to this as well. I’ve seen people comment on photos of children at KISS concerts saying “How could your parents take you to the fake garbage KISS!?” It’s not their fault that they weren’t born before the 70’s like you were! I was born in the 90’s and didn’t see KISS until 2013, but I knew about them growing up, but never liked them until that year so c’mon……At least Paul Stanley loves all his fans younger and older, and he even says so during the concerts between songs!
3. Attempts at doing the makeup
This is actually the most recent one I can think of, but certainly not the last. As you can see, that’s me in my Gene makeup for my 2nd KISS concert last summer. Many people took photos of me at the gig, but I’m actually glad that none of them made it onto the band’s website and Facebook page. Why is that? You all know that KISS’s FB page is chock-full of assholes who whine about every little thing KISS does/shares like they have nothing better to do with their lives. It all disgusts me because most of these people who complain are people 2 – 3 decades older than me, and they have families, jobs, and perhaps other hobbies. If you’re going to go on Facebook on your spare time for your age whether you’re 35 or 55, you should at least be more mature right? Apparently not. This applies for all the things KISS fans of the younger generation are criticized for. But for older KISS fans, some of them will whine of the fact that a younger KISS fan who tried doing the makeup, did not get it perfect to exactly match the way the band member they chose has done it. Well of course it’s not perfect! They may not have done it on their face as much as you have when you were their age! I’ll bet if this picture of me made their FB page, people would whine that the demon wings on my eyes are not pointy enough or are too smudged. Every Saturday, Paul Stanley shares photos of KISS fans in his makeup that they have sent to him. One time, there was this one girl who Paul shared, she had painted the star on her left eye instead of her right (Paul does his star on his right eye) and the star was much larger compared to how big Paul draws it on his face. Many fans complained in comments that the star was on the wrong eye, it was too big, or too messy.
Jesus Christ, what if people are just simply better at putting on the left eye instead of the right? What if that was that girl’s first attempt in doing Paul’s makeup? If it was then don’t expect it to be perfect, sometimes it ends up being smudged, in the wrong place, or larger than it should be. Don’t make such a mountain out of a molehill by criticizing how someone has done KISS’s makeup. Nobody’s perfect. The least you can do is say something like “good job”………….and insert your constructive (and respectful) criticism to help them improve it next time. Hey, at least they have spirit, that’s what really matters!
4. What band member they met
For this situation, it doesn’t matter what band member you’ve met as a young fan, as long as it’s not someone original, people will complain and attack you. This is somewhat related to the first issue, only right now I’m talking about meeting a band member individually. If you met Tommy Thayer at the KISS Expo a few years back……you know what’s coming for you if it makes their website. I wanted to go to that Expo so badly, but it was all the way in Indianopolis, and I couldn’t drop everything and go because I was going to school part time. Tommy was also doing meet & greets at some places in Canada before the band arrived in Toronto in 2013 when I first saw the band. A picture of a young girl (I think I’ve shared this story a million times, but I don’t care because some of the comments were absolutely horrifying) hugging Tommy at the M&G, made it onto the band’s page. I was happy for her, and jealous, so I posted a comment congratulating her, I scrolled through the other comments and was literally horrified what I saw: people were not only calling Tommy fake but were also calling the girl a fake fan. I think someone even once said they wanted to hit that girl for not meeting Ace. If I was her, I would be pretty hurt by those awful comments, even if I chose to ignore them. This girl was around my age at the time she met Tommy, and had been a fan since a child. I will not disclose names because I prefer that be kept private.
Also, if you’ve met Gene, expect some nasty shit coming your way too, they might think you’re his pawn because you gave him $5,000 – $10,000 to make that dream come true, and don’t see the “truth” about him. What truth? He’s a musician and businessman, I think he’s very successful and he’s a great man in many ways. Why do you think I look up to him? The only thing I don’t love about him is he charges more than how much it should really cost for certain experiences and merchandise. I almost bought a $300 sterling silver necklace of his Axe bass for my birthday this year (which is ridiculous, sterling silver is not THAT expensive, it can range from $50 – $100 and sometimes go a little higher maybe $150 if it has a touch of gold or a gem in it….depending on the gem) But $300+? That’s how much 14K gold costs! So I decided to buy a different KISS necklace of costume jewelry which was much cheaper.
Anyway, just like with the first issue, just because you met Tommy Thayer instead of Ace Frehley doesn’t make you a fake fan. Being called fake for this purpose is really insulting. People need to chill the fuck out.
In conclusion because of these issues of older fans attacking younger ones, I fear the KISS Army will never be at peace. There is a good amount of older fans who do respect younger fans’ preferences and so on but not all of them. The KISS Army is supposed to be one big happy family that loves KISS no matter what happens, not civil war just because some fans are different than others.