S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster declared Tues. Feb. 11 KISS Day in the State of South Carolina ahead of the shock rock band's gig in Columbia. For McMaster, it was a chance to get Gene Simmons' signature mouth blood on his shirt, while Paul Stanley and the guys that pretend to be a cat and spaceman watched.
[embed-1]But, for those that conscientiously object to service in the KISS Army, it's a chance to say, "what the hell?" If you're confused why a group of New Yorkers is being honored with a day in a state that has a long history of musical innovation, often by black men and women, we're with you.
The proclamation states that KISS, in their current final tour, is an "inextricable part of America's shared cultural fabric" and have served as "preeminent American ambassadors of rock and roll" since 1974. Some of the claims in the proclamation are debatable — yeah, they've sold more gold records than any American band — but we're not sure if they're as important to 2020 as they were to the mid-'70s. Plus, if we open the floor to all American artists, KISS hasn't sold nearly as many records as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, or Barbara Streisand. On top of that, fellow American band the Eagles has a higher total of records sold than KISS.
[embed-2]The prevailing question here is: What's the South Carolina connection? If we're so concerned about a "uniquely American brand of music," let's be sure to honor our homegrown greats, such as lauded swing guitarist Freddie Green, Motown legend James Jamerson, or the Godfather of Soul James Brown.
As far as we can gather, the band has no real connection to South Carolina except for a former member of Wicked Lester, the band that became KISS, getting popped on child porn charges out of Beaufort County a few years ago. Surely that connection isn't the reason.
We reached out to McMaster's office for a comment on why KISS was given a day, but at the time of publication, they had not responded.
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.