MiniKiss to smack Toledo at ribs eventWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
More coverage: Event benefits Red Cross
More coverage: Champs, rookies prepare for ribs battle
Meet the band, win free night at Smoke on the Water!
Win a free night at Smoke on the Water — Ribs for the Red Cross and meet MiniKiss! One Toledo Free Press reader will win four tickets to the July 30 Smoke on the Water event, four VIP tent passes, a meet-and-greet session with MiniKiss and a ribs dinner with a drink and 2 side dishes courtesy of Swanton’s Baldy-Q.
To enter, visit the Toledo Free Press Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ToledoFreePress) and post on our wall the name of your favorite Kiss song or a great rib sauce recipe. A winner will be chosen and notified by July 29.
Gene Simmons, “The Demon” of Kiss who breathes fire and spits blood, is an imposing figure. Imagine being 4 feet 4 inches tall and impersonating the bass player — right next to the 6 foot 6 inch rock god.
Joey Fatale of MiniKiss and his little people tribute band mates took on the larger-than-life characters and performed with the legends for a Dr Pepper commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl.
“Oh, man, it was so cool. We did that commercial from 6 in the morning until midnight, and Gene, he’s a great guy. He actually sat with us. We had a really great conversation,” Fatale, who plays “mini-Gene,” said.
“I asked him, ‘Listen, I can’t help this, but about a half hour before I go on, I have to be alone, I have to be in my own world, and I can’t let anyone bother me.’
“And he said, ‘Joey, that’s exactly how I am; until this day, I’m the same way. I have to be in my own world, and I don’t want anyone to bother me because I get nervous.’ And he even said if you feel like that, that means you really care and you have a lot of love for what you’re doing. That was cool to hear that because what I’m doing means a lot — and it means a lot to him — so it was really great to know that.”
MiniKiss has performed a private concert for Simmons and appeared on his reality TV show.
“We’re on the ‘[Gene Simmons] Family Jewels,’ and every day we are shown on TV as we speak with our Dr Pepper commercial. That’s been really big and helped us a lot through this tour,” Fatale said during a call en route to a gig in Iowa.
Fatale has been a Kiss fan since he was a kid.
“I really like their look — that’s really what got me into Kiss. I love their style, the outfits, the craziness, the blood and all that — that’s what really turned me on.”
The bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer played in a few bands, but then had to get a real job.
When he was moving in 1996, Fatale came across a Kiss album.
“And I just looked at my album, and I thought this would be so frickin’ cool, man: four little people dressed up as Kiss. And boom! MiniKiss popped in my head,” he said, adding that he owns the band name.
Since then, Fatale has taken on the personas of Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss and Simmons, who is his favorite to play.
“The funny part about me being Gene is I’ve always loved the character and, I’m not bragging but everybody even says it: I have a long tongue like him, not as long, of course, but for a little person, it’s a pretty long tongue.”
Twenty-two members have been in MiniKiss.
“I can’t believe that, wow. Just like the real Kiss,” he joked.
MiniKiss will perform at Smoke on the Water — Ribs for the Red Cross presented by Columbia Gas of Ohio at 8:45 p.m. July 30 in Promenade Park. The Polka Floyd Show will open at
7 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available in advance for $4 at Meijer.
The Gin Blossoms play July 31 and Kentucky Headhunters play Aug. 1.
“We do all Kiss things — the blood, the fire,” Fatale said. “And the past couple of years, we’ve also been doing a few ’80s songs — we do some Van Halen, Guns n’ Roses.”
He said the group does use backtrack music.
“We’ve done a couple shows totally live and it’s not good; we’ve got to do the backtracks only because it’s really a high-energy stage performance,” Fatale said. “It’s hard to do a stage show while we’re doing live, you know, because we’re little people and even the real Kiss I see when they play it’s hard to do all the chords and run around on stage and light the fire and the whole nine yards.”
Regardless, he said, the response has been great.
“Me being little all my life, kids always stared at me,” Fatale said. “When I’m in that MiniKiss gear, at first people have that look to them, but then they come up and they love it. They love what we’re doing.”
On the Web: visit www.minikiss.com and click on links for more information.