For three months during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Ron Williams wrote himself into the pages of KISStory.
That is to say, the English teacher at Terry Fox Secondary authored a memoir about growing up in Port Coquitlam in the 1970s and 80s, obsessed with the rock band KISS.
Now self-published on Amazon.ca, I Stole Your Love: The 100% True Story of a 100% True KISS Fan is not only a nod to his hometown, it’s also an homage to the foursome that got him through those early years in PoCo.
The book is a collection of Williams’ best childhood stories with KISS at its heart.
In 255 pages, he writes about his experiences as a KISS fan while at Cedar Drive Elementary, George Pearkes Junior Secondary and Terry Fox Secondary.
His enthusiasm for the band solidified when he got his first package of KISS trading cards at the age of six, in 1978.
“There’s something about the raw, blue-collar attitude of north PoCo that made it a natural match for KISS,” he writes in his book that came out this month.
Williams also describes landmarks well known to longtime PoCo residents, and he even drops a few of his buddies’ names who were also on the KISS ride.
Among them, Jason and Sean Laverty, Graeme Metcalf, Ronald Nitschke, Paul Carter, Corey Geill, Steve Pukesh, Darren Hankey and Robb Mawhinney.
And, of course, his “nemesis,” Jason Pretzer.
Pretzer was the one with whom Williams regularly competed for the title of Best KISS Fan.
Still, the rivalry only fuelled Williams’ passion.
He devoured any news about the mega group, religiously bought their recordings and headed into Vancouver to shop for KISS memorabilia at Collectors RPM.
But, Williams told the Tri-City News, he has sold most of those items now, although he did include images of some prized possessions in his book: records; his all-time favourite cassette tape (Creatures of the Night); his scrapbook with Gene Simmons on the cover; drawings and writings submitted to the now-defunct Firehouse Magazine and concert posters.
Williams has some pretty cool stories about going to KISS concerts, including a rare chance to meet the group backstage at the PNE Coliseum after he and his buddies — as well as Pretzer and his group — were asked by a roadie to polish the tour bus wheels.
Now a father to four men, all of whom listened to dad idolize KISS, Williams said he hasn’t yet shared the news about his publication with his Fox students.
However, they know Mr. Williams is a super fan.
He has a small shrine in his classroom and, in the community, he likes to loop back with his childhood buds — including Pretzer — to relive the KISS days.
Williams said he didn’t pen the book to get famous or make money; he only wanted to get his stories out.
“It’s near and dear to my heart,” he said of the book. “My mom read it and said it was like The Wonder Years meets KISS. It’s like going down memory lane.”
As for his KISS favourites, Williams gives the star to Paul Stanley.
“He’s an excellent frontman. He has positive messages in his songs. I love that he doesn’t take things too seriously; he keeps it light.”
And his song? “Sure Know Something” from Dynasty.
To purchase a copy of I Stole Your Love: The 100% True Story of a 100% True KISS Fan, you can go to Amazon's website for a print or ebook version. Williams also has Facebook (@IStoleYourLoveBook) andTwitter (@truekissfan) highlighting his new work.