Remember when KISS performed during the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade?
It was awesome. Not because it was a spectacularly good performance or anything. I mean, we’ve all seen them belt out way better versions of “Rock N’ Roll All Nite” than they’re gonna while lip syncing and being dragged along on a float at 11 in the morning. But it was a cool part of the parade where Holiday Tradition, Santa Claus, Spider-Man balloons and one of my favorite bands ever all coalesced while sitting around with the family and anticipating the big meal we’d be devouring in a couple of short hours.
One of the coolest parts, though, was how wild my oldest son went over KISS. He was almost 3 at the time, so you know, rock n’ roll was not his forte. KISS records play in regular rotation in our house, but at that age, music wasn’t shit if it wasn’t The Wiggles. But despite Garfield balloons, Santa, giant turkeys, a Sprout float (big deal in our house at that time), Ninja Turtles and everything else, KISS was what stood out to him the most. Unprompted by me, too. We rewound their performance probably dozens of times that morning at his request. He pulled his plastic guitar out of the toy bin, slung it on his neck, climbed on the coffee table, threw up some horns like Gene was doing and stuck his tongue out as far as he could.
And we watched that parade, and particularly that performance, countless times on DVR well into probably March.
The KISS phase
That Thanksgiving morning ignited a KISS obsession in him that lasted about a year. We listened to the CDs and records, he drew pictures of the band, wore his KISS shirts, dressed as Gene Simmons for “rock star day” at his pre-school, carried around plush KISS dolls and so on. When we were handing out invitations to his birthday party, the grandmother of another kid in his pre-school asked Joanna about gift ideas and said she knew he liked Gene Simmons. The summer after, in 2015, Scooby Doo! And KISS: Rock N’ Roll Mystery was released (which I wrote about 2 years ago), and we watched it. A lot. KISS was an everyday part of his life, as it was mine. All thanks to that Thanksgiving parade.
Now, of course, the obsession did not last. He’s almost 7 now and KISS does not take up much of his brain power any more. He’ll still throw out his Gene Simmons face upon request and sing along when certain songs come on. And he’s always down to watch the KISS/Scooby Doo movie.
Obsessions come and go for him. Paw Patrol, Spider-Man, Monster Squad, Godzilla, Sharks, Power Rangers, and tons more. But every time the obsession fades and that thing is no longer the focus of his attention, part of his love for that thing remains. It becomes a building block in his personality, another facet of the person he is and is becoming year after year.
And if and when the obsession hits him again, when he’s 10 or 15 or 20, I’ll have a KISS Army shirt and a copy of Rock and Roll Over waiting for him.