Sergio Muozwas only seven years old when he was in a Tower Records and discovered the"Alive!"album of the bandKiss.He was mesmerized by the cover, with its '70s-glam frenzy of studs, smoke, and make-up. Isolated and lonely, a recent immigrant from Mexico, Muoz connected with the band's fantasy life.
In the liner notes, Gene Simmons told his fans, "I can see you from the corners of my eyes and I know what you do when the lights go out." Creepy --- but not to a seven-year-old. "I didn't understand what it was that he was saying," Muoz remembers. "Instead of being frightened by it I was actually really comforted by it. Gene Simmons would be watching me and helping me along." Muoz imagined Simmons would help him with his homework, a rock-god guardian angel.
Now Muoz works with kids in Los Angeles as a community artist, usingillustration and storytelling exercisesto help students express themselves. He encourages them to draw confidence from being different, a value he learned from Kiss. "A certain level of craziness is something that should be pursued," he says.
(Originally aired April 6, 2012)
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