by Mark Allard-Will
When you think of Canadian rock, perhaps you think of the Can Rock Revolution of the late ‘90s; when bands such as Matthew Good Band, Our Lady Peace, 54/40 and others rose to a platinum-selling prominence to a Canadian record-buying audience. Perhaps you think of earlier successes, when Canadian rock acts became superstars on the world stage, such as when Rush and Barenaked Ladies rose to superstardom in the United States. But, something you’d likely not think of is a Canadian musician with one of the largest KISS memorabilia collections in the country.
That’s why we caught up with Bif Naked guitarist, Steve “Snake” Allen, to ask him what drew him to collecting the merchandise of the iconic American titans of rock.
When speaking with Steve, through the Toronto-based band’s PR agent, he specifies that he “began collecting KISS memorabilia in 1996 or 1997” and - as you can see from the images below - that collection has grown to be extensive over the years that have followed.
But, how does one begin such a vast collection? “[T]he first thing he started collecting was the CDs, which lead to his discovering eBay and, as he says, ‘the obsession began’”
And, no doubt, you’ll have the same niggling question we had when we first heard of Steve’s vast collection: What is it about KISS that ignited his collecting passion in the first place? “‘[T]he music’ as KISS is his favourite band, ever. He loves the band, and he loves anything and everything by the band. He has seen them perform over 25 times”.
If curiosity strikes you as to what his favourite piece in the collection is, wonder no more, as we were informed that it’s his Bally KISS pinball machine (which you can see below), a 1979 original that came to him all the way from Wichita, Kansas.
So, next time you think of Canadian rock, think not just of the icons of our extensive national tapestry of rock music; but think too of the wonderful quirks that make the personalities of our favourite musicians, such as Steve “Snake” Allen’s KISS memorabilia collection.
- photos courtesy of Bif Naked