“You show us everything you’ve got!”: Fanatical fans fan the band’s flames in “KISS Loves You”

By on February 28, 2018

KISS Loves You is Jim Heneghan’s 2004 documentary about fanatical KISS fans keeping the KISS torch lit over a ten-year period in their lives and fanning the band’s once-dying flames. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus!


The documentary — the title comes from the affirmation of love that the band have shouted out at the end of their concerts since 1974 — features brief interviews with Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Jerry Only of the Misfits, Todd Youth from Murphy’s Law, and Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators.

Mainly, though, KISS Loves You is devoted to the KISS Army’s loyal soldiers, including Ace Frehley-lookalike Bill Baker, an obsessed memorabilia collector who we see accompanying the “real” Ace Frehley out at a shopping mall and playing a smoldering guitar.


There’s also great footage of a Brooklyn clan, the Ventrices — better known as “The KISS Family” — who were regulars at KISS conventions each year, wearing full KISS makeup and humorous homemade costumes.

The family — including a four-year old cutie “Paul,” hugely overweight uncle “Gene,” and a Mom who apparently had no idea who Ace Frehley even is — are a real hoot.

A behind-the-scenes look at “Beyond Vaudeville” featuring “The KISS Family” along with Bill Baker — an outtake from KISS Loves You (8th Grade Films)

Also featured is great footage of the rivalry between a bunch of different KISS tribute bands: Hotter Than Hell, Strutter, Firehouse, Dressed To Kill, and Bill Baker’s band, Fractured Mirror, who fight amongst themselves and even with their audiences.

There are just a few vintage clips of the original lineup of KISS — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss — including Stanley and Simmons raiding a KISS convention with the cops in order to recover stolen costumes from their warehouse, and Criss doing a Q&A at another unofficial KISS con.


KISS Loves You was begun in 1994, when KISS were at the absolute nadir of their careers, their popularity having plummeted over the previous ten years since taking off their makeup.

The band were down to just two original members — Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons — and struggling to remain viable.


Read more about KISS Loves You below.


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Handsome Dick Manitoba tells a story about how the Dictators got kicked off a KISS tour when he went on stage and imitated Paul Stanley’s stage rap –an outtake from KISS Loves You (8th Grade Films)

Growing up in the U.S., Jim Heneghan was a KISS fan who saw the original lineup of the band in 1979 at the New Haven Coliseum in Connecticut.

Heneghan once told an online interviewer that he and his brother and their neighbor had gone to the concert with their moms, who were expecting the experience with a “loud, rock ‘n’ roll, obnoxious, kinda dangerous crowd” to be unpleasant, but it wasn’t.


Heneghan became interested in filmmaking and had  his own MNN New York City public access TV show when he attended his first KISS convention in 1993.

At the time, the band were trying to keep their fans interested in their music by foisting their latest studio album, Revenge, on them.


Around the same time, KISS fans around the world were rejecting the real band and forming their own tribute bands, dressing up as their favorite original members as they’d dressed in the ’70s, treating the band like an opportunity for cosplay shenanigans.

These bands made appearances at unofficial KISS Conventions — belting out covers like their anthemic shouter “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite” (“You show us everything you’ve got!/You keep on dancing and the room gets hot!”) — which ended up givingHeneghan the desire to make a documentary film that focused on these loyal KISS fanatics.

Jessie Malin sings “Detroit Rock City” at NYC’s The Continental with his tribute band Dressed To Kill City, featuring Todd Youth (Chrome Locust), Jim Heneghan (Chrome Locust), Coco & Deano (The Clowns for Progress) — an outtake from KISS Loves You (8th Grade Films)

The film devotes much of its story chronicling “the triumphs, tragedies and absurdities” of these KISS fans over a ten-year period, beginning in 1994.

Heneghan’s film cameras were also there to capture the classic KISS lineup reuniting again in 1996, putting on the KISS makeup and costumes and returning to huge concert arenas and enormodomes to the thrill and even occasional disappointment of their fans.


John Heneghan

Heneghan would later move from New York to Sweden, where he approached Sveriges Television (SVT), a state television network, which funded a TV license fee payable by all owners of television sets, and set by the Riksdag, who decided what would be aired on the country’s airwaves.

KISS Loves You is a co-production between Sveriges Television and Heneghan’s own 8th Grade Films production company.

Super-8mm film footage from the mid-’90s of a guitarist sitting on the steps of Niagra, a bar in the East Village, NYC, talking about his heroes Ace Frehley & Gene Simmons — an outtake from KISS Loves Love (8th Grade Films)

The documentary DVD itself features a lot of extras, including 90 minutes of outtakes (we’ve tried to include some of them here in this blog post as the director hosts them himself on Youtube).

Among those are uncirculated silent Super 8mm film of KISS in Stockholm, Sweden in 1976, extended footage from the band’s 1996 press conference on the USS Intrepid, and footage from Heneghan’s public access show: “Beyond Vaudeville KISS Spectacular.”


Watch KISS Loves You on Night Flight Plus.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.