KISS, Black Flag and a Parking Lot in Spokane, Washington - by Brian Phillips

This is the final story in the 10 Day KISS Kountdown to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Click here for previous KISS story.

Brian Phillips Vaguely Remembers Seeing KISS in Spokane 1985.

I feel like I don't have a good reason to write this, but figure I should anyway. My relationship with Kiss is hardly intimate. True, my big sister bought me "Rock N Roll Over" on cassette for my 13th birthday and that was my first album. I'm pretty sure I asked for "Destroyer" or "Alive," but that's only because I didn't know any other Kiss records. Growing up in a small town far from Seattle rock radio and years before MTV how could I? Perhaps I knew about "Love Gun" too, though I'm certain I would have thought the title referred to a literal gun that fired daisies and made feather-haired lasses in Junior High fall in love with you. I was an awkward, naive little bugger. I suppose most of us were.

High school came and with that I became a Rush fanatic. I listened to "Permanent Waves" and "Moving Pictures" over and over and over. I don't recall thinking of Kiss one way or the other until college at Washington State. We all watched the MTV press conference in '83 when the makeup came off and "Lick It Up" was on all the time.

"Animalize" followed and that tour hit Spokane two hours to the north in early 1985. My college radio program director and his girlfriend were going and Seattle prog rockers Queensryche were opening and for some reason I thought they were pretty fucking awesome so I decided to go. 

In those days The Spokane Colisium was like most in mid-sized American cities. Shaped like a bread box, and years of smashed gum on the the cold cement floors, the old barn grabbed it's fair share of butt rock tours. I remember burn-out Spokane kids in the parking lot slamming Rainier Beer pounders and blasting Black Sabbath's "Children Of The Grave" as we stole through the Eastern Washington winter gloaming. Think of the mini-doc "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" and you'll get the idea.

No video exists of that show, but the essential has captured the evening for posterity. Then again I'm pretty sure Kiss did more or less the same show every night. Detroit in late 1984 will give you an idea. 

I was stone-cold sober, but hell that was a long time ago. I don't remember much other than from our vantage point we could see roadies throwing bras and panties at Gene Simmons' feet. This was a few months after we'd seen Spinal Tap mind you. We knew all about that shit. Paul Stanley's "Cold Gin" patter seemed to go on forever and involved a nurse. 

My metal days were short lived. A couple of skaters from the tony enclave of Bellevue, Washington were on my dorm floor and they had Dead Kennedys records. Later that year I'd be back in Spokane seeing Black Flag at The Grotto Hall, a rickety old building I heard had burned to the ground a few years later.

Before the show Henry Rollins stood behind the sound man and banged his head during the entire Black Sabbath "Born Again" album. Later some asshole from the Spokane band Vampire Lesbos was getting out of hand in the pit, so Rollins grabbed him, produced a hand of ball sweat from his ubiquitos black gym shorts, and rubbed it on the guy's face. Funny what you remember.

Brian Phillips is the afternoon DJ for CD102.5 FM, Radio's Last Hope.