PUBLISHED 27 July 2017

Don't trust anyone who doesn't like KISS. KISS - like hot dogs, fast cars, blue jeans, bubblegum, cold beer & big tits is a purely likable thing. It's not a sophisticated taste, it's the same thing that makes a cheeseburger or a home run or even second base feel good. KISS is the pinnacle of Rock&Roll, the most Rock&Roll band to ever exist. Don't agree? You probably don't like hot dogs either.

"Live & think like a poor man & you'll always be OK." - Gene Simmons

When we started GOBLINKO - KISS was an integral part of shedding the progressive cultural trappings that stand as gatekeepers between ourselves & what we actually like. The prejudice of sophistication is always there looking to keep you from loving what you love. What do you get in return? The approval of other human candles walking around with snuffers on their heads. KISS break all of those rules - KISS is for the children, they made a lunch box, 12" dolls, Halloween costumes & comics for little kids - not for collectors! For the people! KISS took the New York Dolls - who were already a caricature of only the exciting parts of the Rolling Stones & essentialized that again - becoming a cartoon of a cartoon & then cranked it up. Wherever they could crank it up they did. I remember the first time I saw Peter Criss' drum riser on TV - with the Halloween cats yowling out on it, covered with rhinestones, smoke machines belching out tons of smoke & fireworks exploding to the beat. It was incredible.

"I was never interested in being a rock star. I always wanted to be Boris Karloff." - Gene Simmons

In 2002 I was 26, married & working at the Oakland Public Library. As much as I love books & was glad to be employed, I was not stoked to be working for someone else, not doing my thing. One fateful day I read Gene Simmons' "Kiss & Make-up" & it lit a fire under my ass like Rock&Roll pyrotechnics going off before I had a chance to get out of the way. Gene reminded me of who I was & moreso - what I was squashing in order to survive. I had already been trying to figure out how to live in America & not be depressed like all of my peers - & I had decided that "thinking like an immigrant" was the way to go because Oakland's Chinese & Mexican families were the most successful & happy. I hadn't figured out how to be over the top & make money at the same time because I had subscribed to the progressive Punk Rock politics of modesty & failure - which got me working a straight job & hating myself for it. I asked Katie if I could quit my job that night & promptly quit the next day.

"I wanted to be in a band that gave bang for the buck. I wanted to be in the band who didn't look like a bunch of guys who, you know, should be in a library studying for their finals." - Gene Simmons

Shame is a big motivator for people these days, it is totally natural & fine to want the approval of your fellows - but when our society has gotten progressively more & more restrictive & more obsessed with shaming people for standing out of line, there comes a time when you've gotta just make a break with them. It becomes time to break out the black leather & spandex, the studs & the rhinestones, the makeup, the fireworks & the smoke machines & go for it. People love this because this is why we're on Earth. To challenge the big no with the big yes.

"I'm in a weird band. We've done very well. The American Dream is alive & well." - Gene Simmons

I keep talking about hot dogs, Rock&Roll, comic books & the USA because these things are a thing to be, a grounding wire & something to rally around. KISS is a band that is as strange & unacceptable as anything dreamt up in this cockamamy world but they have almost universal appeal & this is important. It is important to know that we can be ourselves & we can be superhero or supervillain versions of ourselves & the people will love it & love you. Like a KISS.  

- Sean Äaberg







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