Ace Wields Mah Axe!

Grant Wentzel Kiss Guitar

Well, actually it’s the impostor Tommy Thayer who’s all gussied up in the Spaceman’s galactic get up on a recent issue of Guitar Player.  But that’s beside the point.

KISS really used to scare me.  There I was, a sweet little guy, about 9-years old, watching a perfectly innocent episode of 3-2-1- Contact on PBS.  The show did a little fieldtrip to explore the science of stage lighting and pyrotechnics and showman-type stuff.  Fun right?  It was until the concert began and out strutted the freaky foursome of KISS.

I was old enough to know about KISS:  To know that they were EVIL and that KISS stood for “Kids In Satan’s Service” and that they ate bloodied bats with long tongues and were blatantly anti-Christian and probably un-American too.  And I knew that I would never join them.  I would never turn into one of those long-haired teenagers that hung out at that house up on the corner and played metal music out of the open hatchbacks of their Trans-Ams.  They probably smoked cigarettes and snuck beers from their dad’s keg-o-rators, too.  No sir, that would never be me and that would never be my music.

The culture wars had just begun, but I knew that I would stand my ground.  Hand-in-hand with the Beaver, we’d fight the good fight to stop the People Against Goodness And Normalcy.  And Heavy Metal too.  It seems that we’d lost PBS to the dark side of libidinous liberalism, but that was just one battle, not the war.

(Warp ahead a couple of years or so.)

It was late one night during my past life of rock ‘n roll slummery.  I was still hovering around the 10th step of my ongoing post-hippie rehabilitation, when my buddy Chad “The Bad” popped by practice with an object of much interest.  Down on one knee, he reverently unlatched the black and curvy case before him.  A deal was struck and a check was written.  Glam unleashed, the time had come to spread some glitter.

Ace, I owe you an apology.

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