The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame is miles away but its academy is in Sioux Falls. Rock legends are becoming regulars in Sioux Falls. Members of the band KISS visited again over the weekend to talk with children at the Brennan Rock and Roll Academy.
“It's all about giving back,” guitarist Paul Stanley said. “Sooner or later success means giving back. It's not an option. It's an obligation.”
And the young fans welcoming them over the weekend would agree that the famous faces provide inspiration and motivation.
“Here's a cool place. They can come, be together, share ideas, and have big dreams because all kids have dreams. Mostly it's a safe environment where they can soar. Anything is possible and that's great,” bass guitarist Gene Simmons said.
The academy gives kids a chance to meet the great ones; maybe even learn from them too. The band's short Sioux Falls stop over the weekend was sandwiched between big concerts in Canada and Wisconsin. Some had been here before, for others it was the first time.
“That's priceless and that's what it’s all about. It's about putting the smiles on their faces, and ultimately giving kids something to do, whether it's sports, any activity, music or sports, an activity rather than playing a Gameboy or punking around on the corner on the streets,” drummer Eric Singer said.
“We're clearly in the most important place, where the kids are. That's what it's about,” Simmons said.
To these kids just seeing the rockers means a lot. KISS isn't the first big name to walk into the academy. It opened to great fanfare this spring and just as many big names. Stars from bands like Motley Crue, even comedians and other big name celebrities chipped in on The Venue's opening weekend to raise more than $1 million for the kids.
For these legends, making a stop means making new fans, but more importantly, making a difference.
“A place for kids to come down in the afternoon, get that musical input, learn to play instruments and take them to the stage, so I think it's an important part of that evolution for kids definitely,” lead guitarist Tommy Thayer said.
“I always say, pave the road behind you smoother for the next person. That's what life is about,” Singer said.
KISS also said they're making their own special contribution to the Brennan Rock And Roll Academy. They're paying for the lessons of any student who signs up between now and the end of the year.