Friday, May 10, 2019

Podcast Review: The KISS Room

On the little bonus track from 1976's Destroyer, KISS singer Paul Stanley exhorts the crowd by saying "It looks like we're gonna have ourselves a rock and roll party!" That may be true, but that's just one night. Now, we now have a monthly rock and roll party with one of the most congenial hosts around.

Enter Matt Porter

If you read yesterday's review of PodKISSt, you'll see that one of my favorite aspects of that podcast was the album round tables. When I finally discovered PodKISSt in 2012ish, I was able to binge all the existing episodes. One recurring guest was noticeable because you could hear the giddy smile in his voice.

Matt Porter works at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania. He is my age so he was around for KISS' 1970s heyday. Like me, Matt scoured the newsstands for Circus or Hit Parader magazines, just hoping for an article with this awesome band. He never lost his enthusiasm for his favorite band. His is an infectious type of love for the band, and fellow listeners can't help but get swept away.

And, when the chance arrived, Matt took an opportunity to share the music of KISS with others.

Montco Radio: Where Music and Minds Meet

That I can quote, from memory, the slogan of a college radio station half a continent away is a testament to Matt Porter. If I remember the story correctly, Matt, who works at the college's radio station, noticed there was a dead block of air time that needed filling. Being the KISS fan he was, Matt simply played KISS. It proved so popular that he kept doing it. Soon, The KISS Room was born, with a recurring date: the second Friday of every month from 3-5 EST.

Yeah, that's today!

What is The KISS Room

Quite simply, The KISS Room is a party for fans of the band. If the PodKISSt podcast is the safe haven that celebrates all eras of the band, The KISS Room is the party version of that spirit.

Each month, live on the radio and on the internet, Matt serves as the ringleader for a ebullient two hours. He'll play some KISS songs, often throwing out deep cuts we fans love. The Facebook community is quite active and if you share the news on KISS Room Fridays, he'll read your name on the air. Still gives me a thrill every time.

With many years of episodes, the show has evolved into a certain format. There is almost always a monthly guest who calls in and has a discussion with Matt and his co-hosts. These guests run the gamut: from Bill Starkey (founder of the KISS Army) to Lydia Criss (former wife of KISS drummer Peter Criss) to great tribute bands like Klassic '78 and just about everything in between. And, because this is a celebration of KISS, all are welcome and all eras are represented.

I'm not sure how large the studio space is up there at Montco Radio (where music and minds meet; you see? I can't not think about the tagline), but it always sounds like it's jam-packed with KISS fans. Matt will exhort folks to come up to the microphone and talk about KISS. As always, a favorite question is how a person discovered KISS. For a band that's been around for 46 years, the answers are always fascinating.

The two hours always fly by, but in recent months, there's an added bonus.

The KISS Room House Band

I can't quite remember how it all started, but one month, there was a small group of musicians in studio. With acoustic guitars and percussion, they started performing KISS songs. And not just the main hits, either. They'll pull the deep cuts, the songs the band would never perform. It is a blast to hear these tunes played live and with reverence to the originals. We know all the little nuances of each KISS song. The KISS Room House Band does too, and they play it that way.

The KISS Room was already a raucous party. The presence of the House Band just took it up to eleven. It's the best two hours on the radio every single month.

Look, if you're a fan of KISS and you've never heard The KISS Room, you are missing out. Matt Porter is like the best friend you never knew who loves the same music you do. If you're having a bad day, find an old episode or listen live and you will be smiling after two hours.

Do yourself a favor and tune in today from 3-5 EST. I use the TuneIn Radio app to listen live (when the day job doesn't interfere). You can hear it on the main webpage. It is simulcast on Facebook. And if you miss the live broadcast, the replay is always available at the main website or via the PodKISSt podcast feed.

The KISS Room Mission Statement

I'm a writer so I'm supposed to have a way with words. Hopefully, I've turned you on to something you might not have known. But if I haven't, just read how Matt sees the beauty of music of KISS.

Remember when the only thing that mattered was the music?
​Remember sitting for hours spinning records, feeling the energy, playing your air guitar and covering your walls with posters of these rock and roll super heroes?
Remember talking to your friends about the mysterious, masked men who created the rock and roll that we all loved?
Do you remember wondering what they looked like without the trade mark make-up, drawing pictures of them and scribbling the logo on every text book cover, wall, and notebook?
Do you remember seeing them live for the first time? 
We remember.  And we still love it.
Are you ready to rock?
Welcome to THE KISS ROOM.
The bottom line:
This is a party.  If you are NOT a fan, or you are here to cause trouble....
....go away!
THE KISS ROOM is created by KISS fans, for KISS fans.
THE KISS ROOM is NOT sponsored by or associated with KISS or KISS Inc™.
THE KISS ROOM is a non-profit radio program.
We don't make a penny from this program.
We do it for the fun.
We do it because we love KISS. 

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