Being that I've gone on record a thousand or more times here as a lifelong/long-suffering KISS fan, you'd think I'd be pretty broken up about the demise of East Houston watering hole Nice Guy Eddie's and its accompanying, Chico-rendered mural of the Destroyer cover. Here's the thing: I'm not, and lemme tell you why.
For a start, I was never a regular patron at Nice Guy Eddie's. I had nothing against it, mind you, but there never seemed to be anything about the place that owed anything to its surrounding neighborhood. It was a perfectly hospitable, endearingly populist bar ripe for burgers and beers after your office softball game. Honestly speaking, it's a bar that could probably have existed in virtually any town across the USA. Again, there's nothing wrong with that. But there's nothing interesting or distinctive about that either.
Secondly, while yes, I'm a big fan of (vintage) KISS -- especially the Destroyer album (you can read my windy appreciation of same by clicking here) -- I've never felt they belonged on that particular wall. Oh, sure, there are piles of photographs of me posing in front of it, making any number of drunkenly idiotic gestures and faces, but much like Nice Guy Eddie's itself, there's nothing inherently East Village about KISS. They weren't of the Lower East Side. They weren't from there. They never played there, unless you count the former Academy of Music (later the Palladium and now an NYU dormitory) on East 14th Street. KISS was never a part of downtown's once-thriving punk scene. If there's a neighborhood that KISS should be memorialized in, it's at least twenty-something blocks to the north.
If you wanted to paint someone with local significance on that wall, why couldn't it have been the Ramones? Or the Dictators? Or the New York Dolls? Or Blondie? Or Television? Or Kraut? Or Lydia Lunch? Or the Cro-Mags? Or Missing Foundation? The list goes on ....and on...and on.
But putting KISS on the wall of Nice Guy Eddie's was never about that. Painting KISS on that wall -- much like naming the bar after a character in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" or hanging framed posters of Walter Hill's "The Warriors" on the interior -- was just shorthand for "garrulous guys welcome here."
Five or six weeks from now (or whenever), when someone's painted over that wall, I'll probably be a bit bummed, but only out of disdain for the bank branch or artisinal cupcake emporium or whatever it will be that's next destined for that corner.
The photo atop this post comes courtesy of Goggla from the awesme Gog Log.