This all pretty much started with a conversation that Brian (SMOOCH) and Franklin (KISS THIS) had at work as they are both employed by the New York City MTA (Mass Transit Authority) and are seasoned Musicians who also happen to know how to play a KISS tune or two. KISS THIS performed the first KISS album in its entirety a few years back at the Three Jolly Pigeons and SMOOCH are the new kids on the block but indeed a conversation was struck and it went a little like this.
Brian - I challenge You to a KISS OFF !!!, of course totally friendly
Franklin - There is nothing friendly about this there can be only one
I am paraphrasing here and I am not going to start making phone calls, you get the gist. The night was booked and rehearsals began in private amongst the two warring factions. Everyone involved had a complete blast and frankly it was hard not to, We gathered to celebrate KISS a band that means so much to all involved, well most of us.
SMOOCH opened the first of three sets of which one set was allotted to each band and the third would be a "free for all" combining members from both bands who cared to come up and take a shot, sounds a good idea and it certainly worked out that way. Brian brainstormed the idea of making set 3 a KISSAOKE or KARAOKISS celebration but more on that later. SMOOCH performed a 13 song set and being a Space Ace centered band we opened with "Rip It Out" from Ace Frehley's first solo outing and much to my consternation as this is not a simple Drumming song, Damn You Anton Fig, no problems we pulled it off.
The Bob Geldof of "KISS OFF" Brian Dillon who is one of the sweetest Bass Players or even people I have ever met and yes there were Klu Klux KISS jokes made at Franklin's expense but all in the most kind hearted ways, Trust Me.
On Rhythm and Lead Guitar is Carl who eats Yngwie Malmsteen and his like for lunch. I took this photo between songs during the third set as we were chatting in the back line.
It must be said, The Man who is the biggest KISS fan in SMOOCH is indeed Sal who is also an Admin for the KISS - ROCK SOLDIERS Facebook page (see link below)
Being Korean, Irish and Italian can be lonely but not when you are a KISS fan. This photo was taken by Brian during the third set (KISSAOKE) but I had a great time singing backing vocals and playing sparse Tambourine. As a Drummer there is nothing more annoying than a Tambourine All Over The Place, you have to know when "not to play" as well.
I am also not just a Tambourine Player.
Introducing my dear friend and bandmate Joe Cacciola (The Good Yeggs) who did serious justice to SMOOCH' rendition of "Strutter 78" and never having rehearsed the tune with us. I really enjoyed hearing Joe sing this song that I have Loved for 34 years.
SECOND SET - KISS THIS - comprising many of my friends for decades and I will not go into detail as this is not my personal diary. KISS THIS is Daniella, Christine and Nadia (Kick Ass female vocalists), Bill (Vocals), Thomas Roberto & Franklin Poska (Guitars), John Meglino (Bass), Mike Roberto (Drums) who also performed a set of eclectic "Deep Cuts" from the KISS catalog, Let me just say hearing "Sure Know Something" from the Dynasty LP (1979) was a treat.
I snapped a few photos up front but cannot say I remember what song this was, nice photo if I must say so myself.
The Master of Tone, Thomas Roberto. His wife Nina makes a killer Potato Salad as well, of course I told her so myself, maybe over a dozen times.
Daniella Kicking Out The Jams on "C'mon & Love Me"
The sublime and resplendent Mr. Franklin Poska on the Telecaster. I have deep feelings for this man and he helped me cart my Drums from home to gig and from gig to home, no questions asked, no complaints, just a very stand up wonderful man and I have also known him for 30 years and by this time we should hate each others guts but my Love only grows stronger.
THIRD SET - KISSAOKE - I had asked Thomas to take the SMOOCH pics and I took the KISS THIS stills but my camera was in my back pocket for the third portion, in true Jam fashion Brian relinquished his Longhorn Bass to John Meglino halfway through the set so I asked him at that point if he would take some photos of the KISSAOKE segment and of course he did. Brian Dillon who is an excellent emcee (and I have known a few) got some of the members of the audience and the latecomers who arrived involved in coming up to sing some of the KISS classics we all as two bands knew but notation wise for those unsure were willing to learn on the spot, there were chord progressions thrown around for 30 seconds or less and everything sounded just fine. I had a great time watching various members from both bands performing these songs much like watching the STAR WARS and STAR TREK Universes intermingling (OK, Lets Not Get Crazy). I Really enjoyed hearing Thomas and Sal wailing Lead Guitars on some of the most important Music of my life.
Singing backing Vocals on "Cold Gin" here but I really Loved accompanying the ladies of KISS THIS on B. Vox for "Doctor Love". Dont know if it sounded any good but it felt right, no pics or thankfully recordings survive.
I believe this singers name was Joe but as soon as he stepped up I knew that he was a singer, Joe performed "Rocket Ride" and "Black Diamond"As a matter of fact all of the singers were Great, Not one dud. It was a Great Evening Celebrating one of the bands New York City should be proud to call their own.
Brian's KISS OFF Ad.