kiss tribute band

1.) please write a bio for gods of thunder.

derek (paul): 1st guitar at 15, 1st rock album bought - kiss alive 2. self taught on guitar, drums, and keys. been in bands in l.a., new orleans, tucson and eugene. fave bands: kiss, cheep trick, king's x, heart, queen**. guitarists: paul gilbert, george lynch, steve vai, blahblahblah... always loved the image of kiss, but didn't care for the early studio lp's.i loved the live stuff...the first song i learned when i discovered barre chords was rip it out. i was a different member each holloween - drove my father nuts. we are a fairly new addition to the tribute band scene, but we first did this before the reunion and it was more of a kooky thing to do. a lot of people showed up and we said to ourselves..."wow, we're onto something." i had some friends in l.a. that told me about tommy thayer's tribute band "cold gin", and i saw a little clip on mtv about the "day in the life" of spiro, gene's clone. so i knew there was some bands doing the full on show, but we just threw on some black clothes and makeup. (kinda' like stp did) but after the reunion, we had to get as close to them as we could. so we put together more elaborate love gun costumes and learned a bunch more tunes. i listened to kiss cd's non stop so paul's voice and phrasing would sink into my brain. we then added mike miller, who's a fantastic ace, and away we went...

mike (ace): for me, it all started when i was around 6...i heard kiss for the first time and that was it, they were my favorite band, no questions asked...i loved everything about them the music, persona, and all the theatrics they did on stage. by the time i heard ace's solo album, i knew i wanted to be ace. my mom always told me i couldn't be "bat-man" since he wasn't a real person, so i decided then i will be "ace". she couldn't argue with me that he wasn't real...i listened to alive! & alive 2 with a tennis racket hung around my neck like a guitar, and i filled up the netting of the racket with smoke bombs...i stated playing guitar when i was 11, but gave it up when my teacher wouldn't teach me rock & roll...i then grabbed all the books i could, and decided to teach myself. then i taught myself to play like ace. i was going to start a tribute band of my own before the reunion, but i just couldn't get the right type of people who were dedicated enough. then i received a call from derek asking if i would do a 4th of july show with him...from there, it just took off...

2.) how is the kiss tribute band business now that the original line-up has reunited?

derek (paul): the buzz about us is a lot stronger now than before the reunion. when we first played, it was mostly to all the rockers in the area, but now...we were on the local nbc news and some local radio, and the rooms have been packed to overflowing.

mike (ace): i feel that the reunion has "pulled" in more people from different backgrounds. the music scene was getting boring, and the reunion brought back the "showmanship" of rock & roll...

3.) what sets gods of thunder apart from other kiss tribute bands?

derek (paul): it's hard to say what sets us apart from the other kiss tribute bands becuz i haven't seen them. i've seen the web site for black diamond and they look & sound very awesome. the fact that paul stanley himself called benny doro as the coolest thing i ever heard. and all the other ones have put a lot of time and love into what they are doing. we do the blood, pyro, and smoking guitar. gene will spit fire when the club owner will let us...we try to do the best we can. if anything, we are constantly learning and adding songs to the show, and if someone in the crowd yells out "lick it up"...we'll do it. we're the only kiss tribute band in the northwest right now, which is cool.

mike (ace): i also think that we are one of the only tribute bands right now that puts on a 3+ hour set, with out any breaks...the only type of break we get when we're out on stage is if one of us is doing our effect, or solo. for example if our gene is playing a bass solo and spitting blood, the rest of us are standing to the side trying to catch our breath...for the crowd watching the show, you can be sure you won't hear us say..."we'll be back in 10..." unless we blow up an amp or something like that.

4.) what's the hardest aspect of re-creating a kiss show?

derek (paul): the hardest aspect of doing this for me is...those damn boots! what i've got now looks great, but they're not perfect, y'know? i've got such a limited budget that it is impossible to get anything custom done. and like every other fan out there, you want to look exactly like kiss when you dress up. hmmm...should i buy these rhinestones for my jacket or should i buy some food??? i've studied tapes and videos plus i'm a natural poser on stage so it hasn't been hard doing the paul thing. the clubs we've been doing don't really have the codes for the pyro, so we've been working with the local 4th of july whiz to get some "heatless" explosions happening. it all comes down to money. the hardest aspect of this is trying to do a great quality show with a very limited fund. but we have a blast doing it so you won't catch me complaining!

mike (ace): the "smoking guitar" is the hardest aspect for me. i've been trying to perfect this effect for a long time, and i just can't get the right effect. the smoke just isn't thick enough, or if it is, it won't last for more than a few seconds. now however i have got a pyrotechnic working on it for me, and we'll see how it goes...

5.) which songs do kiss fans request most at your shows?

derek (paul): most requested tune...depends on who's got the loudest voice. if you get the diehards there in front you'll hear a little bit of everything. sometimes you'll get the radio fans and it's always "rock & roll all nite". but if you watch them, it turns out they know all the other tunes anyway and they get looks on their faces like they didn't know it was kiss who did "that" song...

mike (ace): you hear quite a bit of requested songs, but we already have most of them in our set. one of the oddest requests that i've heard was "mainline" off of hotter than hell...not that it's a bad song or anything, but it's strange hearing people yell out for songs that weren't one of the "hits" from the album. when you think of the album hotter than hell, you think of the hits from the album. like the songs: hotter than hell, parasite, watchin' you, strange ways, comin' home, got to choose...but you almost forget about the songs like mainline...

6.) what are your personal favorite kiss songs to perform at gods of thunder shows?

derek (paul): my favorite songs that we do...i'm gonna' have to be a geek and say all of 'em...we've got the show paced out pretty well so there's no lag time and the excitement level's pretty high so, for me on stage, it's 2 to 3 hours of fun. and the crowd always digs whatever we do up there. it's really cool though, when you pull a tune out of the hat that suprises everyone. we did "is that you?" as an encore opener and the longhairs with the kiss shirts went nuts!!!

mike (ace): let's see...shock me, parasite, she, 2,000 man, firehouse ( i love to sit back and watch derek do his paul thing before and during that song...he really has the posing that paul does down, as well as a couple different speeches before the song starts) i actually can't pick any one song as a favorite since they are all great, and we try to put as much into every song as we can.

7.) any interesting gods of thunder road stories?

derek (paul): well like i said we're still pretty new to this tribute band thang. we haven't really racked up with a bunch of stories like "the time our bus broke down in front of a strip club..." or " the time when peter spontaneously combusted..."

mike (ace): well we had this show once, and while i was playing, i got the "air traffic controller" coming through my wireless....whoops....that was what happened to nigel in spinal tap. we really haven't got any road stories, yeah sure there have been some interesting things that have happened, but nothing like gene catching his hair on fire...

8.) what was your favorite, and least favorite, gods of thunder gig?

derek (paul): the thing i like the least is we have no "roadies" or crew who will help us set up the pre-show stuff. i'm not whining but we have the laziest gene & peter, so here you got ace and paul making banners, flyers, hanging signs, setting up interviews, designing passes, dealing with club owners, consulting with pyro techs, set lists... it's not all bubble gum and autographs, kids! as all other tribute bands will probably tell you, each show is an event. this ain't no 4 dudes in levi's playing zz top! and we're just bands trying to be a fraction of what kiss gives you! yikes! but any headaches are worth it when the show starts and everyone in the crowd is smiling and singing along. what i like best is you always get the hard-core fans who are examining everything you do to the last detail. they're standing there with the tour shirts on and the arms are crossed. but when we come out blazing and we look and sound like kiss, it may take 2 songs or it might take 6 or even 1, and they are loving us. they see that we are just as big of fans as they are, and we're all there to experience the fun of kiss. it's easy to show off in front of a bunch of girls, but the challenge is to get those kiss fans in your corner and we haven't failed yet.

mike (ace): everytime we do a gig, it becomes my favorite! i love every time we get a chance to go out and play. we are always adding a new element for each and every show we do, and that is what makes it so damn cool to do. if we had the funds to make the show perfect, we would certainly do it, but for now we add what we can, and make it work extremely well...the fans at the show know that we are having fun, and that allows them to join in and have fun right along with us. that's why every time we play it becomes my favorite...

9.) what goals do you wish to achieve as a kiss tribute band?

derek (paul): the ultimate goal to me would be to play at a kiss convention or some kind of kiss function...gene's birthday...paul's guitar tech's birthday...peter's daughter's birthday...just to be recognized as a worthy tribute band by kiss themselves would be cool.

mike (ace): i hope to play everywhere in the northwest as the gods of thunder...i love kiss they are great, and i have loved them since i was 6 years old. this band is a way for me to pay tribute to them, and let everyone who sees us, know what kiss is all about. if at all possible, i would love to have kiss know who we are, and possibly even endorse us as a major kiss tribute band.

10.) what's in the future for gods of thunder?

derek (paul): one of the tech's in cheap trick is a friend of mine and he's friends with some of the kiss techs so on this next tour i'm hoping to hand a video of us to one of the band. it's a good dream, right? "till then, i'm hoping the gods of thunder will keep playing everywhere we can.

mike (ace): i guess what i would really like to see happen is some kind of "sponsorship" or "management" that would allow us to play the northwest with some freedom. having to worry about going to a 9 to 5 job after you just played your heart out really takes allot out of you, but you have to pay for guitar strings, food, and a place to live...it's worth it though being a tribute band to the greatest band on earth...kiss...


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