Friday, August 28, 2009


Memo to Mr. Simmons: Don’t mess with the ‘Shwa! I had been sure that it was a Touchdown in the making when the good citizens of Motor City North were working themselves into a froth at the beginning of the week, after their fair burgh was nowhere to be seen on the list of cities announced for the upcoming tour by fire-breathing rockers KISS. The band – usually masters of marketing and hype – had been running an online contest to let fans decide which stops would be included on the “KISS Alive 35” tour. Oshawa was the hands-down winner, with more ‘Shwa residents than anywhere else signing on to say they want the Kabuki-clad Psycho Circus to come to town. Too bad, was the initial, official word out of the KISS camp. “The size of the production turned out to require a larger venue," KISS spokesman Erik Stein told the Toronto Star on Monday. "In this case, that turned out to be the Air Canada Centre." Oshawa KISS fans – and members of city council who had been championing the effort – went nuts. And rather than it turning out to be yet another brilliant publicity stunt, with some kind of el supremo bonus surprise being kept cleverly behind the curtain, word came that it was, in fact, a communications Fumble. Guitarist Paul Stanley later revealed that the plan was to hit Oshawa on the second leg of the tour – but the story fueled by Stein’s comment was that they weren’t coming at all. An extra stop was hastily added on to leg one in response to the uproar. Then Gene Simmons dropped the ball again, blaming the media for whipping the whole thing up – and, while he was at it, the fans for being just plain stupid: “Respectfully, the fans aren't qualified to understand how things are done ... (they) don't know how things work," he sniffed. Stanley, for his part, was smart enough to part ways with his band-mate’s comments, saying "The media was carrying the dissent and upset feeling of the fans. They weren't creating anything, they were reporting it. Don't blame the messenger." All in all, it was a mess – and an especially surprising one, given KISS’ usual talent for deftly managing its marketing communications, as witnessed by the band’s incredibly consistent moneymaking ability.

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