Ready to rock and roll all night and party every day? The Plainview Holiday Inn hosts the inaugural Long Island KISS Rock & Roll Expo on Saturday, May 5, when merchants will sell KISS and other rock memorabilia. Enjoy photo-ops, autograph sessions and live performances with the following special guests:
The big brother of Bruce Kulick (KISS’ guitarist from 1984 to 1996) auditioned for the band when it was being formed. Although he didn’t make it in, Kulick remained friends with bassist-singer Gene Simmons and singer-rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley. When lead guitarist Ace Frehley had some issues, Kulick was called in to covertly play at some studio sessions, filling in on songs such as “Larger Than Life” from “Alive II” and “Nowhere to Run” from “Killers.”
“I would have kept it under my hat forever. I’m a man of my word,” says Kulick, 68, who will sell and sign his solo album, “Skeletons in the Closet.” “But, they owned up to it and I was glad that they did. I never said anything because it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
Ex-wife of original KISS drummer Peter Criss is also the author of the heralded KISS book, “Sealed With a Kiss,” which she will sell and sign.
“I was there from the beginning with my camera, plus I’m a pack rat, so I saved everything,” says Criss, who was the inspiration behind the band’s hit ballad, “Beth.” “KISS has a dedication and determination like no other. They don’t stop. I don’t know where they get the energy.”
JAY JAY FRENCH
The guitarist and founder of Twisted Sister also auditioned for KISS in the early ’70s. However, he didn’t quite fit in and would go on to form Twisted Sister six months later.
“KISS broke out eight years earlier than we did. They went from zero to 60 in 10 seconds. We went zero to 60 in 10 years. We took two very different pathways to making it,” says French, 65, who lived in Massapequa and Garden City during his time in Twisted Sister. “KISS is a rock and roll powerhouse. You can’t deny their influence.”
This die-hard KISS fan, who grew up in Massapequa and Huntington Station, became the band’s catalog consultant, working on the KISS remasters and repackaged albums in the mid- to late ’90s.
“KISS appealed to the underdog,” says Conte, 48. “I remember reading interviews in Hit Parader [magazine], where they reaffirmed to people, ‘Be yourself. Don’t cave in to peer pressure. You don’t need to do drugs.’ I loved the messages and their mystique.”
Conte is writing his memoir from his days working with the band called “My KISS Story,” which will be released later this year.
A resident of Hauppauge, Kelly designed the covers of popular KISS albums “Destroyer” (1976) and “Love Gun” (1977).
“They wanted to be projected as living superheroes,” says Kelly, who will sell and sign prints of his KISS album art. “They played their act to the hilt, and my job was to complete the fantasy with the art.”
This legendary bassist has been a KISS contemporary playing in bands such as Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Öyster Cult, The Guess Who and Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band.
“I’ve always really enjoyed KISS’ theatrics,” says Sarzo, 67, who will sell and sign his memoir, “Off the Rails.” “The idea of a band having a collective look with their own personal identities was a first.”
The KISS tribute band will be on hand to meet fans as well as perform a 40-minute set at 6 p.m.
“For us it is all about re-creating the entire experience. We don’t just dress up, put on makeup and play some KISS songs,” says bassist Anthony De Lucia Jr., 53, who plays the role of The Demon. “We really try to focus on the entirety of the experience from the stage to the equipment to the choreography to the special effects. We do as best as we can to bring folks back in time.”
LONG ISLAND KISS ROCK & ROLL EXPO
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, May 5, Holiday Inn, 215 Sunnyside Blvd. in Plainview
ADMISSION $20 ($15 advance, $25 early admission). Free kids 12 and younger.
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