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
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.