Welcome! to my page of anecdotes and images from my years as lighting director on tour with KISS, the hottest band in the land. Do you want to know what it was like touring with a major Rock 'n Roll act in the '80's?..............read on!

 

With any luck, all most of the crew would hear was the quiet hum of the bus air conditioning as they sleep off the effects of whatever they'd imbibed the night before, while inside the arena, at 6:00 am, the riggers were at play. Thus begins another day on the road. Its a show day and the company rigger is inside directing the hang. All the lighting and sound equipment must be hung from the arena ceiling, using 3/8" or 1/2" dia. wire rope and 1 or 2 ton chain hoists. Its a blend of art, science, and muscle. Local hires walk the high steel and pull the heavy cables up by hand under the watchful eyes of the company rigger, who makes sure the chains fall at their prescribed locations.

At 7:00, the lighting crew is up and around and can begin unloading their equipment from one of the 5 semis that make up the KISS fleet. As soon as it is safe to do so, the lighting trusses are placed onstage, assembled, and attached to the chain hoists hung by the riggers only minutes earlier. Speed is of the essence, for often the only access to the venue is across the stage, and nothing else moves until the lighting crew is done. For this reason heavy use of modular components is encouraged. Lamps are hung six at a time on pre wired bars fed with a single multi-conductor cable.

 


On this day, however, there is plenty of room, and the sound boys can begin unloading and rolling their fuzzy boxes around the stage to the front where they will hang on their own chain hoists. If all goes well no one will have to wait for anyone else to move out of the way, and the load in will proceed like clockwork. How often does this happen? Not very! As the lighting rig finally leaves the floor, the pre wired KISS sign is laid out flat and assembled. The 20' by 40' sign travels in 7 large sections. Once it is built it is attached to its own truss and flown up vertically behind the stage, all 3 tons of it!

Now the stage is empty once again, and the sound baskets are ready to fly. The set carpenters take over, unloading and assembling their set, followed closely by the band roadies and the monitor engineers who have their own, onstage, sound system to unload and build. The lighting crew works offstage, hooking up dimmers and consoles, and tying in the 1200 amps of power needed to bring their lighting system to life. On a good day most of the heavy work is done by 2:00 pm, leaving time for focusing lights and making adjustments. Sound check is at 4:00pm. Then its dinnertime! After that its time for a nap, or, perhaps a search for that special gal to fulfill your wildest dreams for ten minutes or so.

Thank God for opening acts! Otherwise I'd of never gotten any rest at all! I would usually curl up on a nice comfy road box backstage somewhere. This way I would be sure of not being late for the KISS set. Going out to the bus for forty winks was out of the question, no one would ever find me. There was always too much pre show shenanigans going on out there anyway. The blasting noise of the opening band became my lullabye, and I was out till the house lights came on and the eerie calm before the storm of intermission awoke me. KISS openers in the '80's included such household names as Wendy O'Williams and the Plasmatics, Blue Oyster Cult, Bon Jovi, Queensryche, Anthrax, and many others.

B eing the lighting director afforded me the best seat in the house, as far as I was concerned. After a brief chat over the headsets with up to 12 local followspot operators outlining my plans for the show there was nothing to do but wait. Everything was as ready as it could be. Sometimes the houselights would go out without warning, cued from backstage. Suprise! Time to go to work. The opening moments of the show were always a heady adrenaline rush for me. Every mouth in the place screaming, every hand waving, every speaker blasting.

 



After 90 minutes of ear splitting sound, blinding light and fairly intense concentration, I'm drained, and everyone in the place is exausted. But as the smoke clears and the crowd files out into the cold, the night is far from over. The carefully choreographed dance of the load in is now played in reverse to an audience of sweepers and moppers. This process usually took between 3 and a half and 4 hours. Meaning tail lights pulling away at 2 or 3 in the morning, with the spectre of starting the whole process over again looming a mere 4 hours away, five times a week. At this point I'd like to take a moment to thank all the Brothers and Sisters in I.A.T.S.E locals all across the country who helped us every day. Thanks for visiting the Jeff Durling KISS page. 


 


For an excellent, and heartfelt tribute to the late Eric Carr, along with information on how you can help to keep his memory alive, please visit Den's Eric Carr Tribute Page

Want to Know More About KISS?

Try some of these books available at Amazon.com

Kiss: The Early Years
by Gene Simmons, Waring Abbott (Photographer), Paul Stanley

Join Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley as they take you on a wild ride through the early years of kiss 
with rock photographer Waring Abbott.

• With 250 photos of the hottest band in the world!
• Rare, behind-the-scenes pics of Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, and Eric! 
• Stories from Gene and Paul about life on the road, makeup tips, publicity stunts, and much more! 

Kiss Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History 

Over a quarter century’s worth of visually spectacular and financially profitable concerts are testimony to that fact. KISS Alive Forever is the must-have reference for every die-hard KISS fan—-a complete archive of well over 1,900 performances, all categorized by tour. 

KISS fans will find extensive overviews of each tour, including the number of shows, start and end dates, song pool, opening acts cross-referenced by tour, and average attendance. Entries on individual performances include date of show, city, state, and location of show, opening act, attendance, facility capacity, and promoter, as well as descriptions of the shows themselves. 

Kiss and Make-Up
by Gene Simmons

Best known for their pyrotechnic concerts and outrageous makeup, KISS has inexplicably endured for more than 30 years. Frontman Simmons here speaks to that longevity, as well as to the band's sale of 80 million records. After covering his childhood in Haifa, Israel, he quickly moves into the evolution of KISS, which he cofounded with Paul Stanley in New York City in 1972. Interspersed with commentary on the band are plenty of details on Simmons's social life. 

Kiss: Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock and Roll: Stories Behind the Songs (Stories Behind the Songs Series) Fuelled by an explosive mix of make-up, costumes, and attitude, Kiss burst on the music scene over thirty years ago and has become a rock institution. The band has sold more than eighty million records, has broken every concert attendance record set by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, and stands behind the Beatles alone in number of gold records in history. Kiss: Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock and Roll features an in-depth interview with founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and also focuses on the special relationship the band enjoys with its audience. (Kiss fans offer their own anecdotes.) Paul Elliot traces the origins of the band’s music through the 1970s, when they were the biggest band in the world, the 1980s when they took off their world-famous war paint, and into the 1990s, when they came back bigger and badder to become the world’s number one touring band. 
Guitar World Presents Kiss (Guitar World Present Series) The book is written in interview format, laced throughout with raw emotion, which provides a candid glance at the human face of this "Outer Wordly", "Bigger Than Life" band. It is a must for any KISS fan.
The Kiss Years Second Edition

Relive KISS' soar to the top with outtakes and favorite memories from 1976 (Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over), 1977-78 (Love Gun, Alive II), 1981 (Music from the Elder) and 1996/97's Alive Worldwide Tour. 

This 144-page, full color trade paperback contains over 200 photos: 20 years of classic KISS photography--live and in-the-studio--from 1976-1996.

Goldmine Kiss Collectibles Price Guide

KISS is still one of the hottest bands in the world today and the most collectible musical group, next to Elvis and the Beatles. This book, featuring 2,000 listings and 500 color photos of the band's merchandise, offers detailed listings for every U.S. recording, as well as a large number of foreign releases. There are also detailed listings of more than 250 licensed products produced from 1974-1998, from action figures, Beanies and die-cast cars, to Halloween costumes, posters and videos. 

Search by keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com

Use the search box to find some of KISS's most popular albums like:

'Psycho Circus', 'Alive II', 'Love Gun', 'Rock and Roll Over', 'Hot in the Shade', 'Creatures of the Night', 'Music from 'The Elder'', 'Dynasty', 'Kiss', 'Dressed to Kill', 'Destroyer', 'Alive!', 'Hotter Than Hell', 'Crazy Nights', 'Revenge', 'Lick It Up', 'Asylum', 'Animalize', 'Alive III', 'Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions', 'MTV Unplugged', 'Kiss Unmasked'

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Links to Other Kiss Sites-

 

Last updated on Tuesday May 2, 2000