20 Questions with Ren5150

This time around we do 20 Questions with Ren5150.  Ren always seems to be the guy people go to when there are questions of does or does not exist in the bootleg world.  Thought it might be fun to get to him a little better

1. For Anybody who might not know you, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a life long fan from the Bronx, New York. Grew up just minutes away from Ace’s childhood home!
I’ve been involved in a variety of KISS projects from the VH1 specials to KISSOLOGY and what is in my opinion,
the best live history book on ANY band ever, Kiss Alive Forever. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of other books
and DVD/CD releases over the years as well.

2. When did you become a KISS fan?

At 5 years of age I found KISS Alive 2 at a cousins house. At that age, when you open the gatefold and see that photo,
you are hooked. That excitement has never left.

3. What other bands / kinds of music are you into besides KISS?

I enjoy all kinds of music but always return to rock and catchy riff based music. It all depends on mood. Could be KISS
or U2 or even Joe Bonamassa.

4. What is your best KISS memory?

There are so many. Seeing the band at the Ritz in 92, first night of the reunion tour in MSG, the MTV awards show,
meeting the band a few times. As I said, so many….

5. How do you feel about the state of KISS today?

I think the mid 2000’s were a routine and somewhat boring period for the band. Sonic Boom energized them and that
continues now with Monster. I don’t care that Tommy wears Ace’s make up or Paul’s voice isn’t as strong. My favorite
band is making new music that is really, really good. We are all pretty damn lucky.

6. What was the fist KISS show you saw and what are your memories of it?

June 28th Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY. There are so many memories, the excitement of the crowd, the volume of the
crowd singing along…… I think one of the most exciting was during “I Want You”, the lighted KISS logo rose from behind
Eric’s kit. It was chilling.

7. What is your favorite KISS lineup?

That is a toss up between the originals and the 92 – 95 era.

8. List what you think is each members biggest contribution to the band
a) Paul Stanley  The driving force, non stop and always completely focused.
b) Gene Simmons  Took KISS from band to brand. Made KISS an iconic entity.
c) Ace Frehley  The tone and balls of the band. Bluesy, ballsy and the right mix of rockstar and space cadet.
d) Peter Criss The heart and soul of the band. Gave the original band a groove that nobody else could match.
e) Eric Carr  The fans member. When he joined, his innocence invigorated the band. As the years went by, he became
the go to member for the fans. The guy who remembered how it was to be in the audience, scraping $$ together to
buy tickets. A great drummer and a sweet soul.
f) Vinnie Vincent  Great songwriter with the band, was a nice fit for the era he was involved in but never really “fit”.
g) Mark St. John  Never thought Mark fit in well. His style, tone, look etc all seemed to clash with the band. However,
what could have been would surely have been interesting.
h) Bruce Kulick  SPRUCE! Bruce brought stability and a solid lead guitar for 12 years. As time went on, he added his
own flavor to the band and the old tunes. Plus, a great guy and he is NEVER not working, Always providing new music,
shows, expos etc for the fans.
i) Eric Singer  When Eric passed, it was hard to imagine anyone could replace him but Eric Singer did and did so extremely
well. His drumming is the perfect mix of Peter and Eric Carr.
j) Tommy Thayer  At first I found him awkward until he had a tour under his belt. Then Tommy came out of his shell. By Sonic
Boom, he OWNED the position. His tone is great, style is more old school bluesy rock and his work on Sonic Boom is classic
KISS.

9. What is Your favorite KISS song? Your least favorite?

Fave: Love Gun. Least Fave: Read My Body. Dear God that was awful.

10. How and when did you get started collection KISS bootlegs?

In the early 80’s I found a bootleg shop in the Bronx. Saw Ego’s At Stake on vinyl and it was described by the owner as a rare
import. I was hooked. First one I ever owned ended up being “Sneak Attack”.

11. Not long ago, 3 songs leaked out in MP3 format (Mistake, Fire (It’s
Not The Smoke), DRC (demo)) and some people where upset about the leak
and afraid other rare stuff may not surface now. Based on your
knowledge, how did this affect the KISS bootleg world?

I don’t think it had any affect on the bootleg world but it did cause some issues with people who held those songs privately
and were possibly negotiating with the band and/or catalog owners for future proper release.

12. How cut throat is the “inner circle” of KISS bootlegs. Some stories
or examples would be nice, but please no names

Calling it an inner circle is misleading. There is no team of fans that have a giant room filled with reels and DAT’s etc.
For years it was more like one trader telling another about this rare tape he/she has and working out a rare swap. There is
always some sort of drama going on among some folks in that world because they see it as a way to “one up” the next guy and
then brag about what they have found. Those who don’t brag and keep things quiet are usually the ones with the best rarities. 😉
13. Over the years, we’ve all heard rumors of shows existing. New
Orleans 83 is the best example I can think of. Is there a show that
everyone thinks is out there but you know its not.

I can say that everyone from fans who know how to find rare things to the band and their Kissology label researchers
have searched for N.O. 83 and nothing has ever been found. The rumors of pro LIU or Asylum show are just that. I’ve never
seen anything that even hinted at pro shows existing in the bands archives or elsewhere.

14. Largo 77 was rumored and fought about for years before the boot was
out in the “trading circle”. Then out of nowhere NY 77 comes out.
Whats the chances of something like NY 77 happening again?

Do you mean Detroit 77? You never know who might have something hidden away or what is sitting in some storage place.
However, the number of venues that filmed the band in the old days were few and far between. If it was filmed and has
not been released, the chances of it popping up get less and less every passing year.

15. What is your holy grail of bootlegs? (Even if it does not exist!)

I’d love to see a complete, pro shot, mint condition Creatures show. Something from the US Tour. Or the Palladium 80 show
that sadly was not filmed.

16. How many…
a) times have you seen KISS live? 112 times.
b) bootlegs do you own? ALL of them. Or, thousands.
C) times have you tapped or filmed a show? Perhaps a few.

17) Last time…
a) paid cash for a bootleg? Within the last 3 months. I like some of the packaging on some of the newer releases.
b) Watched a whole bootleg all the way through? Last week. Always good to run on the iPad while working away.
c) Purchased any KISS merchandise? Within the last 3 months.
d) Saw KISS live? 3 weeks ago. Opening night of “The Tour”.

18. Have you ever been contacted by someone inside the KISS camp?

Yes, a few times for a variety of reasons.

19. Ever met anyone in the band?

I have met everyone in the band a number of times. Most times as a fan but a few times in a business setting.
Everyone has been gracious for the most part.

20. Your parting thought about anything KISS.

I am always reminded how lucky we are as fans are today. Nearly 40 years in and we have tours, new albums,
DVD’s, toys, books etc. I have taken non fans to shows and watched them leave with eyes wide with excitement.
Nothing tops a KISS show, never has, never will.

Thank you!

20 Questions with….

It dawned on me the other day that even though we are members of forums, trading boards, and all sorts of places…..sometimes we don’t really know the people who are doing the posting.  So in an effort to get to know each other and maybe hear some cool stories, I thought it might be fun to do an “interview” with just fans.  Ask them all sorts of KISS related questions and see what happens.  I based the style of the questions after the 20 questions that Metal Sludge does from time to time.  Some basic questions and then you can get into details about specific aspects of the persons fandom.  I mailed these  questions to two people off the bat and have one response back and waiting for the other.  If you have any suggestions on who I should do 20 questions with…let me know!!

So now…on to the questions…..

The first one to send the questions back was Pablo.  Better know as olbap12ar over at Stink and the FAQ.  IMO, he has a vast knowledge of KISS bootlegs, so I thought it would be fun to pick his mind.

My questions are in red, and Pablo’s answers are in black.  This is word for word what the answers were.  Hope you enjoy!!
(PS – this is Pablo’s avatar)

 

 

1. For Anybody who might not know you, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Pablo, a 41 years old KISS fan/collector from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2. When did you become a KISS fan?

In 1980.

3. What other bands / kinds of music are you into besides KISS?

Mainly hard rock and heavy metal from the 70s and 80s, like KISS, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Accept, Twisted Sister, Judas Priest… But I also like some other bands and artists, like some of the 50s and 60s rock & roll pioneers.

4. What is your best KISS memory?

My travel to Chile in 1994 to see the show and I ended meeting the band, doing an interview, attended to the soundcheck, etc.

5. How do you feel about the state of KISS today?

If the idea is to continue with the make-up, they are doing the right thing. Ace & Peter are no options anymore. As far as Gene & Paul are in the band, I don’t have big issues about Tommy and Eric using Ace’s and Peter’s make-ups. It’s good to have them creating new music again. We don’t have to forget that these are the very last bullets they have.

6. What was the first KISS show you saw and what are your memories of it?

Santiago, Chile Sep. 1st 1994. But first time I saw them live on stage was the day before doing the soundcheck, where they played all kind of strange stuff. The day of the show, we were at the lobby of the hotel with the band waiting for the moment to go to the venue and we got the information that there were some riots outside the stadium because the place was packed and there were still lot of people wanting to get in. We told about that to the band, and they invited to go with them to the show. We got a couple of taxis, and followed the 2 cars of the police and the 2 vans with the band. We entered the venue walking with KISS and seen the whole show on stage from Gene’s side. It was a great experience.

7. What is your favorite KISS lineup?

All lineups had highs and lows. Musically talking, the Revenge lineup is easily my favorite. In terms of live performance with make-up, surely the originals during 1973-1976 and the one with Ace and Eric Carr in 1980.

8. List what you think is each members biggest contribution to the band
a) Paul Stanley – he created KISS with Gene, and wrote a lot of great songs
b) Gene Simmons – he created KISS with Paul.
c) Ace Frehley – a few great songs and solos in the 70s.
d) Peter Criss – his drums sound up to 1976.
e) Eric Carr – he was the best drummer in KISS. He was great during the whole decade he was in KISS, not just a couple of years.
f) Vinnie Vincent – he co-wrote a lot in a great album like Lick It Up.
g) Mark St. John – his face at the back cover of Animalize.
h) Bruce Kulick – the best guitar player KISS ever had. Absolutely professional. His job at the MTV Unplugged was fantastic.
i) Eric Singer – absolutely professional. Amazing drummer. He helped the band sound killer in the early 90s.
j) Tommy Thayer – the right person to “do” the best Ace possible these days. Even better than Ace himself.

9. What is Your favorite KISS song? Your least favorite?

Detroit Rock City is my favorite. Least one? Almost all the ones from Carnival Of Souls. Even loving that lineup, I still don’t know why they ended doing that album.

10. How and when did you get started collection KISS bootlegs?

In the mid 80s. Probably around 1984. I got a cassette with a copy of “The Tickler” bootleg LP.

11. Not long ago, 3 songs leaked out in MP3 format (Mistake, Fire (It’s Not The Smoke), DRC (demo)) and some people where upset about the leak and afraid other rare stuff may not surface now. Based on your knowledge, how did this affect the KISS bootleg world?

Maybe some doors got closed, but not all.

12. How cut throat is the “inner circle” of KISS bootlegs. Some stories or examples would be nice, but please no names!

First of all, there’s not a very clear, strong and isolated inner circle of KISS bootlegs. What’s really out there is an amount of long time collectors -here and there- which after getting all what’s circulating just wanted to get more. They just put their time, brains and wallets to work on that. Not all those collectors get along fine. And like everything else in life, there’s people who can be trusted and others not. Those who piss off somebody will obviously get cut any access for more stuff in the future. That’s it.


13. Over the years, we’ve all heard rumors of shows existing. New Orleans 83 is the best example I can think of. Is there a show that everyone thinks is out there but you know its not.
As far as I was told, New Orleans 1983 is a myth. If a copy of it still exists, it’s not in hands of any known collector. There are all kind of myths about the existence of diverse recordings…. well, people like believing in unreal things.


14. Largo 77 was rumored and fought about for years before the boot was out in the “trading circle”. Then out of nowhere NY 77 comes out. Whats the chances of something like NY 77 happening again?
Who knows. Chances can be zero today, and tomorrow something it’s found or leaked.

15. What is your holy grail of bootlegs? (Even if it does not exist!)

There’s no ONE holy grail. Video stuff from the recording sessions from the 70s would be great. Maybe full pro-shots of Creatures of The Night, Lick It Up and Asylum….

16. How many…
a) times have you seen KISS live?10
b) bootlegs do you own? – thousands (LPs, tapes, VHS, CDs, DVDs)
C) times have you tapped or filmed a show?audio taped 6 shows in Buenos Aires.

17) Last time…
a) paid cash for a bootleg? – Not long ago I bought some old rare vinyls.
b) Watched a whole bootleg all the way through?Last year, the shows at the Kruise.
c) Purchased any KISS merchandise?Two old official cassette tapes, a couple of months ago. I don’t collect anything of KISS besides LP, CDs, DVDs, audios and videos.
d) Saw KISS live?Buenos Aires 2009.

18. Have you ever been contacted by someone inside the KISS camp?

Not directly, but when they started looking for stuff for the Kisslogy series, somebody who was in contact with them asked me if I’ve had or was able to get the entire pro-shot of Rio 1983 because they were looking for it very hard. It seems they didn’t found it.

19. Ever met anyone in the band?

Yes. The whole band in 1994. Also we did a phone interview with Peter Criss in 1994, and talked over the phone with Vinnie Vincent a couple of times in 1995 for a finally canceled visit of him to Argentina.

20. Your parting thought about anything KISS.

They’ve always been a great band with a very clear goal: entertain and bring fun to the people with their music and spectacle, all based in a formula they put together and refined. And I respect that a lot. I’ve got lot of fun with them during the last 3 decades.