KISSing Mark Lore

The Love Gun is loaded.

The Love Gun is loaded.

I know a guy who met him once Former CN&R Arts Editor (and Arts DEVO BFFF) Mark Lore has been kicking much ass since leaving us for Portland, Ore., to pursue a career in music journalism and a life of good beers and an even better beard. Plying his prose via many taste-making outlets—the Portland Mercury, The Wire, Paste Magazine, and his own The Days of Lore music blog—Mark has been increasingly making a name for himself. A piece he wrote last year on the 20th anniversary reissue of Nirvana’s In Utero was selected for The Devil Music’s Best Rock Writing 2014 anthology, and just a few weeks ago, he got word that he not only will be covering the long overdue Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of his favorite band of all time, KISS, but that he would also be interviewing Paul Stanley, the band’s hairy-chested singer/guitarist, about his soon-to-be-released biography, Face the Music.

Though I am definitely a fellow KISS nerd, I am a giant 12-inch-heeled step removed from Mark’s level when it comes to devotion to the “Knights In Satan’s Service,” and so it seemed appropriate that instead of getting to interview the Starchild that I would interview Mark about his recent interview with one of our rock heroes:

Were you in full makeup during the interview? Paul knows. Only my private parts were in full makeup. Now everybody knows.

How did he smell? I’m assuming the Starchild’s scent is not ruled by Earth’s physical laws. He smelled like roses and stars and clown white … duh!

Were you nervous? I was a little nervous leading up to the interview, but I was surprisingly calm during the whole thing. Maybe it was because I didn’t have any time to waste, and had to get my questions in. But he was surprisingly cool and easy to talk to.

Did you clue him in to how much of a fan boy you are? I sort of did right away. He asked me how I was doing, and I responded, “I’m talking to Paul Stanley!” And he responded, “Well, I’m talking to Mark!” And I said, “Get the fuck outta here!” OK, I made up that last sentence.

Did you learn anything during the interview that you didn’t already know about KISS? I think the most interesting thing I learned was that KISS wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the reunion, which happened waaaaay back in 1996 (I was 10th row with my pal Mark Arnone). Basically, I was trying to get him to give Ace [Frehley] and Peter [Criss] more credit for the band’s longevity than simply, “They were part of the foundation.” No, if they hadn’t done the reunion, you and Gene would not still be making billions today.

You didn’t tell him your nickname was Ace did you? No, he might have cut off the interview right there.

Did he talk about the Hall of Fame? He did. Everything Paul has said in interviews about the Hall of Fame has been pretty spot-on—that it’s a sham, that they make up rules as they go. The Grateful Dead are inducted along with every hippie hanger-on who ever played kazoo on one song, while KISS is allowed in with only the four original members. … If I had it my way, the four originals would play a few songs sans makeup, and then all of the current and past members would join them for “Rock and Roll All Nite,” and then everyone would go their separate ways. Done. We love you, good night!

Now I’m going ask the question you’ve always dreamed of being asked: What has KISS meant to you? Whew … You know, they’ve been part of my life for so long it’s hard to even explain anymore. I think that’s just it—for 36 of my 41 years on earth KISS has been a part of me. It’s kind of a trip. Things change, you change, people come and go, and this band has been the constant, the soundtrack for all of it. My love and dedication for the band has definitely waned at certain points in my life, but the older I get the more I appreciate KISS. You mess with KISS, you mess with me.