my name is chris white. i am 25 years old and co-run the kiss website, kiss asylum along with my brother john white and my fiance elizabeth sneed. i work for a talent agency/website developing company called "talent source." i have been a big time kiss fan ever since 1981 when a friend of mine played some kiss records for me. i was hooked. i am a mac user and love fooling around on computers and designing websites. i love to play and watch sports (basketball and football mostly) and i also love to watch movies and workout.
2.) tell us about kiss asylum. how did it get started, current features, and what's in the future?
kiss asylum was born in october of 1995. i loved the idea of making a kiss website and there were very few out there at that time. i was a frequent visitor and participant on the aol and prodigy kiss boards, where kiss news seemed to always surface. it was my dream to present a kiss website that would be sort of the ap newswire of kiss news on the web, or better yet a kiss newspaper where new kiss news could be presented daily to the kiss army online -- that was my early vision. we originally called the website "deuce's asylum" (after my prodigy bb call name of "deuce"), but then changed it to "kiss asylum." for the record, we did not name the website after the kiss album "asylum," that is just a coincidence. but actually an "asylum" can be defined as a "haven," and that is what we see kiss asylum as, as a haven and a refuge for kiss fans.
kiss asylum grew from a predominately news website to the all encompassing website it is now. i wanted to offer more than just news on the webpage so that during those times when kiss news is "slow" fans would still have new and interesting things to see and read about. but at the same time, we have always and will continue to always focus primarily on kiss news, and will never let that area "suffer" because of the expansion and other areas of the website. if fans of kiss asylum would like to know more about the "history" of kiss asylum they can check out our "about the asylum" page at http://kissasylum.com/biography.shtml
over the last year or so kiss asylum has introduced some very nice and exciting unique features on the webpage. many of these features are not one time things but "on going" features. one of our goals in introducing these features was to develop features that made the online army think. we wanted to provide quality features that we were proud of and that the online community could be proud of -- we don't want to insult the kiss army online's intelligence. we know there are a lot of smart, independent thinkers out there that always want to read about kiss, and it is our aim to give those fans something to enjoy. here is a list of some of the exciting features you can check out when you visit kiss asylum:
**kiss fact of the week [circulation: weekly] -- this feature is currently the longest running website feature on the internet, over 2 years old and counting. each week bob rodrick sends in an interesting "kiss fact" for people to digest and learn. it is a fun way to learn your kisstory.
**kiss thought vault [circulation: bi-monthly] -- kiss thought vault is the brainchild of ron albanese. ron is a very intelligent guy who writes about different and interesting aspects of kiss. his articles are always interesting because he usually takes a different spin on each given subject, making people look at it in a different light.
**diamonds in the rough [circulation: monthly] -- in keeping with trying to bring "quality" writing and thought to kiss asylum, we asked "black diamond" author dale sherman if he was interested in writing a monthly column on kiss related topics. like the kiss thought vault, this is another column that brings to light interesting aspects of kiss, and dale's columns are usually very current with what is going on in the kiss scene.
**kiss video spotlight [circulation: monthly] -- byron fogle came to us one day and asked us if he could do a feature on kiss videos. we thought that was a great idea because one of the most treasured things a kiss fan has is their video tape collection. each month byron explores a different kiss video and conducts a poll on what fans think of the videos. for fans that have always had the video byron usually points out some very interesting tidbits, and sometimes you wonder how you missed that particular item in the video. for fans that don't already have the video, they can learn more and know what it is about before they search for it.
**a world without heroes online novel [circulation: weekly] -- dale sherman, author of "black diamond," came to us and said he had this novel that he worked on in the 80's for a fanzine but never finished or published it. he asked us if we wanted to publish it at kiss asylum and we said heck yeah! so, each week online fans can read a new chapter of this great adventure with kiss. i think it is very cool that fans online can read a full kiss book online and not have to purchase it! currently this feature is on a small hiatus while dale finishes up his alice cooper book, but we expect it to resume in october of '98.
**digital kiss art gallery [circulation: monthly] -- for the longest time we have been big fans of patrick vick's online digital art, so we approached him to see if he wanted to show off some of his art at kiss asylum. we wanted to make sure people online knew about his art and we wanted to give it the best possible visibility online. each month patrick sends in another kiss masterpiece! it seems each month he amazes me with some of the things he can do. you really gotta check out his work!
**kiss comics online [circulation: monthly] -- this is a very unique kiss feature on the web. mike (nite owl's world of kiss art) and bill have combined their talents and created their very own online kiss comic book! this is something we have wanted to do for the longest time. we got mike and bill together and they have done a great job with it, each month presenting 3 new panels/frames of the story for everyone to read and look at on kiss asylum. check it out!
**kiss army online fan focus [continuously ongoing] -- kiss asylum is all about fan involvement and this feature exemplifies this. here we wanted to present a way for fans to express themselves through a variety of different topics. currently we have a sections that asks for fans to send in pictures of them in their warpaint -- their kiss make up; where fans can send in pictures of their kiss tattoos; and where fans can send in pictures of their kiss shrine -- the area in their house that is totally dedicated to kiss.
**kiss fanzine focus -- kiss asylum has become somewhat of a fanzine haven over the last 2 years. currently there are 7 online fanzines that reside on www.kissasylum.com. we wanted fans that visit kiss asylum to get to know them better, so this focus is an in-depth interview with all of the fanzine editors that have fanzines at kiss asylum. get to know the editors behind the fanzine and learn more about each fanzine.
**kiss asylum poll [circulation: monthly] -- in our efforts to get more input from the online community we decided early this year that we wanted to do a kiss asylum poll. each month we present a new question for the online community to vote on and give their thoughts about, and then we tally up the results and opinions and give the final stats at the beginning of the next month. some very interesting thoughts and opinions are tabulated each month, so go vote and check it out. kiss asylum has to say a big thanks to gina hill and charlie zost for their help in doing the kiss asylum poll.
other things of note at kiss asylum: 11 worldwide news affiliates which present kiss news in their own languages. these websites came to kiss asylum and asked to team up and do this, and we are honored. this helps foster a true kissnation, with kiss fans all over the world being able to read the latest kiss news.
i also want to mention one more aspect of kiss asylum. this is not a "feature" so to speak, but is a very important and widely used area of kiss asylum -- the interactive features of kiss asylum. kiss asylum has a 24/7 chat room that never seems to be empty. fans visit the chat room all the time and just last week i got an email from a fan that said that because of the kiss asylum chat room they were able to meet their significant other and got engaged! it really makes you feel good to know that people that have met through your chat room, found love and happiness and now want to spend the rest of their life together!
along with the chat room, in july kiss asylum, union asylum and bruce kulick's virtual studio joined forces to create the online bulletin board message center. this message center is home to 4 different online bulletin boards: kiss army online, union board, bruce kulick's virtual studio board, and kiss traders board. for online fans this is your one stop place to discuss all aspects of kiss. the boards have become a huge success with over 100 posts a day on the boards and over 10,000 posts since it opened. bruce kulick, brent fitz, and john corabi of union are all members of this board and you can be too just by registering -- registration is free. everyone should come and check out these boards because there is a lot of fun discussion going on there!
3.) which original features at your site are you most proud of?
with some many features it is tough to pick a favorite. they all are special in their own way and all contribute differently to the online world and kiss asylum. one of the features that i am very proud of is a feature that was done jointly with kiss asylum and union asylum called "state of the union." this feature had bruce kulick and john corabi of union commenting on all the songs off of their new album in different installments, as well as fielding fan asked questions. the fact that we were able to get band members to actively participate with online websites was tremendous. currently "state of the union" is on hiatus while the band is on the road, but we will start it up again in the future. maybe down the road the current members of kiss will actively participate on their official kiss website, but until then you can get your fill of bruce kulick's participation with union asylum and kiss asylum via "state of the union."
4.) many internet kiss-fans rely on your site for kiss news. how do you approach this, and what "rules of thumb" do you use to decide which news to post?
kiss websites have grown in the past 3 years that is for sure! in the beginning i think all of us were fans and just reported whatever we could get our hands on. but now we feel we have a duty at kiss asylum to make sure to only print the most credible kiss news pieces. obviously any kiss news is rumor until confirmed by band, that is a given. but the problem is that sometimes it takes "forever" for the band to confirm the news through "official" channels even when it is true. if we hear reports about something that kiss is going to do, from a source we know and/or trust as credible then we will probably report it. we do always try to confirm the news whenever possible with a secondary source to provide the most accurate news we can, but, of course we are not perfect and have never claimed to be -- no one who is willing to go beyond towing the "official" line can be. we just try to provide a place and a forum where the kiss army online can send in any credible kiss news for all to read.
i am sure most of you have noticed that the majority of kiss news reported on kiss asylum is not from kiss asylum ourselves, but rather from the fans who comprise the kiss army online. kiss asylum is the voice of the kiss army online, and it is "their page" to report news that they see, hear and read. we always make sure to give everyone credit for any news they send in via a hyperlink (unless they request otherwise for some reason), and we have never taken "credit" for a news story sent to us by a fan before we saw it elsewhere, even if it was something we could go get from another source ourselves and claim as "our find." we are 100% fan oriented at kiss asylum and are very proud of that, and think the overwhelming outpouring of fan support and participation on kiss asylum speaks volumes of how involved the fans feel with the page.
5.) on average, how many hours a week do you devote to your site?
it really varies and depends on the type of work involved. creating graphics, adjusting pictures, scanning pictures, etc can take a long time. on average i would say we spend about an hour or so each night, with a little more than that put in on the weekend. but as i said, sometimes we can spend a whole night on it and other times we don't spend time on it at all...it all varies. as far as our website goes, since it is based on giving the online community news the times that are our busiest are when there is a lot of news coming out.
6.) you have one of the most respected and recognized kiss sites on the net. what do you attribute this too?
simple, our fellow fans. kiss asylum was not the first website online, but was one of the earlier ones, and we worked very hard to make sure it was a site we could be proud of. i think our organizational skills and the feel for what our fellow fans in the online community want has made kiss asylum very successful. obviously we work hard online to promote it, but at the end of the day no matter how much you try to hype something up if it does not deliver then the webpage won't be visited, recognized or respected. the primary goal since kiss asylum's inception was to provide news, and i think the format which we have designed is a great one for completing that objective. as far as being recognized goes, i think that has a lot to do with the fans. the fans see how much participation is involved by their kiss army brothers and sisters and they also want to get involved. kiss fans love to help each other out and share news and kiss asylum is their vehicle to do that.
7.) what advice would you give other kiss webmasters?
do your own thing, do what makes you happy. also, don't let your website be a ball and chain attached to your leg. do it because you love it for what it is, not because you feel it is a "necessity" or for what you think it can bring you. and take breaks from working on your website, frequently! take time off and do other non-computer related things like hang out with friends and socialize, spend time with your family and significant other, in short, take a "reality check." remember that all the website really is is a way to have fun and express your individuality and artistic talents.
8.) what do you feel are the most positive and negative aspects of the on-line kiss community?
certainly the negative in my mind is all the "politics" of the online community. in the past 3 years i have done kiss asylum i have seen a lot of bs come and go and it gets really tiring. i have seen a lot of pettiness, backstabbing, selfishness, and manipulation. some of the things i have seen i only thought happened in movies or soap operas! i kid you not! a lot of this goes unseen by casual online viewers, but i think some of it can be seen by those who look closely enough. and if you have no clue what i am talking about then be glad! lol!
but with that said, the positives highly outweigh the negatives. i immensely enjoy the interaction with other online fans and enjoy helping out my fellow online fans with any news, tour dates, etc asylum can give them. i also love being able to give fans online a forum to talk via the bulletin board message center and the kiss asylum chat room. because of those places friends have been made and in one instance that i know of two fans met in our chat room and got engaged! when i stop to think that because of kiss asylum and the chat room two people found love that really makes me feel good.
9.) kiss has opened an official kiss website. what effect do you feel this will have on fan-based kiss sites?
honestly, i think it will have a very little effect. the fans know what they like and what they want, and unless the official website delivers the goods then the fans won't care. if the official website is one big commercial they won't care. don't get me wrong, kiss online.net definitely has some promise, but it has to "live up" to that infamous kiss hype -- that's very important. i do hope it does well though.
10.) do you have any personal kiss stories you would like to share?
instead of sharing a kiss story and dropping names or anything like that i would rather share something else that to me is much more important. it is the "kiss story" i am most proud of and the one that made the biggest impact in my life. on day back during the reunion tour i was bored and decided to go online on aol and go into the kiss army online private chat room to talk to friends about kiss. as time passed more and more fans left (because they had lives and had work the next day), until there were only 3 names left in the room. one of the names was "kissasylum," another was "kidcelt," and another was a name i can't remember but the person was pretending to be "gene simmons." lol! =)
well, kissasylum (me) and kidcelt had a great time that night trying to trip up this gene simmons faker and enjoyed stumping "mr. simmons" with virtually every question we asked. i talked more and more that night with kidcelt and and we even sent each other our pictures. as the days passed we started calling each other on the phone and talking for hours at a time. then came the first meeting in person..... followed by many others. well, next thing you know i've gone and asked "kidcelt" to marry me. she accepted. as you may or may not have summized by now, "kidcelt" is my fiance, elizabeth sneed (now known on aol as "mzcharisma").
when i think about kiss and the kiss lifestyle, i think about how because of kiss i was able to meet my perfect match, my future wife. no meeting with any kiss member or concert experience could ever match the magnitude of meeting my soul mate. i feel very fortunate and can directly attribute the "kiss lifestyle" for that chance, wonderful meeting.
and on that note i think i will conclude this interview. i hope everyone hung in there to the end! lol! i know it was long, but i had a lot to say and i want to thank ken and lynn at kiss dominion for allowing me to do so via this interview! you guys are great!