“Hey, watch this!”

Spring 1976, and the four of us were parked in Phil’s Firebird when he took a mouthful of lighter fluid from his trusty BIC, flicked the sparkwheel and blew. The ensuing flame singed the car’s visor – and his eyebrows – resulting in much stoned laughing and coughing and slapping at sparks. It was the same trick we’d seen Gene Simmons do the previous December at the Nassau Coliseum, when Simmons’ band Kiss had been presented with its first gold record (for “Alive!”). America had entered its bicentennial year, and a million teens in a million parked cars and basements had enlisted in the Kiss Army, throwing off the shackles of convention and commonsense to revel in the newfound freedom of rock ‘n’ roll.

On Tuesday, the iconic rock band Kiss plays Florida to kick off the summer American leg of its “End of the Road” farewell tour, supposedly packing up all its pomp and pageantry with it. “Supposedly” because the band already did a farewell tour in 2000-01, and two of the original members (drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley) abandoned ship years ago. But it seems likely that the band that changed the look — if not the sound — of hard rock is on its last eight-inch-high platform-booted legs. …

[Yeah, sometimes I still write about music. Read the rest of the piece here.]