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NASCAR in Miami- Soundtrack by KISS
By Steve Wingate  (Originally Appeared on Stock Car City)

Two of my life's biggest obsessions met each other face to face at Homestead this weekend.  KISS and NASCAR…. Who would have thought?  I had always felt like the Charlie Daniels Band came the closest to providing a "soundtrack" for NASCAR, but things started to change this year with the advent of a big-time TV contract.  Network NASCAR commercials and pre-race videos are set to hard and classic rock tunes now… I've heard Metallica, Motley Crue, and a host of others on race day.  Not that I mind this… don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Charlie Daniels Band too, but I know where my roots are… I cut my teeth on rock and roll at an early age, and KISS albums were my teething rings.

It all started on a rainy Saturday morning in 1976.  My father took me to North Roebuck Library in Birmingham, just like he did every Saturday.  Only this Saturday was different… I was to break in my first library card, which I had just received in the mail two days earlier.  I remember selecting a few books… I was reading two or three a week… not too bad for a seven year old.  Just before we took our books up the librarian, I spotted the record section and went to take a look.  I found a copy of the newly-released KISS LP "Rock and Roll Over".  I had heard a little bit about KISS from one of my classmates:  "There's a guy who's got a real long tongue that hangs down to his kneecaps, an' he barfs up blood, an' breathes fire an' stuff… 'an there's this other guy who turns into a cat with glowin' eyes, an' one who sets his guitar on fire, an' they got explosions an' stuff…"  Let's see… blood, barf, glowing eyes, fire, and explosions.  All of those things rank pretty high with pre-teen boys, so I was more than willing to give KISS a try.  

When we got home, I ran to my room and unearthed my record player from the depths of my closet.  The last time I'd used it, I had been listening to a GI Joe "Book and Record" set.  I yanked the little 45 off the player tossed it back into the closet where, so far as I know, it remained until I went off to college.  I carefully and reverently slid the LP out of its sleeve, keeping in mind my father's stern lectures about caring for library property.  I put the record onto the turntable then carefully lifted the needle, gently placing it on the record.  For a second, there was nothing but the usual scratch-hiss sound from the LP, then the music started and I groaned in disgust… there was an acoustic guitar playing and some guy singing in a soft voice-- sissy stuff.  Then abruptly, the sissy stuff ended and my ears were assaulted by the sound of a heavily distorted electric guitar and the guy with the soft voice was screaming and bellowing out the words to "I Want You".  I was gone…. From the moment I heard that guitar, there was no looking back… I was hooked.  My library books lay forgotten beside me, and I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to "Rock and Roll Over" again and again.

It wasn't long before I acquired my own copy of that album.  I bought it for two dollars from a friend who said he didn't like KISS any more because he was into a hot new group called "The Village People".  I soon got my own copies of "Destroyer", "Alive" and "Dressed to Kill".  That same friend also sold me a copy of "The Originals", a three album set comprised of their first three albums, "KISS", "Hotter Than Hell" and "Dressed to Kill".  The price?  Five dollars… a real piggy bank buster for a kid in 1976.  It was worth it, though, and I still have those albums to this very day.

As I got older, KISS faded from the limelight of my interests somewhat, but they were always there… underneath the obsession with the opposite sex and the ever-growing interest in cars and racing, KISS still played the soundtrack of my childhood.  I remember when Peter Criss left the band and then Ace Frehley… I remember when they took their makeup off in 1984, and when they put it back on for the making of 1990's "Rise To It" video.  During this time, I saw them in concert four times-- 1979, 1983, 1986, and 1990.

Now, my childhood obsession has merged with my adult obsession, and KISS is sponsoring Sterling Marlin.  I never dreamed I'd see Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons at the track, but they were there all right.  All dressed in black and looking like a couple of hit men, as well.  Wow.  Great-looking paint scheme on the #40, too.  If I save my pennies for a couple of years, there's a possibility I'll be able to afford one of those slick 1/24 scale Action Performance KISS/Coors Light die cast cars.  I think I paid less for my first real car than one normally pays for a quality die-cast these days, but that's another story.

So, in honor of the KISS-NASCAR connection, I've come up with another one of my silly lists.  I like lists… writing all those complete sentences makes my head hurt, and  making a list is less like actual work.  This one takes various KISS songs and sets them as  soundtracks to various NASCAR fan and driver activities.  Some of these songs are a little obscure, so less "cultured" KISS fans may not recognize them.  

"100,000 Years"- Standing in line for beer.

"Forever"- Standing in line at the infield portable toilet.

"I Love It Loud" - What you tell yourself after the command to start engines when you suddenly find your eardrums bombarded by 43 race cars each producing 100 decibels of engine noise.

"Flaming Youth" - Kevin Harvick, Casey Atwood, Ryan Newman

"Mr. Speed" - "That's Mr. Speed to you." said Lake.

"Parasite" - Drafting partner?  Or a hot dog wrapper on the air intake?

"Hotter Than Hell" - The floorboard of a race car after 188 laps at Talladega.

"Escape From The Island" - The pit stalls at Sears Point.

"Goin' Blind" - What happens when your spotter falls off the stand.

"Almost Human" - How you feel the morning after an infield party.

"Bang Bang You" - Kevin Harvick's passing technique.  (Note to Harvick fans:  This is not a slam or a bash-- I like Harvick, and I'm just havin' a little fun with him.)

"Watchin' You" - What you do when you've got a mirrorful of Kevin Harvick.

"Lick It Up" - What you do when you spill your last beer and there are still 150 laps to go.

"All Hell's Breaking Loose" - The last lap at Talladega.

How about some KISS-NASCAR parody songs?

"I Was Made For Rubbin' You" -Kevin Harvick

"I Stole Your Sponsor" - Cal Wells

"Calling Dr. Punch"

"Psycho Circuit" -The Bristol theme song.

"Block and Roll Over" - What Bobby Labonte did at Talladega last month.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed those, and I should be publishing some more silly stuff on SCC this month.  As always, if anyone has any ideas for future articles or wacky lists, I'd be glad to hear them.

Oh, and I'd also like to send a message the guy who sold me all of his KISS albums so many years ago.  Tim L., if you're reading this, I'd like to ask you a question:   Do you still have all those Village People records?

Read Jan Bazen's retort to this article!

12 CDs for the Price of 1!

Click Here!

2001 Car Guy of Benchfield
Home + TCGOB NASCAR! + Photo Garage + Links + Mad Mad Automotive World + Driving Songs + Humor Pages + Reader's Rides+ All About TCGOB + Contact Us