Courtesy of media.cmgdigital.com
KISS just proved they know how to get behind a good cause. The band put their makeup-free heads together to raise money for the renovation of the Oregon Military Museum. The rock quartet appeared without any of the usual getup (no fireworks or painted faces) at Lake Oswego to perform a highly unusual acoustic set on Sunday night. The gala tickets were reportedly $2,500 each. Altogether, the show raised over a million dollars, and on Sunday, the auction for one of Paul Stanley’s guitars fetched $20,000.
The cause is close to the hearts of the band – the museum is named for Brigadier General James B. Thayer, guitarist Tommy Thayer’s father. The now 93-year-old is a World War II hero who is recognized for liberating a Nazi death camp in 1945. It is reported that this act might have been a pivotal move in ensuring the survival of Flora Klein (Gene Simmons’ mother), though record of which camp she was in has been lost.
Just before the show, KISS members each spoke of their commitment to the museum’s cause and their support of military. “This is a cause that’s very near and dear to my heart,” said Tommy Thayer. “Tonight we’re really gonna do something for this campaign. We’re going to raise a million dollars.” Speaking of his father, Thayer said “He’s my personal hero, of me and my brothers, and this is important because it’s not only about displays and exhibits, it’s about teaching, and children learning, and there’s a real educational aspect to this.”
Gene Simmons had more sobering words on the event. “There is chaos in the world…. there is evil in the world, people are being beheaded today, this is not in some medieval times. And without the volunteers in the military to go over and prevent this from happening… my mother survived Nazi Germany when she was 14 years old. She was in the camps. And if it wasn’t for General Thayer and brave men and women like him, I wouldn’t be here… the least we can do is to have this museum, this living history book.” Earlier this year, the museum broke ground at Clackamas’ Camp Withycombe. They have now raised over half of their $15 million fundraising goal.