Sunday, January 5, 2014

KISS comic blood and other rock 'n' roll myths


When I was an elementary school boy growing up in Bloomington, Minn., the "KISS Super Special" comic was all the rage. After all, it was printed in real KISS blood!

Or was it? In "Rock 'n' Roll Myths: The True Stories Behind the Most Infamous Legends," authors Daniel Durchholz and Gary Graff set the record straight on just how much KISS blood was in that comic book.

kiss comic blood
Turns out that there actually was KISS blood used. Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss each donated blood that was collectively mixed with the red ink used for the first issue of the Marvel/KISS comics.

My friends and I thought that the KISS trading cards also had blood in them. They sure smelled like it, after all! No clarification on that rumor, however.

Another KISS rumor had a bit more of an impact on me. My friend told me that KISS stood for Knights in Satan's Service. I couldn't have any satanic music in my house, so I took my KISS records and threw them in the trash!

No need to have done that, I guess, according to Durchholz and Graff, who quote Stanley:

That's ludicrous, but we had a lot of laughs about it. And it didn't hurt, you know? It created an aura of mystery around us, and mystery sells.

According to Durchholz and Graff, "Through research and personal contact, we've tried to get to the bottom of each story and not only ascertain the truth but explain how these myths come to be and then came to be spread."

In addition to the aforementioned KISS rumors, the book answers questions such as:
  • Did Led Zeppelin sign a deal with the devil?
  • How did Gram Parsons' corpse come to burn in the desert?
  • Did Mick Jagger and David Bowie spend the night together?
  • Was "Puff, the Magic Dragon" one toke over the line?
  • Weird Al Yankovic -- who's his daddy?
  • Does Ozzy have a taste for things with wings?
  • Marilyn Manson's spare rib?
  • Was Pink Floyd off to see the wizard? 
Durchholz and Graff left me hanging, however, by not answering two rock 'n' roll myths that have nagged me for a long time. The first myth deals with the Eagles, their album "Hotel California," and any links to Anton LaVey or satanism either in the title song or the album imagery.
Mike Tyson hangover
The other myth that I was hoping for clarification of was the one about the origins of the lyrics to Phil Collins' song "In the Air Tonight." Rumor has it that Collins himself threatened to have Mike Tyson give both Durchholz and Graff an uppercut if they revealed the truth behind that myth. . .

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!
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