Kiss Superfan and String Strangler Juan Montoya Got His Nose Broken Defending the Band
To better understand the Kult of Kiss, we asked bona fide Kiss superfan, Miami ex-pat, and former Torche and current MonstrO guitarist Juan Montoya to describe his fixation. A high-ranking member of the Kiss Army, Montoya offers us his Kisstory.
New Times: How did you get into Kiss initially?
Juan Montoya: I actually saw a poster of them when I was living in Venezuela. We were in the downtown area shopping, and I walked by a store, and they had a giant Kiss poster, and it's funny because I remember the image vividly. I usually don't remember, like, two days back in my adult life, and I don't even remember most of the '90s, but I do remember this actual picture from when I was a kid!
So, I saw Kiss back then, but I didn't hear them until I got back up to the United States. My mom had a friend with a 16-year-old son, and I was 7 years old. And I went through his record collection. Of course, the minute I saw a Kiss record, I was like, "Holy shit! Those are the people that I saw in that picture! Those are the freaks that I saw in that picture!"
So he played the Kiss for me, and I fell in love. I thought it was the fucking coolest shit, especially to a 7-year-old! And you know, some people dog on Kiss because their sound is very primitive and all that, but when you're 7 years old and you hear guitars blazing like that... Well, he saw how much I enjoyed the records that he actually gave me two of my first Kiss records, which were Dressed to Kill and Love Gun.
I took those records home, and I listened to those albums all day long, and I kept flipping them over and over, like flapjacks. I was hypnotized, you know?
When you die, will you be buried in a Kiss Koffin?
I'll be cremated, and my ashes would be in the Kiss lunchbox -- the original one from '77. Either the lunchbox or the thermos. Like The Big Lebowski. You could spread my ashes over Miami Beach. Luckily, I have a good collection!
An ex-girlfriend of mine had friends that would clean up abandoned houses, and they found a large Kiss collection with a ton of original '70s stuff, and I've traded for years.
If your house was on fire, which piece would you rescue?
My 1976 Kiss tourbook. It's the one that has the logo and the whole stage covered in smoke. It still has the original iron-on inside, and it's signed by Gene Simmons in the front! I'm going to try and get it signed by Ace because a friend of mine just started working for him.