When the tongue-wagging members of heavy-metal band Kiss descend on Hard Rock Live this Sunday, there's a chance they may be upstaged by their own tribute act: MiniKiss.
That would be Mini-Gene, Mini-Ace, Mini-Peter and Mini-Paulina, the novelty band composed of dwarf performers in Kiss makeup and a devil-may-care attitude to match. They range in height from 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 1 inch, but pack all the greasepaint, fake blood and showmanship of their big-Kiss counterparts.
Louis Fatale, who co-founded MiniKiss with his late brother, Joey, accompanies the band on tour as their manager. He talked about the group before their Sunday night concert at Seminole Paradise.
You guys had a high-profile meeting with Kiss: a Super Bowl commercial in 2010.
That was definitely the highlight of our career. When they approached us, I thought, "This can't be. Really?" One thing led to another, and we were in California with Kiss, for 18 hours, hanging out with our idols, man. We had a Mini-Paul at the time, and it was hard for him to keep in sync with [Paul Stanley's] guitar moves. We had to keep shooting retakes.
So you do low-profile shows? Do people demand MiniKiss for their bar mitzvahs?
[Laughs] Definitely. We've done shows for crowds of 10 people up to 5,000. One family gave us their BMW to roll up in to do their son's bar mitzvah. We get a lot of hardcore Kiss fans. Sometimes, wives will call up and go, "It's my husband's 50th birthday. Can you come in?' Our last little party was on Long Island for Ray Romano's birthday.
So what does it take to rock out as a MiniKiss member?
It's a grueling process. The absolute minimum is a month of watching Kiss videos on YouTube. Say you're a little person, and you love Mini-Ace. It's your job to watch as many videos as you can, know your character and know when Ace does things onstage. The height limit is 5-foot-1.
Gene Simmons says his favorite Kiss song is "the one that sells the most." What is MiniKiss' favorite?
He's funny. I love him. Our favorite, actually, is "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II."
You'll be playing next door to your idols on Sunday. How often does that happen?
This is actually the first time we've played right before Kiss. We're so pumped. We're basically opening up for them. We even bought tickets to the show.
MiniKiss will perform a free concert at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Center Fountain at Seminole Paradise, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Doors will open for Kiss at 7 p.m. at Hard Rock Live. Tickets cost $79-$169. Call 954-797-5531 or go to HardRockLiveHollywoodFl.org.