Friday, April 9, 2010
A) "Let's put the X in sex. Love's like a muscle and you make me want to flex."
B) "Big bottom, big bottom, talk about mud flaps, my girl's got 'em."
The correct answer of course is A.
Wait, that really doesn't answer the question. What I meant was, choice A is from the somewhat obscure KISS song "Let's Put the X in Sex" and choice B is from the fictitious band Spinal Tap, stars of the hilarious Rockumentary This is Spinal Tap.
But, while KISS is real and Spinal Tap is fake, the similarities between the two groups are astounding. We'll start with personnel. Throughout their history, Spinal Tap has had an inordinate number of drummers. Though either karma or coincidence, most of these drummers met an untimely (and usually very strange) death. John "Stumpy" Pepys, for example, died in a bizarre gardening accident that police said was best left unsolved. Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs died choking on vomit. According to guitarist Nigel Tufnel, it was someone else's vomit but police couldn't find the culprit because, and I quote, "you can't dust for vomit." Two drummers, Peter "James" Bond and Mick Shrimpton, spontaneously combusted onstage.
While only one of their drummers (Eric Carr) died, KISS has employed five different lead guitarists -- Ace Frehley, Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick and Tommy Thayer. Also, in the late 70's, the band used studio guitarists on their albums on the occasions (and there were many) that Ace was unable to fulfill his musical responsibilities (often due to being drunk, wrecking his car on the way to the studio, or both). Mark St. John (or as he's known by KISS fans, "The Pope John Paul I of KISS") held the job of lead guitarist for a mere six months before contracting Reiter's Syndrome. This disease caused his hands and arms to swell which, while a mere annoyance for you and me, becomes somewhat problematic if you're, say, a professional guitar player.
Speaking of guitarists, let's take a look at the so-called "wisdom" of Ace Frehley and Nigel Tufnel. Between the two of them, their intellectual wattage would be insufficient to power the lightbulb in your refrigerator. The difference, though, is that Nigel's inane blathering was created by a team of brilliant comedy writers while Ace was just talking. Here are some quotes:
"When you take a shower in space, you have to press the water onto your body to clean yourself and then you vacuum it off." - Ace Frehley
"You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like - I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. It's like a Mach piece, really. It's sort of, well, I call this one 'Lick My Love Pump'." - Nigel Tufnel
"I can't even read music. But I can teach someone how to make a guitar smoke." - Ace Frehley
And finally, both bands have had their share of onstage humiliation.
 Not wanting to abort the song, Gene Simmons takes over the lead vocals but even after twenty years, Gene has somehow never memorized the lyrics to "Love Gun." So now we have Paul swinging around helplessly, Gene butchering the vocal, and Peter Criss nearly falling off his drum stool he's laughing so hard. Ace Frehley, as usual, is completely oblivious.
In some ways, the mishaps suffered by KISS (Paul Stanley would probably call them "KISShaps") have been even more comical than those endured by Spinal Tap. Gene Simmons has set his hair on fire more than once, and Ace electrocuted himself one night when his guitar wasn't properly grounded. Even Peter Criss got into the act, losing his hearing temporarily when a "fan" threw a cherry bomb on stage. Okay, maybe "comical" wasn't the right word.
At least none of them have ever choked someone else's vomit.
 I was particularly upset by the malfunction because my seat was about ten feet from the small stage where Paul was supposed to land. But even so, it was hilarious.