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Kerby Meets The Phantom! His Exclusive Interview With Kiss’ Number One Fan

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Friday, February 17, 2006 @ 11:00 PM


Kiss and makeup

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I guess I was wrong about Kiss.

If I didn’t realize it before, I certainly figured it out after I’d been threatened by at least a dozen members of the Kiss Army. The cyber aggression that pelted my email was damn near deadly. Statements such as "You’re an fucker dick!" and "You havn’t messed wit nothing’ til you brought down Kiss fury" bombarded my email and sent shivers through my fingers. I mean, think about it--this wasn’t the BLS Mafia Kentucky Chapter that was after me--no way, pal. This was the Kiss Army. Shit. I envisioned about 50 flaccid, spandex adorned Hairclub For Men customers chasing after me in the Wal-Mart parking lot screaming "Paul is the Messiah! Paul is the Messiah!" In my mind, even the door greeter was wearing Kiss makeup--those elderly folks are ruthless. All I could see was cellulite and rage as the skullets made their way towards me.

I started to lose sleep.

Then, one day I got an email that read:

Subj: Kiss Rulz
Date: 2/13/2006 2:12 AM Central
From: Mulletdeath@yahoo.com
To: Redkerby@aol.com

Who in the hell do you think you are to question the greatness of a band like Kiss? They are heroes and your bullshit is just that--bullshit. Why don’t you interview a real Kiss expert or even Kiss themselves? That’s right, they won’t talk to you! I’ll bet it hurts too. I’ll bet you just can’t stand it. That’s why you are the way you are. I am the numero uno fan of the greatest band in the world. Period. People call me "The Phantom." I eat, drink, shit and live Kiss music in this world as well as in other dimensions. I might have the most extensive collection of Kiss memorabilia this side of the Mississippi. Oh yeah, I almost forgot--I hear the Kiss Army is after you…did you know they have a "death lord" now? Yeah, buddy. Watch out. The guy is like an orange belt or something. I don’t know. It might be a brown. Anyway, watch your shit or reap the whirlwind Kerby you fucktard.

All the possibilities for response circled in my head as I thought about the proper way to address the almost lyrical quality of a line such as, “watch your shit or reap the whirlwind Kerby you fucktard.” At first, I contemplated offering obscenities or maybe even wit. I even thought of creating my own army called the Fucktard Bastard Warlords, but in the end I just….well, I ended up asking the guy for an interview. It seemed like it would do me good to broaden my horizons a little bit. Besides, I always knew that a couple hundred Kiss fans couldn’t possibly be wrong. When I dialed that number in Columbus, Ohio the other night, I really didn’t quite know what to expect. I figured on some animosity. I also figured on some truth--what I got was a perspective that was totally alien to me, but also one that I feel has enriched my life immensely.

KNAC.COM: I’d just like to take the time to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I expect that you have a really busy itinerary. Can you just take a second and explain what you do when you aren’t say…adding to your wide assortment of Kiss collectibles?

PHANTOM: First off, I’ve got to say that it’s about time you gave someone else a voice on this. I mean, you just keep on and on about this Kiss shit. It’s been going on since December and that DVD review. I’m just glad you’re finally seeing the light here. Fuck, you’re like a broken record.

KNAC.COM: Yeah boy. I know. Like I said, I’m trying to right my wrongs here.

PHANTOM: ‘Bout fuckin’ time, I say.

KNAC.COM: Right, right. Hey, so what do you do exactly?

PHANTOM: Well…I dream--a lot. I dream about things that most people just don’t understand. When I was small, I was instantly labeled as “gifted.” I think that happened around the time I was in the third grade or something like that. Teachers would tell my mom that I was “brilliant” but that I just didn’t apply myself. Most of the time I spent in class was devoted to role playing within the confines of my mind. I would even make up my own languages. Then, when I would turn in my work, the unimaginative, puppet-assed teacher would give me an “F” on it because I chose to express myself differently.

KNAC.COM: Ok, so from the beginning you have found yourself having to harness this massive intellect of yours?

PHANTOM: Hey, hey. I know you’re being sarcastic right there--if this isn’t going to be a level playing field, I’ll just hang up the fucking phone right now compadre. I’ve read enough of your bullshit to know how you are. Kerby, Kerby, Kerby--I don’t think you listen to a fucking word anyone says. I don’t even think you care.

KNAC.COM: No, no. I was just sympathizing. I wouldn’t talk to you if I didn’t have a certain degree of empathy. It must have really been hard for you.

PHANTOM: Damn right it was hard. I was never understood. The other kids would tease me--they said the worst things. Mostly they would make fun of the fact that my ears aren’t exactly shaped the same.

KNAC.COM: Huh?

PHANTOM: My right ear is sort of missing a lobe. I thought it was a defect at first, but my mom quickly explained that God saddled me with this malady because I was so blessed in other--more important-- ways.

KNAC.COM: Oh.

PHANTOM: I tell you I’m missing a body part and you tell me “oh”? What the fuck is that? I was called everything from “Van Gogh” to “half a fuckin’ Dumbo”.

KNAC.COM: I just didn’t understand.

PHANTOM: That just makes you about like everyone else in my book then. No one understood. I was born in 1970, so about the time Kiss was really beginning to dominate America’s consciousness, I needed them the most. Peter, Ace, Gene and Paul were more than characters or pictures on my wall--they were my friends.

KNAC.COM: Right. Who was your favorite persona? I have this theory--

PHANTOM: Oh fuck.

KNAC.COM: Really--bare with me a second. I think you could tell a lot about how a young Kiss fan of the 70’s would turn out later in life by which character or persona that he identified with the most. For example, a guy who liked Ace the most might be--

PHANTOM: An artist. An artist figuratively plucked from another world. A person who identified with Ace simply feels too much--hence his drug and alcohol addictions. His soul is too pure for this world.

KNAC.COM: Hmm, close enough. A kid who identified with Peter--

PHANTOM: Is introverted. A child who preferred “The Cat” obviously feels comfortable functioning within the context of a team. That individual would be comfortable operating in a supporting role.

KNAC.COM: Yeah, I was thinking cubicle work, but…sure “supporting role” sounds good too.

PHANTOM: Let me just save you the trouble and tell you about the kids who preferred “The Vampire”. Those people were your sparkys--they were the lives of the party. The jocks or wannabe ladies men loved Gene.

KNAC.COM: What about budding capitalists? Wouldn’t they like him too? What about Republicans?

PHANTOM: You know, you sound like a fucking communist every time you start in about that shit. No one forces anyone to buy anything. Fuck John Kerry. He ain’t no “War Machine”. Don’t be surprised if Gene ends up President one day. We’ll see how funny your shit is when that happens.

KNAC.COM: You know, Phantom, I could totally picture that--it wouldn’t be the first time a President got his wang sucked by a fat chick either.

PHANTOM: How do you know the girl would be fat?

KNAC.COM: Gene likes fat chicks.

PHANTOM: You’re a liar. He’s married to a babe--Shannon Tweed.

KNAC.COM: I realize that, but hey, some married dudes troll downtown looking to bang young boys on the weekends too. Maybe it’s just a compulsion. If you don’t believe me, just look around on the Internet. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t true, would it? I even think he screwed Milton Berle’s wife one time.

PHANTOM: Sure, buddy. What was she at the time, about ninety?

KNAC.COM: Probably, and I’ll bet she was fat too. Bitch probably looked like a well fed Shar-Pei.

PHANTOM: I’m not here to discuss your masturbatory fantasies.

KNAC.COM: “Masturbatory?” You weren’t kidding about that gifted shit, were you?

PHANTOM: Fuck off. Do you want to know about Paul or not?

KNAC.COM: Definitely.

PHANTOM: It’s a pretty popular misconception that in some way Paul is anything less than a virile heterosexual male. I’m sure that in your prosaic petty little mind that kids who liked the “Star Child” were--

KNAC.COM: Really gay.

PHANTOM: I would expect as much from you--and you’re wrong. You’re really wrong. That guy communicates on a plane that most people can’t aspire to…I have similar problems. It gets lonely up there sometimes when people don’t understand.

KNAC.COM: Boy howdy. I gotta know though. You’ve seen that movie, The Decline of Western Civilization--The Metal Years?

PHANTOM: Of course. Both Paul and Gene played pivotal roles in that film.

KNAC.COM: I dunno. Chris Holmes really stole the show…Ozzy was great as Julia Childs too, but what I want to know about is the Paul scene.

PHANTOM: Definitely. It depicted a rock god surrounded by several nubile--NOT AT ALL FAT--women.

KNAC.COM: Right, remember when he said, “if you really want to live this way, you can”, and the whole time he was spewing his little philosophies, he was sort of half stroking on a couple of the chicks like they were Boston Terriers.

PHANTOM: And your point is what exactly?

KNAC.COM: That the whole scene was obviously staged and that it was so over the top and ridiculous that it made me wonder if they were hiding something.

PHANTOM: Sure. They were hiding all the gay cowboys who usually lived with him, right?

KNAC.COM: No, I don’t picture him flamboyantly partying with the skin flutes like Elton John used to do. I was thinking more like a sensitive, monogamous relationship.

PHANTOM: You are so fucking wrong.

KNAC.COM: Am I? Think about it…candle light…incense…bottled water…Duran Duran on the turntable. Paul looks across the table to stare longingly at some guy who looks like a cross between McCauley Caulkin and a fairy. You can’t picture this?

PHANTOM: You’re digressing as usual--what a fucking shock.

KNAC.COM: Right. I need to stay on track…hmm, we never did establish what you were doing now.

PHANTOM: Well, mostly what happened later on was that I decided that indoctrination at the hands of my local school system just wasn’t for me. I dropped out in the tenth grade and got my GED.

KNAC.COM: That test must have been really easy for you…what about college?

PHANTOM: And pay to be indoctrinated? No way.

KNAC.COM: So what do you do?

PHANTOM: I currently rule an ancient civilization that exists in the fifth dimension.

KNAC.COM: How’d you get that gig?

PHANTOM: You don’t “get” a gig like that--you are born into it. In that ancient land, a one-lobed individual is worshipped and admired. I shows strength.

KNAC.COM: I got it. Birth defect=strength. I guy missing a leg must have been mutherfuckin’ Hercules in that place. You got anything along the lines of a job though…like at a supermarket or whatever?

PHANTOM: No, I choose to exist in alternate worlds. The one I just described to you happens to worship the music of Kiss in much the same way the music of Wyld Stallyns was in the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

KNAC.COM: So you found the right place then? Maybe I’m not being specific enough. Your physical body is on the phone with me now.

PHANTOM: Right.

KNAC.COM: Ok, where does your physical body sleep then?

PHANTOM: I knew you were going to ask this. It happens to be the only part of your little stereotypes about Kiss fans that applies to me. I do live at home….yes, with my mother.

KNAC.COM: No shame in that, buddy. Hell, I think Kevin Dubrow may still kick it with his too. Situation is cool with me.

PHANTOM: It’s not what you think though. It’s just that it’s tiring ruling an alternate world--you can’t understand.

KNAC.COM: No, I don’t suppose I would. So how do you buy the Kiss collectibles then?

PHANTOM: I know this is going to sound stupid, but…I do get money…yes, from mother. My income depends on how much I get done.

KNAC.COM: Like chores? Making the bed…stuff like that?

PHANTOM: If you want to look at it that way then sure.

KNAC.COM: Do you remember what the first souvenir you bought was?

PHANTOM: Yeah, it was the Ace Frehley doll. I got it for Christmas. I was so damn happy. It took me two more years, but eventually, I had all four of them. After that, the collection just got bigger and bigger.

KNAC.COM: What does your mom think when you come home with say…I don’t know…a new Kiss potholder?

PHANTOM: She is happy for me. She understands. When you lead a life as isolated as mine has been--not to say it has been bad or anything--mothers tend to be a person’s best friend.

KNAC.COM: Boy ain’t that the truth. You’ve never taken her credit card to buy anything though, have you? I mean, that would be shitty considering you live with her for free and all.

PHANTOM: Just (cough, cough) once.

KNAC.COM: What?

PHANTOM: “Just once,” I said.

KNAC.COM: Why the hell would you do that?

PHANTOM: I wanted to purchase the Platinum Package so that I could meet Kiss when they came to Columbus.

KNAC.COM: And…?

PHANTOM: It bounced. Undoubtedly the $1000 was more than her credit limit.

KNAC.COM: That had to be devastating.

PHANTOM: It really was. I did learn my lesson though.

KNAC.COM: I guess that is valuable, but do you think you’ll ever get to meet Kiss?

PHANTOM: I’ve got some plans--different things going on. Most of them involve lottery tickets, but I’m sure one of them will come through some day.

KNAC.COM: You know, Phantom, I’m sure one of them will come through some day too. When you meet them, I truly hope it’s all you dreamed so that you can go back and relate your tidings to the folks in the fifth dimension.

PHANTOM: Thanks, Kerby. I’m not saying you aren’t still a dick most of the time, but…well, I will use what leverage I possess within the Kiss Army to call off the dogs so to speak--for the time being anyway. Look, I’ve got to go, having dinner ready gets me another five bucks a week which translates into four extra Kiss buttons. I’ll catch you in another dimension, bro.


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