Well it was a cloudy morning in New Jersey as we got ready to go to the in-store autograph session with the legendary former KISS member Ace Frehley who has a brand new solo release entitled Anomaly that is busting up the charts! (ďAnomalyĒ was just reviewed by us at RockEyez.com so be sure to check that out) My partner and senior staff writer Mark Balogh and I arrived at 12:30pm as the autograph session was to start at 1:00pm and as we arrived at Vintage Vinyl record store our day didnít start too good as Markís car appeared to be having radiator problems! We parked around the corner because the parking lot was FULL as there must have been at least 500 fans standing in line! I recognized many old-time KISS fans I knew back in the day but really didnít have a chance to talk to them but we did have a good time none the less on line waiting for Ace. One guy who was a few feet in front of us had his small children with him (just like many others). As the clock went past 1:00pm the line didnít start to move. 1:30pm came and went, and then 2:00pm came and went and still no sign of the line moving. That guy I mentioned with the kids had to leave which is sad. As he left he told the people on line maybe next time Ace can show up on time. The talk on line was could there be a possibility that Ace wouldnít show and then finally about ten minutes later the man finally arrived! Greeted by a loud cheer from the crowd (and also one scream of ďItís about timeĒ)! KISS fans are ruthless and they love the band and itís members to death but at the same time many of the KISS fans that started back in the day are not young like we used to be either!
Many fans look up to Ace and idolize him but if they were hoping to get a photo with him or to chat for a second it wasnít going t happen on this day. It was like a meat market conveyer belt... Give me your money and move along! One item signed and you had to have a wristband and after the autograph they cut the wristband off so you couldnít jump back in line. Ah, but the mighty BUCK rules and you could have always gone back up to the register buy the CD or LP again and get a new wristband for $17.00 and get back on lineÖ THE GREEN RULES!!!! Now I am not saying anything is wrong with all this because the line at the register was almost as long as the line to get the autograph. For me, looking without a blind eye and being reasonable, itís sad but also good at the same time I suppose. Fans that never would get this close to Ace and get his signature were overjoyed just to see him and get a photo of him signing their stuff. Some long-time fans like me, who have met ACE many times, may look at it another way though.
I totally understand itís a business and you can see in the photos Ace barely picked his head up as he just signed away, as there was just so many people, and I am sure many of those autographed items will end up on ebay so all in all it was a great ďmarketingĒ day and KISS and Ace fans go what they came for and got an autograph and to see Ace in person. It was also cool to see some of the items fans were getting signed from vintage records to picture discs and even some paintings and artwork. Ace looked great was pretty attentive and seemed very happy, which was just great to see.
In ending let me tell you a bit about Vintage Vinyl (www.vvinyl.com), an independent record store that went from a little hole-in-the-wall shop in Irvington, NJ to a mega-store in Fords NJ. The store is known worldwide as one of the best indie record stores around. They have a fantastic array of collectibles along with just about every genre of music on CD and vinyl that you could hope for. And they bring in some of the best artists for in-store autograph sessions and sometimes to even play live acoustic and full-on electric sets right in the store. The owner, Rob, kicks ass with this gem of a store and in this day and age of digital downloads itís still a great experience to get to visit a store like this.