30 Aug Swedish National Lottery and the KISS Experience by: Erin Dunworth
So…I get a text message from Skip Dixon on Monday afternoon that says, “check your email”. Smartphone capable as I am, I check my email and he is asking me if I can be available on Friday to go the New Jersey to do his Peter Criss makeup. As of late I have been helping Skip’s KISS tribute band “Rock Bottom” with their makeup. I say, “Yes, of course if you really need me I wouldn’t want to be the reason you can take an opportunity…but what is this all about?” Skip says he will give me the details when he has them.
The next day I find out that he has been asked to fill in for Eric Singer (current drummer for KISS) for a commercial they are filming in northern New Jersey. The commercial premise is that a normal guy pulls into a gas station blasting KISS music. He buys a lottery ticket and wins. The scene then changes with the real KISS in his truck with him and the drummer in the bed of the truck rocking out.
So…Skip ahead to Friday…..no pun intended (get it Skip and Skip)….anyway….Johnny and Skip pick me up and off we go. Half way up Skip starts getting emails and phone calls asking “when he will be there” and “how soon can he get up there”. We find out when we do get there that the production company is having some “logistical challenges”. KISS can’t come up to Montclair NJ because their show is about an hour south that night. So they need Skip for the shots in Montclair ASAP…….So we rush rush rush to get there…set up the drums in the back of a pick-up truck and then rush to get him in costume….no time for makeup. Several shots later with the pick up truck pulling out of the gas station and Skip playing drums in the back while the truck is moving…and it’s a wrap.
Time to rush down to PNC Bank Arts Center to meet the real KISS. Well its 5pm on a Friday afternoon and as you can imagine the Garden State Parkway is a parking lot. The entire production crew has to pack up multiple trucks and head down to be set up and ready for KISS at 6:30.
Amazingly they do it. We arrive and the production grew has most of the set up for the shoot. Skip sets up his drums again in the back of the truck and then we wait. A tour bus pulls up….its KISS… I think at this point Skip, Johnny, and I are in disbelief that they are actually here. Doc Magee, manager of just a few bands you may know, Mötley Crüe (1982-1989) Bon Jovi (1984-1991) KISS (1996-) Skid Row (1988-) hops off the bus. Skip Dixon is already a bit star struck at the sight of Doc let alone KISS. They have a little pow wow with the production team and return to the bus.
Then KISS arrives….I mean they f*%&ing ARRIVE. Tommy, Paul, and Gene get off the bus in that order. We are about 5 yards from the bus at this point. Everyone starts pulling out their cameras and cell phones to take pictures. I am so star struck, I don’t know why, I have a camera in one hand and my cell phone in the other and hardly snap a shot. Paul struts like a lion across the parking lot to the set. Tommy is the taller then I had imagined. Gene takes a double take at me…stops looks me up and down “like a tootsie roll” to quote Skip Dixon. He says nice and keeps walking. OMG…we wait…wait….then finally Eric Singer gets off the bus with a huge amount of energy. He throws his drum stick 10 feet in the air and catches it. Cool…When he is climbing into the back of the truck he sits and Skips drums and says, “nice drums man.” The production company mean while has come over the Skip to find out what all their names are. Skip is relied on for a lot of things this day. They jot down Paul / Silver, Tommy / Star, Gene/ we know, Eric / drums. Filming begins….
While KISS is filming one of the production team comes over to us and says, “we are going to need you to get in makeup and costume.” WTF…this is a change from the last person we talk to. So….I start putting Skips makeup on. This is at about 6:45 pm. We are there with Skip in makeup and full costume until about 8:30 pm when they finally tell us there is not time for his shot sorry….we can go.
So that’s it in a nut shell…..probably so many more details…if you see Skip Dixon and buy him a shot of Tuaca he may tell you a few more things. If he remembers.