Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features Doug Cole. Cole is singer and guitarist for Kansas City’s own Death Valley Wolfriders, as well as the writer and artist for the comic Mortimer & The Dethwulfs, which appears monthly in American Roots Magazine, as well as in comic book form at Wolfrider gigs. A musician who writes a comic about a band — of course we are happy to have him for this (very) occasional series.
Song title: “Detroit Rock City”
Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): Regular album version from Destroyer
Why this song?
My ‘favorite song’ changes daily, so I chose a song that is extremely influential to me. This song and band have had a major impact on me ever since the first time I discovered them.
When did you first hear it?
My exact age at the time is difficult to pinpoint, but I feel that I was about 7 years old, which was 3 years after the album containing this song was released. I have an cousin who is a few years older than me, and he had some records and a player in his basement. I was at his house one day, going through his records, and I came across KISS’ Destroyer. The album cover itself instantly blew me away. I dropped the needle on it, and as soon as the guitar kicked in on “Detroit Rock City,” I was hooked. The lead guitar lines haunted me for weeks. To this day, it remains one of my favorite pieces of music.
How does music such as this inspire you in your work?
The way that KISS mixed that kind of comic book imagery with badass rock & roll is a perfect combination of my two favorite worlds. It’s like having your favorite superheroes playing in your favorite band. That kind of music and imagery really shaped my world, and have a tremendous effect on both the kind of music that I play, and the way that I draw. Ace Frehley, and his guitar work in that song, is the reason that I picked up a guitar in the first place. I love rock & roll music, and I love looking at cartoon/comic book images. KISS gives me both in one package.
How has this song changed for you since you first heard it?
Musically, it still has the same effect on me. Whenever I hear it, (and any other KISS record, for that matter), the volume goes to 11, and I’m right back to where I was the first time I heard it. The biggest difference is now knowing the personalities and history behind the makeup and the music, and so some of the magic is lost. But, despite all of my comrades who just don’t understand the attraction to this band, they will forever remain my favorite, and the most influential, band in my life.
What upcoming projects do you have?
Death Valley Wolfriders are always hitting it hard, playing locally and regionally as often as we are able. We just released the album Play For Blood in February, and are currently writing material for the follow up. The Mortimer & The Dethwulfs comic is an ongoing project that will hopefully continue to develop into bigger & badder things.