Former KISS Makeup Artist Shares Wild Backstage Tales


Today’s article comes courtesy of a former KISS makeup artist, Mary Joye, LMHC. Today, she’ll regale us with a pair of tales from her days with the boys in the outrageous makeup.

KISS Posing for a picture at a live event

Mouse in the House

I’ll tell two not so bad stories. I heard one of the 4 screaming loudly from the dressing room. I ran to the dressing room, and one of the guys had seen a mouse. It was so funny to see a grown rock star with Kabuki makeup, standing in platform boots on a rickety folding chair screaming over a tiny rodent. You might think I didn’t dare laugh but I did.

Such a paradox. This was not the image of a heavy metal rock star, but it was a tender moment to me. It was also humorous. I cornered the frightened little creature, put a plastic cup over him and slipped a piece of cardboard underneath him and released him back into the wild behind the stage door–although it was wilder inside the stage door.

A few weeks later, a humane society representative came up to me and asked with a straight face, “Where’s the bag of puppies?” I was shocked.

“We don’t have a bag of puppies,” I replied.

He was adamant. “We heard the band killed puppies on stage.”

“No way!” I said. “Are you crazy! I wouldn’t work here if they did. No one around here can even kill a mouse!”

Groupies Do the Strangest Things

The next story pertains to groupies. On a heavy metal tour you get really tired of seeing leather and studs and women dressed up in Harley halter tops and hot pants. So cliché. I used to have to wade through an ocean of them to get on the tour bus every night. I used to be privately judgmental, wishing that just one of them would show me something new other than leather and hot pants.

One evening I spotted a lovely looking young lady in a taupe lace dress and wondered what in the heck she was doing backstage at heavy metal tour. (I often wondered what I was doing at a heavy metal tour, too.) Her hair was perfectly coiffed. She had June Cleaver pearls and all the accessories of a steel magnolia. However, as I got closer to her I noticed the lace dress was made of rather open lace. She was totally naked underneath. It was like a car wreck…you can’t help but notice such a thing!

As I walked past her, I told her I was from the South and that she looked like Scarlett O’Hara from a distance. I also told her that I had wished someone would show me something new instead of the same old groupie attire and then said, “You won the award!” She smiled politely and I think I gave her a t shirt or something but I don’t remember.

There are so many other stories but these are okay to share. No names please. Except for Scarlett O’Hara. She was only there in spirit.