Diary of the Dallas KISS Expo '99
From: Phil Hunt
I arrived Friday afternoon in the evening around 7:00 - 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn to stay for the Dallas KISS Expo. I arrived at the hotel and met up with Andre Augustine, former security and tour director for KISS on the Reunion and other tours. He was also checking in the hotel at the time. I had e-mailed him back and forth and let him know if he needed anything to let me know. So when I introduced myself, he asked me if I wanted to go with him to the Alice Cooper show as Eric Singer plays drums for him on tour.
So we exchanged room numbers and unloaded in our rooms and met up in the lobby 30 minutes later and head over to the Bronco Bowl for the show. It was a funny thing to see Andre waiting outside the fence to get in, like most of us who have waited outside the fence to see or catch a glimpse of KISS or any other performer. That's what we were doing in the VIP section waiting on Eric.
As we made our way to the front of the place Eric drove up, as he had been out with family who came in town to see him. Eric said hello to Andre and to me and said we were all set up and to follow him in. We went in and got our tickets and passes and soon Andre and Eric went backstage to catch up on what's been going on since the last time they were together. Dangerous Toys put on a killer set and really rocked the place. Soon Andre made his way back out front; he bought us drinks and we all sat together to watch the show. The Atlanta Expo promoter Phil Elliot and his wife also sat with us. The show was just amazing and Eric rocked like never before. I have previously seen Alice Cooper 5 other times and this was the best of shows for me. A lot of energy and the crowd really got into it. The highlight of the show was when Eric did his solo. He dips his sticks into lighter fluid and starts out slowly and then works up speed until the flames on the sticks are just a blur. He was thrashing and cranking on the kit. It is just amazing what he can do on the drums.
The show was soon over after the solo and we all headed back to spend time with Eric. He had family in so we didn't stay to long. Eric asked us to take his luggage to the hotel as he had one more night to play in San Antonio and would be back in Dallas after that show. So we loaded up my van with drumsticks and Eric's suitcase and headed back to the hotel. I had set up an interview with my friend's local rock show to interview Andre the next morning so we went to get a bite to eat and went back to the hotel and turned in and set up to meet in the morning to head out to the television station.
I met up with Andre for the television interview with a friend of mine Ethan Nathe who does a cable access television show called Live-N-Loud with access to 250,000 viewers and met with friends Ethan and Angela in the studio for the interview. Andre was informative and funny. He told funny KISS stories and of his times with the band and touched on other topics. It was a great interview and a lot of insight as to why the book was written and some of the stories told. Fans wanting to know more about the rock show can find out about the show on the net by going to: http://www.livenloud.net
We went to get something to eat and some things Andre needed and went back to the hotel. In the evening Bruce Kulick, John Corabi and Karl Cochran came in and met with everyone and signed and took pictures with everyone and hung out all night. I got to meet a lot of people from the internet and all of the KISS and Ace lists. It was great to hear stories and meet with all the fans. Keith Leroux came in with the guys and met him for the first time. He was a great guy and really the guy who helped me get started in the KISS world with the KISS FORCE. Keith asked me to help with some things he needed and was on his way to take care of things needed for the Expo. The guys all went out except John who had a friend/guitarist from Sevendust come in and visit. John had me run him to get something to eat and as we got back his friend showed up so we called it a night.
Expo day we met with the guys all in the hotel. They were meeting with fans and making arrangements to get to the Expo, so we headed over to the show and met with Keith and he asked me and my wife to work the door and give out the free promised cd's to all that came in. The cd's were a promotional cd with unreleased bonus tracks like a demo version of an all new track from Eric Carr's Rockology cd called "Eyes Of Love" alternate version, a track from the newly re-released ESP cd called "Four Day Creep" and a big bonus track called "495 " demo which is a track from the solo album to be released by Bruce Kulick on an upcoming solo album in the future.
It was a cold, rainy, drizzling day, so we worried about the turnout. It turns out about 500 fans from all over made the trip in and KISS fans as far away as Japan and London came to the Expo, also John Corabi's friend John who was the guitarist for the band Sevendust came in for the show.
Fans in make-up, costume, and all ages showed up. Keith asked if I was shy or would mind asking questions and introducing the band.... what was I gonna say NO? I was having a dream come true. We first did the Andre Augustine Q&A where Andre asked all kinds of questions ranging from did Ace and Peter really stay clean and sober on tour to what they will wear on the next tour to which he stated "as long as they were with me they were clean and sober" and "Costumes for 2000 will likely be all new as its a new Millennium and probably do things never done by KISS before on this next tour."
After the Andre Q&A, 2 new Eric Carr Unreleased tracks from the new Rockology were debuted and met with great response from fans in the club.
Up next was the Bruce Kulick Q&A. Bruce told the crowd that he would talk about the Eric Carr Rockology and Tale Of The Fox releases and when Eric Singer came out they would both talk about their projects, KISS, ESP or whatever else fans wanted to discuss. He spoke of his new song written about Eric to be released on the next UNION album that will be called "The Blue Room," and that Bruce sings on a song called "Dear Friend." He also said that he got a break in time and sat down and watched the new Eric Carr video and quote, "I Fucking Love It " was his response. He took a few Eric questions and spoke to fans about the possibility that the animated series may come in the future but felt he would have a better chance of pushing the idea with the music and the video to back it up.
Eric Singer came up with Bruce and answered questions as well. He and Bruce would take turns answering questions and signing things brought to the stage. One woman had to leave and asked for a kiss from Bruce and he obliged. And another woman came up and just wanted to hug Eric. A fan brought his 4 year old son up to tell Eric how much he appreciated his drumming and said his son was a drummer and loved Eric as well. Eric spoke to the 4 year old and the boy answered. So Eric asked the 4 year old if he wanted to play drums with him tonight and the boy said Yessssssssssssss!!! So Eric told the man and his son that he would bring the boy up and he could jam with the band later and the crowd went nuts.
The guys left to get something to eat and the tribute band SSIK soon took the stage, fronted by Dangerous Toys front man Jason McMasters. The place rocked to the most obscure and excellent set ever done by a KISS tribute band. SSIK is a Texas based band and they performed a tight and killer show. Songs ranging from Rocket Ride to 100,000 years and other rarely done KISS tunes.
Soon after the SSIK set, the ESP guys came in and set-up and tuned and got ready for the show. Bruce called me up and I introduced Karl Cochran, John Corabi, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick lets give it up for ESP!
The band kicked into a rocking set of tunes with the set list consisting of:
Four Day Creep
Still Alive and Well
Teenage Nervous Breakdown
Smoking In The Boys Room
Nothing to Lose
Keeping true to his word, Bruce and Eric did call the little boy up on stage and he jammed a bit with Eric on Nothing to Lose. The boy loved it and was smiling the whole time. I lead the boy off the stage and the band kicked into an awesome rocking version of "Nothing to Lose" and the show ended. I announced the band was to be signing in the main hall and would sign anything there. Also that Rockology, ESP and UNION items were available to get signed.
The band set out for the main showroom and signed for every single person in the place. I took pictures with them all and met with everyone who came to see them. Fans all were asking if this was the first of hopefully many more to come to Texas.
The Expo was over and we all headed over to the hotel. The guys all went to eat and hangout with friends and family so we all mainly hung around the hotel and met with KISS fans and spoke of the Expo.
Check out time where I met with everyone in the lobby and said our thanks and goodbyes to John Corabi, Bruce Kulick and Karl Cochran. They all left early for the airport to make their way back home. I stayed in to give Eric Singer a ride to the airport and while waiting on Eric to get ready, Andre Augustine asked if I would run him to the airport as well. So I got the chance to take Eric first and then come back and take Andre. I was a pleasure to do this and a perfect ending to a amazing 4 day weekend for me. They were all really great and really had a good time.
I want to take this time to thank the following: Keith and Michelle Leroux, Joe, Rich, Andre Augustine, John Corabi, Karl Cochran, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, Mike from Kissonline, Bronco Bowl, Fairview Inn, Joe Rodriguez, Chris Desig, Meka and Carl, Ethan and Angela, and to all that came up and said hello from the lists and that were there to support a Dallas KISS Expo.