DJ Memoirs: Rock and Roll All Nite

The summer of 1983 was the first time I conducted a series of shows. My friends and I used to put on Kiss concerts and charge admission. It cost 10 cents to see a fifteen minute show. Danny was Gene, Joe was Ace, Chris was Peter and Brian was Paul. I was the manager who collected the money at the door, announced the band to the stage and controlled the lighting. At first I really wanted to be Ace Freley, but Joe was 14 and could put me down. Thus, I first became an emcee when I was eleven.

The Kiss Concerts that we conducted in Mike’s basement were epic (we had one in my families’ basement, but it was short lived). The gang painted their faces and dressed the part. We tried to recreate a Kiss concert down to the T. Danny, aka Gene, spit fake blood into the audience that consisted of Kool-Aid and Hunts, the finest ketchup that money can buy. We even rigged Joe’s guitar up to shoot rubber-bands into the audience in homage to Ace’s alien guitar superpowers.

The concert began with the audience seated in those cheesy card table chairs. The first show I think we had a full house with eight kids from the neighborhood. If I come to think of it, it might have been the entire Flannery family from down the street that we pulled in there. I stood at the door entrance and started rapidly flicking the light switches off and on. Since I am multifaceted, I then made the announcement, “You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world Kiss!!!!” Then I had to run over, cue up “Detroit Rock City”, start the record player and wave in the band.

The band rushed through the door and started to play their instruments. Ace actually had a real guitar while Gene merely played his air guitar. Paul just sang into his imaginary microphone while Peter played his imaginary drums. The highlights of the show included being spit on with fake blood, hit in the face with rubber-bands, serenaded in the front row to “Beth” and getting autographs back stage after the show.

That summer we conducted three concerts and each one got more extravagant. After looking back at these concerts, I actually now understand why I became a DJ.

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