Coffee House opening
[All photos & text by Anthony Johnson, thanks to
Anthony for his time]
Hey KISSinUK !
This is Anthony Johnson just getting back from my trip from Myrtle Beach for the KISS Coffee
House Grand Opening. I was one of the four lucky winners of the Kissonline Coffee With KISS
Contest. When I arrived I went to the KISSonline table set up in front of the entrance and signed in
and received my VIP passes for myself and my guest. We entered the Coffee House at 5:45 PM
and were treated with gifts and free coffee from the owner Brian Galvin who I must say is a really
nice guy. We had our own tables set up and as myself and the other VIP guest were getting to
know each other we heard this roar from the crowd outside so I peeked outside at the
thousands of fans and noticed Doc McGee, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley coming towards the entrance. I
couldn't believe they showed up almost two hours before they were originally scheduled. Paul
entered first and was really impressed of how everything was set up and Gene was really looking
everything over and also seemed impressed.
Next they went behind the counter and did interviews for CNN, Access Hollywood, Entertainment
Tonight, TV Guide Channel, E News, and a slew of other programs. The other contest winners and
myself were allowed to sit there just off camera and watch every interview and promo they did. And
let me tell you there were some funny outtakes and bloopers that will probably never be seen.
While Gene and Paul were being filmed for all the media outlets Paul's son Evan was sitting next
to me and I must say this kid is a special guy, well mannered, and brilliant. I really enjoyed talking
to Evan and getting to know him, and Evan is really looking forward to having a new baby brother or
After the press were gone the rest of the VIP guests were able to mingle with Gene and Paul more freely and I have to say they were more gracious and friendly than I thought they would be. They
really took their time signing all the items that fans like myself brought and took the time to take
photos with us all. After our time with Gene and Paul it was time to let the crowd outside in. I
looked at my watch and it was 8:05 and I realized I had just spent about an hour and a half with two
of my childhood heroes and will probably never have this chance again. When I was in their
presence I couldn't stop thinking of all those old vintage pictures from magazines and all those
classic videos that showed thousands of screaming fans, their pictures on the lunch boxes, all the
fights I had to endue from older students from my school when I was a kid that picked on me for
liking KISS and here I was with these two legends in front of me shaking my hand and
talking directly to me eye to eye.....that made every punch I received for being a KISS fan as a kid all worth
After I left the Coffee House I walked past the enormous line of fans waiting outside and many had
been there since early morning withstanding the heat all day. In the crown I saw many old friends
and familiar faces I've seen at other KISS concerts or Expos, like Leigh AKA the Goddess of
Thunder from the VH-1 Fanclub fame and she is also the bass player for the tribute band Black
Diamond. There were fans there from every age group.
When the doors of the Coffee House were officially opened that night confetti was shot out onto the
crowd and the roar of the fans could be heard loud and clear and probably for miles around
Later that night CHRISTINE SIXTEEN and the tribute band KISS ARMY took to the stage next to
the Coffee House and played a rocking set. People were everywhere checking out these two bands,
even non KISS fans were really getting into it. If I remember correctly it was around 10:00 when a
huge fireworks display started going off and that lasted for a good non stop 10 minutes.
Just as I was about to give in and go home I walk past the KISS Coffee house and noticed Gene
and Paul were still inside signing items for all the fans that had showed up. I was really surprised
because I knew Paul was supposed to have been on a flight a few hours before. I stopped and
asked one of their security guys how much longer Gene and Paul were going to be there and I was
told, "We weren't supposed to still be here, but Paul said he can reschedule his flight and the KISS
Army has always been there for him and he's staying and going to be there for his fans now." I
thought that was awesome because originally when I found out I was going to meet them I was told
I would have about 30 or 40 minutes with them and only the first thousand people in line would get
to come in and shake their hands and be rushed through. Instead I got to spend over an hour and a
half with them and over two thousand got in and got to meet Gene and Paul and get items signed
for free. You can't beat that.
To all the KISS fans out there, if you ever get a chance to go the KISS Coffee House I know you
will enjoy it and I know you will love the KISS memorabilia hanging on the walls. There are old
costumes of the original four members, some of the makeup kits members used on tour, Paul's
Silvertone guitar, Gene's Axe bass, one of Gene's bloody towels, Gene's dragon boots, Paul's
boots he wore on the Psycho Circus tour, and a few other items that are all encased in full view for
all to enjoy.
In closing I have to thank Keith Leroux, photographer Sergeant Al from KISSonline, Brian Galvin
and staff, Doc McGee, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley for making this one of the best days of
my life that I'll never forget.
Anthony *AJ* Johnson