Ken Sharp | Goldmine
By Ken Sharp
Back in 1975, a passionate KISS fan from Terre Haute, Indiana named Bill Starkey took matters into his own hands in attempt to get his favorite band played on the radio. In short stead, the KISS Army was born. That blood, sweat and tears ethos mining fierce dedication and commitment to championing the cause of their musical superheroes continues unabated more than 40 years on. And as KISS Kruise VI: Creatures of The Deep sets to leave the port of Miami, Florida with stops in Cozumel, Mexico and the Grand Cayman Islands for a five-day excursion of frolic, fun, hijinks and rock ‘n’ roll debauchery on the high seas, that same KISS Army are now getting their sea legs adopting an altogether different guise, the KISS Navy. Over 2,400 passengers from 35 countries are back to share an unforgettable journey with the hottest band in the world.
Standing in the port, I’m witness to friendships being rekindled and allegiances reignited as thousands of fans from Germany to Japan, Australia to Brazil, England to France, Russia to Sweden, most decked out in KISS T-shirts, many wearing full KISS makeup, scamper onto the ship with the excitement of the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion off to see the Wizard on the yellow brick road; and in this case, that yellow brick road leads them face to face with their heroes, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer — KISS.
This is the band’s sixth cruise and they’re selling out quicker than ever. Greg Hounshell, 46, a realtor based in Wytheville, Virginia has been waiting all year to make it back on the ship and he enthuses: “It’s time for the KISS Navy Reunion. I look forward to this all year. There is simply nothing like it. As a fifth time cruiser, it’s my chance to spend four days with the friends I’ve made from past years and make new friends for the future. The band works seamlessly to give the cruisers dozens of activities to choose from. The band lineups are always good and this year there are some new faces and groups to enjoy. I’ve been blessed to be on these KISS Kruises and wouldn’t miss it for the world. The friends I see on the boat are some of the best people I know. I’ve even started meeting up with them on activities throughout the year. There are no fans like KISS fans and there is no cruise like the KISS Kruise.”