Exclusive – Kiss Roadies Share Memories of the Band’s Early Shows With Rush and Black Sabbath
The four guys who made up the original 'Kiss Krew' -- roadies Peter "Moose" Oreckinto, J.R. Smalling, Rick Munroe, and Mick Campise -- share their stories about working for the band during its rise to fame in their new book, 'Out on the Streets.'
Like a lot of young groups in the '70s, Kiss occasionally found themselves lumped in with some less-than-obvious acts on multi-band bills, and in the 'Out on the Streets' chapter 'Remembering a Few of the Bands That We Worked With,' the Krew recount their experiences supporting their bosses while they shared the stage with some of the bigger names in '70s rock, as well as a couple of future legends.
They have especially fond memories of working with Rush, partly because the band went out of its way to thank the Krew in the liner notes of the 1975 album 'Caress of Steel.' "That was just pure respect for us," noted Campise. "For who and what we were."
It also happened because, as Munroe pointed out, "we helped them whenever we could" -- up to and including indulging Alex Lifeson's routine as "The Bag." Recalled Campise, "He'd take one of those huge paper bags that hotels provided for dirty laundry, draw some ridiculous face on it and wear it over his head and upper body. He looked kinda like SpongeBob SquarePants, now that I think of it."
The foursome recall that Rush were eventually "thrown off our tours" because Paul Stanley felt threatened by Lifeson's stage antics ("he would go from the corner of the stage and run to the microphone"), but Kiss had no such worries when they shared a bill with Black Sabbath and ended up winning over the crowd.
Calling Ozzy Osbourne "one of the hippest guys that we ever worked with," the book recounts the aftermath of Kiss' opening set for Sabbath on August 2, 1975, a performance that "we all knew ... had been flawless." The crowd agreed, according to the Krew; in fact, they remember hearing the audience chanting for Kiss "since the last flash pod in 'Black Diamond,' through the entire set change and then continued during the first 20 minutes of Sabbath's show!"
Instead of taking offense, Osbourne visited Kiss' dressing room after the show and shook everyone's hand, even allowing that "Anytime the headliner can't hold their crowd, they shouldn't be headlining."
Those are just brief bits from a couple of the many stories in 'Out on the Streets.' If you'd like to read more, including plenty of detailed information about the inner workings of the Kiss stage show in the '70s, you can order the book here.
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