Saturday, March 16, 2013

the daily create 432- superhero step-by-step. March 15, 2013

ds106 daily create 432

Background info:
Just because its spring break doesn't mean I will forgo doing the daily creates or blogging. When I noticed this daily create writing assignment I knew I had to write a tribute to a wonderful man and drummer, who was a 'true' superhero in my eyes anyway. Every KISS fan will have their favorite, but sometimes in the myth, hype and coming from an 80's era that was largely ultra-conservative with religion playing a large part in my young life back then, it was difficult to find a rock band with positive qualities. Sure, KISS had their heyday back in the 70's and they were infamous, but their 80's era was more tame and they weren't a party band anymore.

When I noticed a segment on ds106 to write a step-by-step manual to be a superhero, Eric Carr came to mind. Why? Because given that most of my peers are younger than me, they never heard of Eric Carr. I do have many wonderful memories from my pre-teen years when I first heard of KISS. I didn't listen to them on a compact disc although this relatively new format was fazing out LP's and cassette tapes by 1989. Most of my generation clung to their cassette tapes and LP's for dear life. As far as I knew I was the only girl in my generation that collected and listened to 8 track tapes as well.

What made Eric Carr stand out from the rest? He was genuine. From the many stories I heard about him over the years, fans that did get the chance to meet him in person reiterated the same thing; he was very approachable, down to earth,
hiliarous, kind, generous, thoughtful. I noticed immediately that he was one of those "one-of-a-kind" literal unknowns that strove hard to make his dreams come true. In doing so, he never put fame between him and his fans, which, for a rock star of his caliber, is unheard of. The trend in music during the late 80's was shifting to power ballad songs and many "here today, gone tomorrow" groups were being invented over night and slapped on the covers of Metal Edge magazine.

I sailed through my preteen years and hurdled New Kids On The Block like they had the plague. I followed KISS' journey through the pages of Metal Edge and RIP even though my reading comprehension was terrible by fifth-grade standards. In fact, I was failing in reading in school and wasn't keeping pace with my peers. Although I did put forth a good effort.

Eric Carr's image as well as Gene and Paul's and Bruce's was all over those magazines back then and this was long before the days of the internet, by the way. Hearing about music news used to take forever to hit newstands and if one didn't get MTV on cable, then print was the way to go back then.

I was attending an elementary school that I liked and my fifth grade peers were close to my same age. Some of them listened to heavy metal bands like Metallica and DIO and they never once chided me for listening to KISS. But it didn't last. I moved around quite a bit, lost contact with life long friends, and had to constantly re-adjust to each new move. This meant new schools, being transferred in the middle of the year, and eventually I wound up being the oldest in my class. The age difference didn't fly with some of my sixth grade peers. They were younger than me. I got relentlessly teased for listening to KISS back then and they considered them Satanic. However, I bet none of my elementary peers could crank out a five hundred word, double-spaced explanation as to why they thought KISS was Satanic other than the acroynms that still circulated.

The KISS I first saw in Metal Edge were average and basic. Sure, Eric Carr had huge long hair, and yes girls-- it was his real hair, too. Their grease-paint days were behind them even though there was a lot of discussion if they'd ever put that back on again. And Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons did don the makeup and costumes for the cover issue of RIP in June 1990, but that was about it.

All seemed to be good for a tour in 1989 and they just released their Hot In The Shade album that produced a highly requested radio hit, "Forever" and an MTV video as well. Unknown to fans at the time Eric Carr had one other song he wanted to put on the album aside from "Little Ceaser". "Somebody's Waiting" is hauntingly beautiful, especially since it was released posthumously twenty years later almost. I think it would have been a hit and cemented Eric Carr's
versility as an exceptional singer as well had it been allowed to go on the HITS album.

Eric Carr could probably be defined as a true superhero, of sorts. Not only did he try to save the lives of his fellow bandmates from a fire that broke out in Gullivar's restaurant/discotheque (pre-KISS days), he was also a genuine human being as well. His personality was right for KISS. He was also in the right place at the right time.

 After he was stricken with a rare form of heart cancer in 1991, word spread like wildfire through Metal Edge and other publications. By now I was fourteen, living in a new small one-horse town and everything seemed like a strange adjustment period, of sorts. I knew Eric Carr's illness was serious, but didn't realize at the time just how fast it would take him down. And since I didn't know what cancer was at fourteen, I didn't know how grave the situation was progressing. In retrospect, it was a surreal time back then not just for the music world, either. As a country we were at war with Iraq and coverage of that ran almost non-stop on the evening news.

Eric Carr shared his prognosis with his fans. It stunned me at the time because here's a man who was in good health the year before. I couldn't believe it because he was also a kid at heart, which is another reason why he identified with so many of the younger fans too. And every night I prayed for Eric Carr, a man that I never met and didn't know. I read about his remission in the magazines and he had gone through chemo, but never could imagine what happened when November 25, 1991 rolled around.

The day started out like any average day, but it wouldn't last. Later that evening I was watching MTV news when they reported the death of Eric Carr and my jaw hit the floor! And what about the band themselves, would they carry on or cease?

It didn't come out until a little while after Eric Carr's death that there was a lot of rumors flying around that he was fired on his death bed, forced to sign a resignation letter releasing him from his contract with KISS because there was a 5 % chance that he'd survive his terminal illness.

Eric Carr's death was overshadowed by Freddie Mercury, front man of Queen. They died on the same day.  Eric Carr was underrated as a drummer and the talents he possessed went beyond just being another rock star. He also had sideline projects and wanted to be a cartoonist according to Metal Madness magazine that interviewed him. He was the process of inking a deal with Hanna-Barbera to release his children's cartoon, "The Rock Heads", but he sadly passed away before seeing his dream become true. But, thanks to his family and friends, his "Rockheads" cartoon did appear as a comic book many years later.

Eric Carr also played several different instruments such as bass guitar, piano, harmonica, etc. But his vocals were scarcely heard on any of KISS' albums except for two songs "Little Ceaser" and a re-make of "Beth".  He deserved more recognition than KISS gave him.
Many fans that did get the chance to meet Eric Carr, received the impression that they'd been friends with him going way back a long time. He was extremely good with faces and names, of which, always surprised fans when they'd get the chance to see him again and he'd bring up something they spoke about. One thing that was very unique was that Eric Carr answered his fan mail, personalize messages, called fans on the phone and chatted with them for an hour. That's how much Eric Carr truly cared about his fans.

I saw Eric Singer on the back of a comic book for KISS' new debut album, "Revenge" and thought, "Who's that?" Eric Singer had had been a session drummer for Alice Cooper, Badlands, but it seemed off-kilter when he joined KISS after Eric Carr's death and I dropped the rock group like a hot potato after that.

Let's say that Eric Carr had beaten the odds and his cancer never returned, then I think he would have had a bright future awaiting him, perhaps form his own band, or some other band would have came along and snagged him because he was a multi-talented musician. And nowadays with the advent of the internet, Facebook, Myspace, IM services, Skype and email,  Eric Carr would likely be busy. And if he enjoyed online games, then he might have liked maintaining a virtual farm on FB, stopping by Yoville or having a ball in the Sims game. He'd probably also blog about his projects, and I don't know about podcasts, I'm sure he'd dust off some rare gems from his discotechque days and make those available if he had anything from his early days.

And what would Eric Carr's take be on the recent fad the Harlem Shake? He'd probably create a hiliarous version of it, no doubt.

Many years later journalist Greg Prato penned a book on Eric Carr's life: "The Eric Carr story" and it has to be one of the best books on the market in my personal opinion. It shows that Eric Carr struggled while being in the band that he loved so much. Even though this particular book jumps around a little bit in segments, it gives the reader a broader understanding of what went on behind the scenes, especially in Eric Carr's final days, as told by his long time girlfriend, Carrie Stevens, who knew him best as well as Eric's family and friends. I won't give away the entire book and do urge fans to buy a copy on Lulu and Amazon.

And now for my daily create (Whew!):

To be a True superhero rock star.

1. Be an average oven repairman by day. Continue to bash the drums by night in various bar bands and never give up hope that you’ll hit the big time.
2. You experience personal tragedy early on when a fire breaks out at one of the local area restaurant/ night clubs you’re playing at. You jump into action and try to save as many lives as possible from the raging inferno while totally disregarding your own personal safety in the process. However, before the days of the internet, your valiant actions don’t reach the greater masses until many years down the road.
3. Find out from a friend that a hugely successful rock group is auditioning for a new drummer.
4. When mailing off your resume and audition tape, make sure that you use a bright neon orange envelope to get the attention of the office worker who handles all incoming mail. That way it will get delivered it to the right person in the office.
5. Once contacted for an audition, your positive attitude and warm personality make all the difference. These qualifications, although extremely atypical of any new superhero rock star hopeful, are valuable assets that you’ll never lose.
6. Asking for “their” autograph is perfectly acceptable. Once you leave; the band may decide to try somebody else to fill the platform boots.
7. You play the waiting game and then comes the day you find out that you’ve been chosen out of 50-90 applicants vying for the same position.
8. Now pick a stage name, any name. Slap on the grease paint, pull on those platform boots and get ready to rock.
9. And please, for the love of God, DO NOT go out on stage looking like “Big Bird” on steroids because it won’t look good.
10. You’re a fox and you know it.
11. In the beginning carry dinner napkins on your person in case the pesky paparazzi try to take your photo whenever your in public and ruin your mystique.
12. Remember that “Kids are people too.”
13. You survived your first tour with the veteran superhero rock stars.
14. You’re the right man for the job and it takes a lot of guts to talk back to your new undercover agents.
15. Sparing a few minutes out of your hectic day to do radio interviews, sign autographs and chat with your fans shows you are a real humanitarian.
16. Super powers? Having a heart of gold and warm personality could make any nemesis cower in fear.
17. Real superheroes don’t need capes, shoot laser beams from the palm of their hands or fly faster than a speeding bullet. All you’ll need is pure inner strength.
18. Unmask in 1983 and go public on MTV.
19. Don’t press that internal “panic button” and think that the superhero rock band is finished or that your career has ended.
20. A superhero rock star will set good examples that other people can learn by.
21. Your time on earth is tragically cut short. However, your spirit lives on. You become a legend and inspire millions of your fans to follow their own dreams and goals and make them come true.

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