"Mini KISS rocks and roll all night."

By Jason Tanamor

I've been playing guitar for a number of years. I've been in shitty bands, all of which were covers of whatever music influenced me at that time in my life. The songs were a collection of different bands, different genres and even different eras. I knew it was just for fun, as a professional cover band would never make it. Being that cover bands are essentially doing what it says - covers - the best you could be is second best. Unless you're covering Culture Club, then you have a chance of surpassing them. Then I met Joseph Fatale, founder of Mini KISS, a professional cover band that solely revolves around KISS. He proved me wrong with the notion that cover bands can't make it. Fatale recently sat down with me to talk about the little band that could.

Q - Why did you decide to put this band together?

A - Kiss was my all time favorite 70’s metal band. It then became 80’s metal and I was a drummer all my life and just loved jamming to all the greatest drummers - Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, etc. There were so many metal bands I was into, and I also was in a lot of local bands during High School. During those days there was no way we were gonna make it because it was the 80’s hair band/pretty boy look, so I just went on, always in the entertainment industry. About eight years ago, I was in an All Little People Heavy Metal band that these Jersey guys and I put together. But in that band there were too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Like every book I read on bands (I read them all), bands always have someone that has a huge head and always wants to be the main attraction. I was in that band but I also had brains and looking at the cover of my still unopened Kiss Alive Album (Vinyl), I created Mini KISS. I looked at the album and just saw four little people dressed as KISS. And the name Mini KISS just popped into my head. So I left the other little people band, and they fell apart four months later. But the thing with them was, even though they were all original, people would still degrade them. With us, it’s so different. It’s insane, the look, the fire, the blood, everything about us is so much like KISS, and that's why people accept us and love what we’re doing. I tell ya, it’s the biggest, greatest high being on that stage and doing what we’re doing. Now we’re on the way of doing our own songs. I always wanted to write our own songs, and that's why Mini KISS has been in action for eight years, because everyone in it, is like family. I don't want any leaders. I tell people/reporters/interviews/ we are family. We are all great at what we do. Each of us is awesome at his part, and that's a family. The minute someone thinks he is God’s gift, there goes the family. That's why I say to my members, “You do your thing, and that's all I care about.” A great performance for our greatest fans, that's what makes me happy, and makes this group a family, and of course, I always say, “If it wasn't for KISS, Mini KISS wouldn't be here.”

Q - I read that you had to find other little people to be in the band. How much of a challenge was it to do this?

A – Well yes, like any band I auditioned a lot of people. To this day I have some different members. I’m like the real KISS, not because of big heads but because of when I auditioned, I had a lot to choose from and still like a lot of them so I just keep switching players around. They’re great friends and like family to me, so I keep them rotating and I have fun with all them. They’re all great, and I had an idea when I started this and still do this. I use male and female singers because, to me it’s all about the voice in rock and roll.

Q - Are all of you professional musicians or did you have to learn in order to participate?

A - We used backtrack a lot in the beginning. To this day, we still use backtracks, but I do have to say I do have real guitarists, drummers, bassists, and singers. The funny thing is, to this day, I have had fans ask why do you use backtracks, and perform for real? The reason is the most important thing to me - our stage show. We all know KISS was well known for their stage show, so I made sure that everyone learned all about KISS, who they were impersonating, and also just KISS themselves. Everyone did. But some of my people were real musicians and knew all about KISS, so that was an extra in my book. I do use different people, but that's why we use backtracks. It’s hard to really play and run around that stage and just make the fans smile with blood, fire, energy, and extreme concentration.

Q - Who is in the band and what did everyone do before joining?

A - I cannot say who is in because we have a lot of different members, but it’s me, Joseph Fatale, the one who will always be in and everyone that joined, well some of them still have regular 9-5er's and a lot of them just do entertainment. Some of my people to this day continue to do all sorts of entertainment. Like myself, I do Mini Elvis, Mini Slash.

Q - What do you want to accomplish with Mini KISS?

A – Mini KISS is also a really little man band. That’s what our original name is because when I created Mini KISS I was in the process of doing my own music, my own creation of all little people and Mini KISS is really Little Man Band. Mini KISS is the most famous cover band I’ve ever heard of. The other one is Posin.’

Q - How does it feel knowing that the best you can ever be is second best?

A – Wow, what can I say, it’s a great accomplishment to know I succeeded in something that I created, to let all people around the world know that everyone has talent, and minds, and success and if you put your mind to anything, you can definitely accomplish it. Especially being physically challenged, to me, shows you got it. That’s why I do a lot of charities because to me I like to give back to others who really have a very bad physical disability. Show the world anyone can succeed and love one another no matter what or how they look. In this life, it’s great to see the young kids really loving Mini KISS/Little Man Band. After all the disasters, world tragedies, 9-11 that still affect us, we have to move on and it is what it is. In life, time takes its course and those who do wrong will not be with us on the other side. That's what I say and think.

Q - What's the best part about this gig?

A - The best part is traveling to different cities. There are so many different people and the best part is being on that stage and just seeing the great fans and the love all the people give to you when you perform. It's such a huge high.

Q - What do you say to those people who don't take you seriously?

A - I have been doing this for nine years and the last five years we have been so successful that there will always be your positive and negative about what we do, and to those people who don't take us seriously, well that's their prerogative. They come see the show, they know what the show is about, and they know what they’re in for. And that's why I want to take this project to the next level. That's why we are in the studio as we speak because we are going to make our own songs, our own music, and since right now we’re on top we’re going to make this happen.

Q - Have you ever considered, or should I say, has KISS ever considered doing a show with you guys?

A – Nah, no one has said that. People have asked but you got to look at it this way, they are the same songs, the same band, but the uniqueness of two different looks. We have opened for many, many big bands and it’s better like that. I tell you one thing, I would love to make a movie and have a cameo with KISS called, “Honey I shrunk KISS.” HA HA.

Q - How long will you do this?

A – I’m gonna go on forever and ever, as long as I can go. The best part is the kids love us and seeing young, teenaged kids saying, “We love Mini KISS,” makes me so excited. It is so awesome and they all ask when we are coming out with a CD. That's why we’re in the studio.

Q - Anything you wanted to add?

A – Well, one thing is to the other imitators, imitation is the best form of flattery and us imitating the gods of rock and roll and being the first and ever little people tribute band in the world and we loving what we do is great and we take our show very serious. Please feel free to visit our website to see when we’ll be in your city. We travel all over the world constantly and in the US. Go to www.minikissonline.com or www.myspace.com/minikiss or www.littlemanband.com and you will see tons of cool clips and will see when Mini KISS will be in your neighborhood.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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