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KISS and Tell

August 22, 1993

I wanted to set the record straight after reading my interview. I thought it was edited so that it came off bitter regarding KISS' relationship with its critic--when in fact critics are hardly anything we have ever given a second thought to.

My reluctance to use the term "KISS tribute album" stems only from our desire to avoid the self-congratulatory tone it evokes.

We're obviously flattered and honored by all the artists who are participating on this "KISS tribute album," as well as by those artists who wanted to, but could not, due to record company politics.

GENE SIMMONS

singer-bassist of KISS

*

While the attitude of Gene Simmons of KISS toward the press is understandable, it is in need of sharp reassessment (Pop Eye, Aug. 8).

Rock criticism is not about commercial success or even projected longevity, but overall quality and "importance." Even if there were a 27-volume set featuring KISS covers by the likes of Elvis, the Beatles, Dylan, Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra (whether incongruous or heartfelt), it would not change this one iota.

But rebelliousness and having at least somebody dislike you are generally considered gauges for true rock 'n' roll, and KISS succeeded at this marvelously. The group is deserving of its place, but best enjoyed when realistically accepted for what it is.

Simmons may harbor a grudge, but rock 'n' roll itself may be the best revenge for a negative life experience.

FRANK BEESON

West Los Angeles

*

Intelligent KISS fans (stop laughing!) know that the band only mattered for a short period beginning with their first album and peaking with "KISS Alive!" a couple of years later. It's not surprising that all of the songs Garth Brooks cites as inspirations came after that, as KISS was beginning its transformation into the insipid and dense cash-generating machine it remains to this day.

When Brooks offers to cover "Cold Gin" or "Hotter Than Hell"--while vomiting blood in eight-inch platform shoes and Kabuki makeup like some kind of spooky spider guy--then we'll believe he understands the quiet sophistication that was KISS. Or at least that's how I recall it as a 14-year-old.

TOM MATTHEWS

Canyon Country

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