ANTHRAX and PANTERA drummer Charlie Benante has paid tribute to KISS on the eve of the legendary rockers' final-ever concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
On Friday (December 1),Benante took to his social media to share a KISS performance clip from the "End Of The Road" farewell tour, and he included the following message: "Well… if this really is the end -all I can say is 'Thank You'.
"I watched those 2 up there @genesimmons and @paulstanleylive and applauded them For always giving 100%. I mean think about this- all these years , they've put on the makeup, the costumes, the 7 inch leather heels etc. could you do it?? They are not just #rockstars they are the epitome . I saw them when I was a kid and it left such a lasting impression, it's what I wanted to be.
"I wonder if anyone reading this will know that when you said 'meet me at the Ace poster at the Garden' what we were talking about? Such a landmark.
"From 1973-1979, what they did in those 6 years… that still resonates with me now.
"Thank you #genepaulpeterandace , you inspired so many and the best part is you were all from #newyork whoooooo hoooooo! #longlivekiss @kiss #newyorkers @anthrax @panteraofficial #petercriss #acefrehley".
Back in 2005, Benante named KISS's "Alive!" as an album that changed his life, telling Greg Prato of Classic Rock magazine: "The first time I ever heard KISS' 'Alive!', I was at a party at a friend's house. The only thing I'd head prior to that as far as KISS was concerned was 'Dressed to Kill'. I was already a fan because of that, but when 'Alive!' came out, it was a totally different thing.
"The thing that I remember most about it was just staring at the package — it opened out to a gatefold, and there was a huge booklet in it. I remember staring at it and being like, 'What the hell?!' Because you would listen to the record and you would visualize in your own mind how it was. You had all these different things.
"I remember early on, when I first heard KISS, I used to think that Paul Stanley's voice was Gene Simmons' voice," he continued. "It was very weird when I saw them on a TV show called 'The Midnight Special', and I was like, 'Wait a minute... he's not supposed to be singing that!'
"I don't think I could say that any of [the songs] was my least favorite, because I loved every single one on that record. I remember just playing it continuously, over and over again. I loved the way side one would kick in — it was like the introduction was the beginning of the show. Then you get to the middle portions — sides two and three — and side four was the big ending; I'll never forget listening to 'Black Diamond' and being like, 'What the hell is going on? The explosions and everything. [The tracklist] is a little out of sequence — actually it's not even a live show; they totally re-recorded it. But who cares? It fooled me back then.
"I loved [Peter Criss'] drumming on 'Alive!'," Charlie added. "I think he was one of the biggest influences as far as having a huge drum kit goes. It was like, 'Look at all these drums. What is he doing with all these?' Because at the time, you had like the 'five-piece-kit drummers out there, like John Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN) and Joey Kramer (AEROSMITH). After Peter, Neil Peart (RUSH) had the big kit also.
"The end of '76 was when I saw them for the first time — 'Alive!' prepared me. I was like, 'Dude this is fucking crazy!' I just couldn't believe it. Everything was going on. I couldn't focus on just one thing. It was just an assault on my senses. Because most of the bands at the time really didn't put on that type of a show the way KISS were doing; it was more or less getting up on stage and playing. It wasn't, y'know... KISS.
"KISS made me realize that this is what I'm going to do with my life. And the mindset just stayed with me; it never left. Before that, I wasn't really taking it as seriously as 'I'm going to make a living doing this.'
"I absolutely still listen to 'Alive!' I listen to it sometimes right before we play — it pumps me up. It puts me in a different state of mind."
KISS's final-ever show, held tonight (Saturday, December 2) at Madison Square Garden, will stream live on pay-per-view.
According to a press release, the last stop of the band's "End Of The Road" farewell tour will stream exclusively on PPV.com so fans worldwide can tune into the concert in real-time, starting at 8 p.m. ET.
To stream the show live, fans in the U.S. and Canada pay a one-time fee of $39.99, rather than signing up for a subscription. (Internationally, it costs $14.99 to watch the event.)
KISS's final show will also air live through cable and satellite providers such as Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Optimum, Fios, DirecTV, DISH, Rogers, Telus and more in North America.