THE last time KISS co-founder Gene Simmons had a solo gig in Brisbane, he charged $200 for an autograph, a photo (before they were called selfies) and brief press of the flesh.
This time out the going rate was $US2000, and for that fans also got The Vault: a replica safe containing 10 CDs of unreleased music in a lavish autobiographical book, along with Simmons figurine, medallion and hand-selected items from his personal collection of KISS memorabilia.
Possibly the most dedicated fan at the Brisbane “Vault Experience” on Saturday was Freddy Chavez Olmos, 38, who travelled from his home country of Mexico for the privilege.
He had originally planned to attend a Vault Experience in Mexico, but they were cancelled. Then when he discovered Simmons was bringing original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley to Australia, and they’d be playing live, it was a “no brainer” to come to Brisbane.
It also fit in well with his job as an animator: He’s off to New Zealand next to work on a movie.
The exclusive items Mr Chavez Olmos received in his Vault included a KISS comic book and a backstage pass from a past KISS tour.
By coincidence he stayed in the same Brisbane hotel as Simmons, and ended up in the elevator with him after the Tivoli show.
“What are you doing here?” Simmons asked, before realising he wasn’t being stalked.
Mr Chavez Olmos’ wife tolerates his KISS obsession – he proposed to her in the presence of the band on the second “KISS Kruise” – but his three-year-old daughter is a fully fledged fan, having been exposed to the music since she was in the womb.
“She knew the songs right from when she was born and now she likes dancing and wearing the makeup!” he said.