Monday, January 2, 2012

My First Album - Kiss - Destroyer

 Something new for the new year.  We decided to start the first week of the year by asking our Ripple scribes to tell the story of the first album they ever bought with their own money.

So without further ado:


We shouldn't of been there.

Each passing second I was sure we were gonna get caught.

Maybe that's why we did it so often.

The "city" of Walnut Creek was only about 7 miles away from the small ranch town where we lived, but when you're 12 years old, it may have been in another state.  To get there, Brian and I had to take the County bus, which took a "forever" amount of time for an impatient kid.  But it was worth the trip.  At the end of the line was Gemco, one of the first Club stores.  We didn't have membership
cards, but sneaking in for a 12 year old was a snap; just walk in closely behind a group of adults and no one ever bothered to ask us for our cards.

Why we went to Gemco so often, I'll never remember.  But we did.  Maybe it was the thrill of the sneak.  Maybe they had good hot dogs.  I don't know.  All I know is albums were $3.98 there and that's where I bought my first one.  I had a pocket full of money that I'd managed to save from my paper route and hadn't blown in a fever on comic books and candy.  I hadn't gone there to buy a record, I probably was there to raid their comic stand, but  . . . there it was.  Four grotesquely fascinating figures.  Super heroes, really, rising to the peak of a mountain, a world in flames around them.  I'd heard of the band before, from my best friend's older brother who knew all the cool bands, but I'd never heard them. Never heard their music.  But there it was.  After one look at that cover, I had to have it.

The year was 1976 and Kiss Destroyer was mine.

I remember the bus ride home.  The album freed from the bags, grasped in my sweaty hands.  I didn't know who Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace were, but I was fascinated.  They were like superheroes from my comics books coming to life.  I'd heard one of them breathed fire.  I'd heard one made his guitar explode.  I'd heard one could levitate a drum set.  I stared at the cover and imagined the endless possibilities of what awaited me.  Arriving at Brian's house, we dashed to his room, ripped his Elton John lp off the quadraphonic stereo (all he ever listened to), dropped on Kiss and waited.  Adrenaline shot through my body in anticipation.  I felt devious, almost subversive.  Surely, what I was about to hear would change my life, and corrupt me, and take me to the threshold of entry into adulthood.  Like an initiation ceremony.  A rite of passage.  My manhood stood before me.  I waited.

The long intro to "Detroit Rock City" came through the stereo and I had no idea what was going on.  My record listening experience until then was Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens, and Simon and Garfunkel.  What was this car starting?  Radio changing?  Then . . .the riff came, that glorious rumbling intro, and Peter was pounding and Gene was thumping and Paul was singing and Ace was soaring.  "You gotta lose your mind in Detroit, Rock City!" 

And I did.  That little 12 year old lost his mind.  Corrupted and somehow altered.

I've purchased literally thousands of albums since then and tens of thousands of CD's, but like your first car, you'll always remember your first album.

So how does that album sound today.  How does it hold up after all these years? 

It's Kiss.  It's Destroyer.

You gotta lose your mind, in Detroit Rock City.


1 comment:

Woody said...

Nice one, Racer! A classic gateway album.

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