Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To



Is there a difference between Cold Gin, which was written by a man who didn’t like gin (at any temperature) and sung by a famous teetotaler, and Picasso Moon, which was written by a guy who guest-starred on a couple of Star Trek episodes and sung by Bobby? KISS was at least honest about their songs simply being cool-sounding word salad; Bobby, however, was convinced that he was being deep with that “fractal flame” hoo-ha.


Sometime in late 1972, Bobby picked up an issue of the Village Voice. Turning to the classifieds in search of a second-hand moped and lightly-owned sexual devices, he read an ad seeking a guitarist with flash and balls.

No, he did not. Bobby did not join KISS. Stop it.

After Peter Criss left the band in 1980, Billy showed up at the audition with a giant fist painted on his face; he proceeded to headbutt dicks all afternoon while crowing proudly, “This counts!”

That didn’t. It no. Bad you.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not actually listening to KISS. I wouldn’t do that to myself. I’ve been playing Alive! at the gymnasium and last week I went through the four or decent albums, but it’s passed and I won’t have to actually listen to them again for a year or so. The Dead’s back on: the Spring ’90 Box, to be precise.

Luckily, it is okay for an Enthusiast to mock KISS and everything it stands for. The merchandising, the T-Shirts, the image remaining in amber while the persona curdled around the humans involved. All the limited releases, and re-issues. The fetishization of pieces of clothing, bits of gear, instruments. No matter who’s singing the high harmony parts. Dogged defender-ism of even the shittiest of years and tours and lineups (in public, at least.) The endless reunions and semi-reunions and farewell shows and you need a scorecard to tell the players.

Lovers of the Grateful Dead would never put up with such nonsense, never stand for such a thing: we’re sophisticated, you see.


Not to belabor a point, but the bit from Ace’s book about Paul drawing dicks in business meetings is a life-changer. I cannot overstate how fond I am of this spiteful little detail.

Picture it: you’re an accountant or an intern or something, trying to have a human business meeting and across the table is this guy…


…and that’s the face he’s making at you. I’m not going to go on a length about this, but even before the surgeries started, Paul only had five or six facial expressions and the one above is “I believe you were speaking about me?”

So, Paul is making that face at you and being serious and discussing the numbers and not being insane and you look at the legal pad in front of him, and it’s wall-to-wall dicks. A garden of doodled, veiny, bic-pen blue dicks. And it’s only ten minutes into the meeting and you’ve been watching him drink his coffee for five of those minutes, so when was there even time to draw all those dicks? How fucking fast can Paul Stanley doodle dicks? And he doesn;t have, like, a stock dick: there’s big and small and cut and uncut; some of them plump in the middle.

What I’m saying is: thought went into every dick and there’s too many of them so: holy shit, did Paul fucking Stanley BRING a legal pad full of dicks he’s drawn with him to the meeting? On second glance, there have been at least three pens used and–the breeze just ruffled the pages of his pad and fuck me, it’s dicks all the way down. That’s his dick pad: Paul Stanley has a dick pad and he brought it the business meeting to look like a business person.

And now, of course, you have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the meeting: it’s just people blathering about revenue streams and tour dates and the costs of stage blood nowadays, but all you can think about is Paul’s dick pad and the quotidian nature of it: has Paul ever forgotten it? In the car on the way to the meeting, he realizes it’s not there. Does he turn around?

“Whew, glad I noticed. Couldn’t have a meeting without my legal pad full of dick doodles!”

So you realize that you;ve been staring for a while, and you look up and see Paul staring into your soul and his face splits down the middle and the sound of the Abandoned Gods returning howls through his skull.

It wasn’t a dick pad: it was a trap.

You need a hug?

I do, yes. I do need a hug.


  1. Years back when I was in the Air Force, Mike France, whose Tucson apartment furnishings were 50% mattress and 50% motorcycle, and who is probably still doing this to people, sat next to me at a meeting full of squadron brass. I forget what about, but it was something bad that we were supposed to appear serious for. Five minutes in, he passed me a folded paper just like this one, 8.5×11″ of wall-to-wall dicks. The meeting didn’t go well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.