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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dressed as Kiss, crowd licks it up at MTS Centre

They were made for loving band that's still hotter than hell

Posted: 07/19/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 07/19/2013 7:03 AM | Updates

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  • Keara and Arianna Chisholm are ready to rock.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Keara and Arianna Chisholm are ready to rock.

  • Cory Krass (left) and Trevor Morrissey, 8, sport matching makeup.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Cory Krass (left) and Trevor Morrissey, 8, sport matching makeup.

  • Just another Thursday night for Tessa, Emanuela, Darren, Dayton and Sienna Layton (clockwise from left).

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Just another Thursday night for Tessa, Emanuela, Darren, Dayton and Sienna Layton (clockwise from left).

  • Zane Zinkiewicz and Jesse Gesualdo of J-Man and The Boyz are clearly big Kiss fans.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Zane Zinkiewicz and Jesse Gesualdo of J-Man and The Boyz are clearly big Kiss fans.

  • Craig Henckel's boots were made for walking — and stomping.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Craig Henckel's boots were made for walking — and stomping.

  • Ricky Zimmermann does his best Gene Simmons Thursday.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Ricky Zimmermann does his best Gene Simmons Thursday.

  • Gene Simmons. Hey, that last guy's makeup was pretty good!

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons. Hey, that last guy's makeup was pretty good!

  • Paul Stanley.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Paul Stanley.

  • Tommy Thayer.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Tommy Thayer.

  • Eric Singer.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Eric Singer.

  • A fan in the front row knows what it's all about.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    A fan in the front row knows what it's all about.

  • FROM LEFT: Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley greet the Winnipeg fans.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    FROM LEFT: Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley greet the Winnipeg fans.

  • Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley serve up some riff-age.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley serve up some riff-age.

  • Simmons, Stanley and Thayer wield their rock and roll axes.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Simmons, Stanley and Thayer wield their rock and roll axes.

  • Paul Stanley shows off with some between-the-legs riffs.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Paul Stanley shows off with some between-the-legs riffs.

  • Gene Simmons lets the crowd know what's what.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons lets the crowd know what's what.

  • Simmons' infamous tongue made more than one appearance.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Simmons' infamous tongue made more than one appearance.

  • Gene Simmons emerges from the stage effects.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons emerges from the stage effects.

  • Not the recommended way to use a guitar pick.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Not the recommended way to use a guitar pick.

  • Now THAT'S how you use a guitar pick...

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Now THAT'S how you use a guitar pick...

  • Gene Simmons focuses on his bass work.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons focuses on his bass work.

  • Triple guitar action.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Triple guitar action.

  • Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley take over.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley take over.

  • It's just not a Kiss slideshow without Gene Simmons playing bass with his tongue.

    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

    It's just not a Kiss slideshow without Gene Simmons playing bass with his tongue.

  • And in Brandon earlier this week... The driver of a Kiss tour bus stopped to take a picture of a juggling hitch-hiker while in the southbound turn lane of the Trans-Canada at 18th Street in Brandon Wednesday morning. The hitch-hikre, Jann Savard, was making his way from Vancouver to Quebec City.

    Bruce Bumstead / Brandon Sun

    And in Brandon earlier this week... The driver of a Kiss tour bus stopped to take a picture of a juggling hitch-hiker while in the southbound turn lane of the Trans-Canada at 18th Street in Brandon Wednesday morning. The hitch-hikre, Jann Savard, was making his way from Vancouver to Quebec City.

  • Erica Hillhorst does some last-minute touch ups on husband Cory's makeup before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

    Lauren Parsons / Brandon Sun

    Erica Hillhorst does some last-minute touch ups on husband Cory's makeup before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

  • Young Kiss fans Mason and Rhiannon get ready to 'shout it out loud' before Wednesday night's concert in Brandon.

    Lauren Parsons / Brandon Sun

    Young Kiss fans Mason and Rhiannon get ready to 'shout it out loud' before Wednesday night's concert in Brandon.

  • Brothers Gord and Ian Sinclair stand in line for merchandise before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

    Lauren Parsons / Brandon Sun

    Brothers Gord and Ian Sinclair stand in line for merchandise before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

  • Jackie and Rob Long are ready to rock ahead of Wednesday night's Kiss concert.

    Lauren Parsons / Brandon Sun

    Jackie and Rob Long are ready to rock ahead of Wednesday night's Kiss concert.

  • Tim Challner from Boissevain waits to enter the Keystone Centre in Brandon Wednesday evening.

    Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun

    Tim Challner from Boissevain waits to enter the Keystone Centre in Brandon Wednesday evening.

  • Tim Challner from Boissevain poses for photos before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

    Lauren Parsons / Brandon Sun

    Tim Challner from Boissevain poses for photos before Wednesday night's Kiss concert in Brandon.

Fan Craig Henckel as Gene Simmons of Kiss at the MTS Centre Thursday.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Fan Craig Henckel as Gene Simmons of Kiss at the MTS Centre Thursday. Photo Store

THE Kiss Army is mobilizing and Ricky Zimmermann is ready to march into the trenches. Again.

He's left behind $120,000 worth of Kiss memorabilia in his Winnipeg home, decked out in a Gene Simmons wig and high-heeled boots in homage to the band's frontman. The makeup is spot-on and ornate scales rise from his boots to his thighs.

"I've told my family that when I die, before I get cremated you have to put me in my costume and burn me like this," Zimmermann said, standing in the lobby of the MTS Centre before the iconic American rock band hit the stage Thursday night.

Seriously?

"Dead serious," Zimmermann replied.

Hotter than hell, indeed.

But then the Kiss Army has been recruiting soldiers since 1974, when the band's first album debuted. All these years later, the troops remain fervently loyal.

So Zimmermann wasn't alone. Darren Lehman was in line with his wife, Emanuela, and three children: Dayton, 12, Tessa, 9, and Sienna, 7. All had their faces made up in classic Kiss designs, emulating original band members Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

It was the first time young Tessa and Sienna were to see Kiss live, but let's just say they've heard the lyrics of Detroit Rock City and Love Gun for, well, forever.

"When they were in the wombs they were listening to it," said Lehman. "We had the music on, we had the headsets on. By the time he (Dayton) was three, he knew all the words to Rock and Roll All Night."

Added Emanuela: "It's in their blood now."

For the record, the Lehmans don't just get out the Kiss makeup for concerts. "When we do this, it's not just for Halloween, but when we're bored in the house," said the machine adjuster.

In fact, the Lehmans' bathroom is pimped out in honour of the band. The overhead light is the shape of a Kiss logo. When you flush the toilet, the song Rock N' Roll Over plays.

They call their washroom "the hottest can in the land."

Darren and Emanuela were high school sweethearts from their days at Maples Collegiate. When they were married 11 years ago, Darren and the wedding party arrived at the social in Kiss face makeup.

Zimmermann can relate. Just last year, he and wife Krista renewed their wedding vows in Las Vegas at the Kiss Monster Mini Golf Course, which is adjacent to the Hotter Than Hell Wedding Chapel.

The ceremony was performed by a Kiss impersonator. They have pictures and everything.

"It was awesome," Krista said. "It was a lot of fun."

Zimmermann installs flooring and has been working so hard lately Krista didn't have the heart to get him to put on her makeup for last night's gig. It's usually a family thing, including their three children.

But then the Kiss Army has long been populated by generational regiments. Patti Kafka, a 50-something mother, was in attendance with 22-year-old son Brendan. "I've been listening to them since my 20s," Patti said. "Finally, I have enough money to go to a concert. I didn't then."

Asked if the band had become too old for rock, Kafka replied, "No, because that means I'm too old. And I'm not. If they can still keep us happy, so what?"

Indeed, there was no shortage of fans at the MTS Centre who were born around the time Kiss hits became classic rock. They don't care.

"I like old school music," said Keara Chisholm, 16. "It's wicked."

"It's the vibe," added Emma Marsden, 14. "It gets you pumped. Rebellious and all that."

Craig Henckel would agree. Dressed in his Simmons outfit (the tongue is real), he stands 6-11. His day job is painting trailers. At a gathering of Kiss fanatics, he's a star. People stop to take his picture. One fan wants him to autograph his shirt.

"If I walk down the street, I'm a nobody," Henckel said. "But if I put on 25 pounds of leather, makeup and wear high heels, women throw themselves at me. I'm not kidding. It's a blast."

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

What is the secret of Kiss’s lasting success? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 A4

History

Updated on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 7:03 AM CDT: Replaces photo, adds slideshow, adds question for discussion

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