KISS and Motley Crue want you to get off their lawn, and take your fancy headsets, choreographed dance moves, perfect abs, and glowy lighty things home with you. Because, starting July 20, they’re going to remind the world that rock stars forgot lyrics, blew stuff up, and fumbled with actual instruments. And we liked it.
At a press conference held in Los Angeles yesterday, the two bands announced their 40-city tour, kicking off in Bristow, VA and winding through Tampa, Houston, and Pittsburgh, before eventually settling down in Hartford, CT. The tour is called “The Tour.”
The Tour? Oh no. They went iconic on us. Which is the only thing worse than going ironic. Because even if irony is the all-too-common, go-to thing now, an ironic tour name such as Grandfathers of Rock would acknowledge the sense of humor necessary to truly enjoy watching 50+ year-old men sweating to the oldies. When anyone from this demographic says “The Tour,” I can’t help but picture something more along the lines of this:
Before I go any further, I want to make it known that I love KISS and Motley Crue. In fact, KISS was the first “cool grownup thing” that I exposed my kid to. We were in the car flipping stations one day when “Rock and Roll All Nite” came on. That evening, I showed him KISS videos on YouTube. When the only thing competing with “Detroit Rock City” is “Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car,” you know the KISS Army will gain a foot soldier that night. And dad, by extension, will get cool points too.
So are you seeing the dilemma I’m faced with here? KISS, and therefore dad, is still cool in my son’s eyes. Gene Simmons still spits blood and Motley Crue still shouts at the Devil. But at yesterday’s press conference, all they shouted at were the young whippersnappers killing rock ‘n roll.
“So whatever pop artist you see dancing around on a stage lip synching, that’s a con game and that’s not a live concert. If you want karaoke, go to a karaoke bar,” said KISS’ Paul Stanley, as he fiddled with the blinking 12:00 on his VCR.
Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee changed the cassette in his answering machine, then echoed, “It’s f***ing pathetic to watch people go out and f***ing karaoke with a bunch of lights and video. It’s all completely watered down.”
Of course, Gene Simmons had the last word when he remarked, “No fake bullshit. Leave that to the Rihanna, Smhianna and anyone who ends their name with an A.”
If my son gets wind of this, these two bands will equate to little more than the guy who smells like pee and yells at squirrels at the park, and I will have to listen to someone who ends their name with an A to earn my cool points back. I really don’t want it to come to that.
So KISS and Motley Crue, if you’re listening: old becomes iconic on its own, quietly and with dignity. Being old isn’t uncool. Look at Clint Eastwood. Bad. Ass. Look at Willie Nelson. Out. Law. Betty White? Rock. On.
Please leave pop music to the youngsters and simply don the spandex, apply the greasepaint, and load up the pyrotechnic cannons. Because if your fans leave your show “deaf and blinded… stumbling out” as you promise, I want that not to be a function of their average age, but rather of how hard you rocked it.