I don’t know how this happened, but on a rainy day in Southern California I found myself inside a coffee shop, watching a video clip of former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent performing “Lick it Up” with a band called “Four By Fate” on a cruise ship.
This is nothing redeeming in this. Vincent isn’t Mick Jagger, still bringing it in his 70s. Vincent isn’t Tony Bennett, smooth, savvy, cool. He isn’t even Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley, the two KISS
hucksters headmen milking every last penny out of a lark that should have ended decades ago.
Nope. Vinnie Vincent—KISS guitarist from 1982 through part of 1984—is 66-years-old, probably getting paid, oh, $1,000 to wear the makeup one last time and halfheartedly perform a sorta kinda long-ago hit with a band no one has ever heard of. To watch him there, on the stage, going through the motions in a T-shirt featuring his youthful likeness, is just … awful.
But it’s awful in a can’t-look-away way; in a “Did this really happen?” sorta mode.
I’m only 46, but I’m well aware how this goes. For most of us, aging involves a declining in skills, a rise in wrinkles, mounting forgetfulness, limited relevance. It’s an ugly, downward spiral that only ends when we blink for that final time.
Now imagine doing so in makeup.
On a boat.