Full Disclosure: KISSNATION Guitarist Ruby Rinekso
This week we interview Ruby Rinekso, who plays the role of guitarist Ace Frehley for the tribute band KISSNATION. I've seen this band live a couple of times (see my pics from a recent show), and they really capture the essence of KISS: rockin' grooves, live performances that are energetic, loose and fun, and shameless promotion. Let's find out what it takes to make it (sort of) as a rock-god...
1. Pretend you're writing a radio ad for KISSNATION. Go.
In 1973, four men in New York City joined together to form "The Hottest Band in the World" ... KISS! Now years later on those very same streets, another group of four celebrate and continue the legend.
Don't miss KISSNATION, NYC's tribute to KISS in full makeup, platform heels and costume! An intense rock 'n' roll extravaganza, KISSNATION performs all your favorite KISS Klassics from the '70s, '80s and '90s. So fasten your seat belts and get ready to rock and roll all night because KISSNATION is comin' right at ya.
2. How did the band get started? Did you see how many chicks an ugly guy like Gene Simmons got when he put on clown paint and spandex and think, "yep, that's for me?"
To make a long story short, my bassist (Carlos) and I have been friends for awhile and have been doing this since 1996-97. We both got a kick out of dressing as our particular characters on occasions such as Halloween and coincidentally played guitar and bass in other bands and just decided to do this out of fun. That was several years ago, and with different band members. Our current lineup (consisting of Paulie Z. as Paul Stanley, and Joey Cassata as Eric Carr/Peter Criss on the drums) has been together for the past two years.
As for the girls ... well, that's always an added incentive.
3. Have you ever played for a member of KISS?
Actually KISS is fully aware of our existence and has been kind of us to ask us to be involved in some ventures with them. Both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley surprised us when we played the Whisky on the Sunset Strip in L.A. They hid in the back and came out for the encores.
Our Gene Simmons, Carlos, handles p.r. for Art Asylum, the toy company that has produced several lines of KISS toys, so he has had some day-to-day dealings with Gene himself.
4. What's been the performance highlight of your KISSNATION career?
There have been many, but the one that comes quickly to mind is the aforementioned incident at The Whisky. Another highlight would be a recent show in Trump Plaza in Atlantic City where KISS spent the day signing autographs and asked us to do a show that night because they couldn't do it. The venue changed the event as a "Tribute to KISS" night, and our dressing rooms happened to be right next door to theirs. Strange but true
5. Is this a full-time gig for you guys or more of a way to make a little money and have some fun?
No this is just part time. We all have other careers.
6. When was the last Halloween when you didn't dress up as Ace Frehley?
Actually this past year. I dressed up as Han Solo, and my girlfriend was Princess Leia in her slave-girl outfit. Hubba Hubba
7. What are three tips for achieving and sustaining tribute band success?
• Talent (musical and performance skills/recreating your character)
• Tolerance and acceptance (understanding fellow band members' opinions and standings)
• And of course, a little luck
8. What are three tips for growing into a talented guitarist, as opposed to a Margaritaville-strumming hack?
Couldn't tell ya. I might be headed down to Margaritaville myself! Ha-ha.
9. When you see a chick in the audience will a KISS tattoo, do you even have to ask for a blowjob?
Yes, but it's only a formality. Ha-ha.
10. Are you as unabashed self-promoters as KISS? Will we see KISSNATION Kondoms and Kaskets, six tell-all book and five farewell tours?
Yes. Actually we do have t-shirts for both men and the ladies (can't forget them). Also, look out for the official KISSNATION cologne coming soon. Who wouldn't wanna smell like four sweaty guys from New York City? (Kidding.)
11. What are your favorite music-related websites?
There's only one that counts: kissnation.com. But I hear kissonline.com is pretty good too.
12. What's the best way for fans to learn about upcoming shows, so they can feel the energy of KISS NATION?
Oh come on, do I even have to mention now?
Log onto kissnation.com for ALL your KISSNATION needs.
Paul's Recap: Thanks to Ruby for taking us behind the makeup of KISSNATION. These guys do it right: they spit blood, perform flaming guitar solos, and toss roses to the chicks during Beth. Gene, I mean Carlos, even hit me in the shoulder with a pick at the last show. Next time try hitting me in the eye when you fling a small object in the dark, you demonic freak!
If you're a fan of early KISS, these guys do it better than the fifty-something originals who are lip-synching their way through Super Bowl pregame shows and Olympics closing ceremonies. Don't miss KISSNATION, the hottest (tribute) band in the world!