When I was a kid, I had friends whose parents wouldn’t let them listen to Kiss. Some of them claimed that the band was Satanic — the name supposedly stood for Knights in Satan’s Service, or something to that effect. Others thought the makeup and costumes too decadent for young eyes, not to mention the music. My parents, God love ’em, must have been too oblivious to know much about them.
Well, it turns out that the guys from Kiss aren’t so bad after all. In fact, they’re one of the most patriotic bands in the rock world. Witness a recent show in Worcester, Massachusetts, where the band led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and played a blistering rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. From Truth Revolt:
Kiss put their patriotism and love of our military in the forefront by giving Hiring Our Heroes $150,000 and selecting a current member of the National Guard or Reserve in all 32 cities of the tour to be a roadie for the day to work backstage with the crew and prepare for the evening’s concert. In addition, Kiss partnered with Veteran Tickets Foundation which offers discounted tickets to veterans. To top it all off, the band also gave $125,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
But it gets better. At a recent stop in Worcester, Massachusetts, this week, Kiss brought its roadie for the day onstage, along with other members of the military past and present, and led the entire arena in the Pledge of Allegiance, something the band has done before. However, this one had a bit of a special message to a particular NFL player — a not-so-subtle knock to the recent shenanigans by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, lead singer Paul Stanley said:
“You should remember, patriotism is always cool. Loving your country is always cool. Standing up, respecting and honoring our military is always cool. So, to show some respect between pick-throwing, we’re going to put our right hands over our hearts and why don’t we say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
You might find yourself tempted to think that Kiss is jumping on an easy bandwagon by making digs at Kaepernick and his ilk, but for Kiss, moments like the one in Worcester are part of a long line of patriotism on the part of the band. For the last several years, Kiss has donated $1 of every ticket sold to the Wounded Warrior Project, and in 2011 alone, they raised half a million dollars.
Kiss has included patriotism and tributes to the U.S. military and veterans for years as well. I’ve found clips on YouTube dating back as far as 2004 in which Stanley and the rest of the band show their love for the red, white, and blue and the men and women who have fought to defend it.
I can’t help but admire a band that has labelled their current tour the Freedom to Rock Tour, launched it on July 4, and has done so much to help veterans, troops, and their families. In an era in which so many celebrities have taken hard stands against the country that gave them the freedom to do what they love — biting the hand the feeds them — it’s refreshing and encouraging to see guys like Kiss using their platform to do good and to give back.
I can’t help but wonder if some of those parents who hated — or at least looked down on — Kiss back in the day will read this and think differently of them.
The relevant part of the video begins around 2:54.