according to the book, obedi was the name of the cult's god. it was a vengeful god who wanted no imitators. obedi's followers were given to hexes and other superstitions. peter turned to the next page and was stunned by what he saw.
it was a painting of gene simmons in makeup and costume.
actually, it was a likeness of the god obedi. peter looked at it closely and discovered that the face was exactly like gene's. it was as though he had copied the makeup to a t. and of course he had'nt.
peter checked the book out and brought it to the hotel they were staying in. everyone was amazed at the similarity, especially gene. but he was adamant. "i'm not changing my image just because it looks like that guy."
paul said, "i'm gonna buy some garlic and wear it around my neck."
"that won't work," ace said. "your enemy has to be dracula."
"i'm gonna carry a crucifix," peter said.
ace grimaced. "that aint gonna work, either. that's for dracula again."
"well, what're we gonna do?" asked paul somewhat frantically. "it's clear now the figure we fought in that detroit hotel room was obedi."
"yeah, that's right," ace said. "and he could come back again at any time. he could even take gene's place on stage and we'd never know the difference."
"yes, we would," said peter. "this god looks like he knows how to sing."
gene grunted, "that ain't funny...and i'm not changing."
"for the good of the group, gene, you have to change."
"no, i don't."
"but he may kill us all!"
"i'll take that chance," gene said."
"you'll take that chance? what about us?"
"we don't change," said gene with an air of finality.
in 1975 and 1976 kiss records went gold and double platinum. bread kept pouring in at a fantastic rate. the group went on a concert tour and made still more money. if there was a jinx at work, it certainly did'nt have any power over kiss' ability to make money and to please audiences all over the world.
in one of it's reviews, cashbox wrote: :almost as one, collective roaring approval of the crowd reaches the stage as, what one poll called "the greatest rock band in the world" answers back with a deafening mix of blaring guitars and driving drums. whatever one says about the music, it's the best mixture of rock spectacle, mock theater and high camp out on tour today...may the kiss tribe increase and multiply."
there was something very significant about that last line. their overseas tour included canada, england, france, the netherland, sweden and denmark. in every country the audiences swore that while kiss was on stage working there was an extra gene simmons lurking near the stage.
fans said that they thought it was a new kiss gimmick. or perhaps a fan that dressed up like gene. many of the fans had their own kiss costumes and makeup on, so that this gene mimic fit right in.
privately, kiss knew better. no fan was allowed in the area where the extra gene had been seen. they knew it was obedi, probably trying to work some more mischeif.
in germany there was mischeif. all the lights went out at a crucial point in the kiss routine. the circuit breakers had been tripped by an unknown hand. kiss knew who the hand belonged to.
in sweden there was more mischeif. the gig date had been switched. twenty thousand fans showed up on the wrong night. kiss had to hurry into costume and perform to avert a riot.
in denmark the instruments were misplaced. the concert was delayed two hours and another riot was in the making among impatient fans.
paul said, "gene, i'm going mad. think of another character for yourself before this obedi gets completely out of hand."
the worst incident occurred in switzerland. kiss woke up one morning to find their picture plastered all over the front page of the local newspaper. they appeared to be in some rathskeller, in a drunked condition. they were in full costume.
actually, they had been in their hotel rooms all night sleeping.
peter was furious. "what if lydia sees this?"
ace growled, "this ain't fair. somebody's imitating us and getting us in a lot of trouble. we ain't boozehounds."
paul stared hard at the newspaper photo.
"they are us. we can't get away with saying they are phonies. they look exactly like us."
gene slumped in a chair, grim-faced. "it's obedi again. he can assume the likeness of all four of us."
"he's a god, right? so he can do it," gene insisted.
"yeah, but he ain't real," ace said. "he exists only in the minds of the obedi people."
"he sure as hell existed in that detroit hotel room," gene reminded him.
"i ain't sure about that. could've been somebody else."
paul looked at gene hopefully. "so you'll change now?"
gene said, "no way. i'm not destroying my character because it's offensive to some obscure god. if he were a regular, run-of-the-mill god, fine. i'd do it. but this creep lords it over a handful of people in haiti. he don't count. and suppose i change my image and then offend a bigger god with my new character? what then?"
paul nodded sadly. "i see what you mean."
the group reached new heights of popularity. fifty thousand fans came to see kiss at anaheim, california. later, at madison square garden, the reception was tremendous. the seats sold out so quickly that an extra concert had to be set up at nearby nassau coliseum to satisfy disappointed fans.
their tour of japan was so incredible that it rivaled the beatles invasion of that country. the kiss army grew by leaps and bounds. everywhere kiss played now, they could see their fans in outrageous makeup cheering them on.
in japan, obedi made his presence known at every performance. he sat in a front row seat along with the other costumed fans, staring up at gene simmons on stage.
gene always saw him. so did peter, paul and ace. "he's driving us nuts," said paul. "he just sits there and glares."
gene suddenly grinned. "you know what i'm going to do tonight? i'm gonna invite him up on stage."
"are you going bonkers, gene?"
"no, maybe if we we embarrass him he'll go away."
"it's crazy. he could tear the place apart."
"that's nothing new. we do that ourselves anyway.
that night, obedi occupied a front row seat. kiss played "strutter", "detroit rock city","deuce" and "nothing to lose". after the latter number was over, gene stopped the show and spoke into the mike: "we have an amazing look-alike in our audience tonight. i want him to come up on stage and let everyone see how closely he resembles me." he pointed to obedi. "you, sir, please come up."
obedi sat riveted to his seat.
gene laughed. "he's shy. suppose we all give him a great big hand and show him he's among friends."
the audience clapped. many craned their necks to see who was getting all the attention. gene said, "come on, sir, come up and let everybody see you."
the fans near obedi urged him to get up. he had no alternative. reluctantly, he mounted the platform and recieved a tremendous round of applause because of his amazing resemblance to gene simmons.
both of them stood there in front of the microphone, tall, lanky, long-legged. their makeup was identical, although it was obvious to gene that obedi was nt wearing any. nevertheless, to the audience it looked as though one was the clone of the other.
while the applause thundered, gene placed his hand over the mike and said, "you son of a bitch, you're no god. you're the same as the rest of us."
obedi glared at gene. "a god can take many forms." to prove his point he stuck his tongue out at gene, a tongue as long as gene's and just as pointy. obedi then made his tongue disappear. the audience thought he had retracted it. gene, however, knew better.
kiss 'monster' went ashen.
obedi continued to glare icily at his counterpart. "will you stop imitating a real god?"
gene glared back. he was adamant, even in the face of this second-rate god who dressed up in ridiculous clothing. "no way."
the audience was still cheering. the man and god faced each other on stage in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. peter, paul and ace moved closer, feeling that gene may need their muscle. they had thrown obedi out a window in detroit; they could throw him off stage here in japan.
gene sraled, "i'm not changing my image for nobody."
obedi was furious now. he lifted both arms high and roared, "then prepare yourself for the consequences."
he whirled suddenly and pointed his finger at paul's guitar. the instrument went up in flames and paul got rid of it fast. obedi pointed a slender finger at peter's drums and the whole set exploded in a shower of wood and chrome splinters.
the audience thought it was part of the act and cheered wildly.
obedi pointed at an amplifier and the instrument blew up. he pointed at other things on stage and they too caught fire or blew up. sparks flew. there were great puffs of white smoke. the gear on the stage was in a shambles and the whole area was clouded with white smoke.
no kiss finale was as wild or effective as the one created by the god obedi, and the audience went completely out of their minds. what obedi had done had knocked their collective socks off.
he stormed the rear now, but spun around and waved both arms. the gesture knocked kiss to the floor of the stage. all four went down as though struck by lightning.
lyning on the fllor now, the audience rendering a standing ovation, the smoke still heavy, ace was the first to recover. dazedly, he looked at peter. "can we get him for scale?"
gene staggered to his feet. 'i'll kill him!"
he started to go after obedi, but the others restrained him.
paul said, 'you can't kill a god, you know that."
"more likely he'll kill you," peter said, "unless you give in and dump the monster character."
"never, damn it, never!"
peter, paul and ace sagged to the floor again. ace moan, "the curse will never be lifted."
peter said, "we'll have to force gene to change his mind."
paul shook his head. "not gene. you can't force him to do anything he does'nt want to.
that night at their hotel, kiss settled down to some serious thinking on the subject of what to do about the curse and gene's adamant refusal to give in to obedi.
"look, we have to take positive action one way or the other," ace said
"what does that mean?" asked paul.
"what i mean is, we have to go on the offensive with this thing. all along we've been waiting for bad things to happen to obedi."
"simple. we prove to his worshippers that he's mortal just like the rest of us."
"but he ain't."
ace sighed impatiently. "i'll spell it out. if you don't like the idea, just say so."
frehley spent the next 20 minutes convincing the others that his idea was worthy of at least a ret. "we got nothing to lose. obedi is here in japan. he won't know a thing about it until it's all over."
gene simmons gave his okay. "i'm not kowtowing to that god creep, so we may as well go ahead with it."
the other two gave reluctant approval.
"if this don't work," said paul, "i'm going to obedi's side. he's got a better act."
before dawn the following morning, four figures in business suits boarded a chartered plane bound for haiti. no one was aware of kiss' departure from japan. the group had a week's free time between concerts and felt they had enough time to do what they had to do and still get back in time to fininsh out their five budokan dates.
it was dark when the plane touched down at port-au-prince. kiss rented a limo and a chauffer and told him to drive north into obedi country. during the drive, gene changed inti his monster outfit. paul and peter held a mirror so that he could put on his makeup.
while they were doing that, ace frehley opened a large suitcase and took out the parts of two automatic weapons. he put them together and loaded them with clips. all four then sat back quietly and rode in silence.
the chauffer stopped outside the village af matpu in the northwestern sector. without turning around, he said: "i go no further, mon!"
ace told him to wait. he and the others got out. they walked toward the village square. gene strode ahead, his long legs streching, his feet stomping heavily. ace and paul held the weapons. peter was un-armed. the three of them hung back now and melted into the shadows. gene was alone now in the center of the square.
matpa was the largest village in obedi country, gene's performance would be seen by a large number of haitians.
he stopped and let out a loud roar. he turned, his arms high. he released tiny nitro glycerine capsules from his hands, causing small explosions around him.
the villagers came out of their thatched huts, wide-eyed, amazed by the sudden appearance of their obedi god.
they dropped to their knees and bowed low enough to kiss the ground. a few minutes later, everyone in the village was in the square, bowing and praying to theor god who stood now roaring his displeasure.
gene waited until his subjects were looking at him, then gave the signal to ace and paul.
suddenly, the night was exploding with the sounds of automatic gunfire. gene took the bullets in his face and body, twisting grotesquely as they slammed into him. he staggered about. the villagers screamed. gene fell in a heap on the ground, jerking spasmodically for a few seconds before streching out in death.
ace, peter and paul slipped back to the car and waited. they could see the villagers moving cautiously toward gene's body. they were saying things which they could not understand. ace said to the chauffer, "let's have it."
the chauffer translated. "they are saying their god was a false one. obedi was mortal, not a god."
ace smiled. "good...good."
after the last villager went back to his hut, gene crept out of the square and hurried to the limo. he climbed in beside ace. "those blood pellets hurt, man."
"we've discredited obedi. that's more important," ace said.
kiss made it back to japan with one day to spare.
the incident occured more than a year ago. kiss reports that so far there have been no "accidents" and no sign of obedi.
they can't be sure that their trick worked or that the curse which plagued them since 1973 has finally been broken.
gene has won, tentatively. he has not changed his image. the feelong is that obedi went back to haiti and learned that his villagers hate him for deceiving them.
the report on the curse must end here. we have no way of knowing if it has been successfully removed. as this story is being wrapped up, kiss is in buffalo and preparing for a trip to toledo, ohio. they are going by van.