DETROIT ROCK CITY—The Kiss Army, long respected for its traditions of disobedience, insubordination and guitar-fueled mayhem, is the subject of a federal investigation following recent allegations of widespread propriety among its ranks.
The investigation, which implicates a number of high-level Kiss Army members, cites numerous reports of "highly inappropriate behavior among Kiss Army members, including marriage, steady employment and child-rearing," said Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), chair of the Kiss Armed Services Committee.
The Senate called for hearings after securing testimony from an unnamed Kiss Army insider stating that Kiss Army Commander Doug Haines—best known as the screaming concertgoer in the 1978 made-for-TV movie Kiss Meets The Phantom who wears a mesh shirt and holds up a "God of Thunder" sign—is now a 41-year-old, San Diego-area certified public accountant and father of three.
"It appears that 'Hellhound' Haines, as he was once known, no longer rocks and rolls all night," Wellstone said. "Additionally, nor does he party every day."
According to the senator, reports from Kiss Army whistle-blowers indicate that, at most, Haines parties two to three times a week. "We have reason to believe," Wellstone said, "that Commander Haines rocks and rolls until no later than 8 or 9 p.m.—Friday and Saturday nights only—and then sips a mug of hot milk before retiring for the evening."
Though Haines' attorneys were quick to respond to the charges by producing a photo of Haines and Kiss guitarist Gene 'The Demon' Simmons making the Satan hand gesture as proof of their client's impropriety, the defense quickly unraveled when the photo was revealed to date back to 1978.
Adding to the Kiss Army scandal is evidence from the confiscated family photo album of Kiss Brigadier General Tony "Love Gun" Luft, which suggests that the last time Luft, 39, appeared in full Kiss face paint was Halloween of 1985.
Kiss Army officials have promised full cooperation with the investigation, assuring the public that the matter is being taken seriously.
"This is not the sort of behavior the Kiss Army stands for," said General Joe "Strutter" Schumacher from Kiss Army Command Headquarters in Detroit Rock City, with the classic Kiss track "Parasite" from the Rock and Roll Over LP blasting in the background. "The Kiss Army has every intention of seeking out the individuals responsible for these polite, responsible and mature acts, and seeing to it that they are punished to the fullest extent of military law."
But despite Kiss Army Command's assurance of full cooperation with the investigation, many critics are calling it a case of "too little, too late."
"Behavior of the most appropriate nature has has been tolerated throughout the Kiss Army ranks," said special investigator Hal Mirsch, who on Monday filed a class-action suit against the Kiss Army on behalf of a group of 13- to 17-year-old males who, Mirsch alleges, have been deprived of adequate anti-social and disruptive role models as a result of Kiss Army propriety.
In his remarks before a congressional panel Monday, Mirsch painted a frightening picture. "The Kiss Army is not what it used to be," he said. "As much as 75 percent of the Kiss Army is now over the age of 40. Once crazed, untamed party animals, they are now, by and large, a clean-cut and responsible group of taxpayers. Over 80 percent are married with children, and nearly all of them have full-time jobs. Is that what you would call 'Putting The X In Sex'? I don't think so."
In addition to Haines and Luft, numerous other top Kiss Army officials have been implicated in the scandal. Violations range from the relatively minor, such as leaving 1996 Kiss reunion-tour shows early to "beat the traffic" out of the stadium, to the very serious, including establishing savings accounts to finance future orthodonture for their children. A top Kiss Army official was recently photographed attending an orchid show with his mother-in-law. Another is rumored to be involved in selling insurance.
"We are letting Ace, Paul, Gene and all those drummers they had down," Schumacher said. "But most important is that we're letting down the next generation. They deserve better than this. If things continue in the present vein, we won't be able to drive them wild, and neither will they, in turn, be able to drive us crazy."
Anyone who wishes to report a case of Kiss Army propriety is encouraged to call a special toll-free hotline number. Authorities note that the 69th caller each hour will receive a limited-edition, autographed copy of the band's crucial 1975 double-length concert album, Alive, in the original, silver-foil gatefold LP format.