Local man has KISS connection
One Brazil man now has a connection to a band he's been a fan of for more than 35 years.
Mark Buckingham recently designed drumsticks for KISS's drummer Eric Singer, and the drumsticks are currently being sold at the band's concerts.
In 2011, Buckingham painted a drumstick for Singer with a picture of him in full makeup and one of his outfits.
"We've been talking back and forth for a long time," Buckingham said. "In May, my daughter and I went to a convention and (Singer) asked me then if I'd be interested in doing some artwork for him. He wanted me to draw a full body image of him on his drumstick, and he said he might possibly print them on drumsticks."
Buckingham began drawing different designs for Singer, who would look them over and send back edits or suggestions. Eventually, the two settled on a design with Singer's face in full makeup.
The drumsticks were printed and are now sold unsigned for $25 at all of KISS's concerts.
Buckingham has been a KISS fan since he was a sixth-grader. Buckingham began attending concerts with his close friend Byron Halfhill about 10 years ago. They also attended KISS expos and conventions, trying to get autographs from everyone involved in the band.
Last year, Halfhill passed away from cancer.
"I miss going with him," Buckingham said. "I started getting my jacket signed with (Halfhill), so I really wanted to finish it out with him. But now my daughter stepped up to go with me."
In September, Buckingham and his children attended a KISS concert, complete with VIP backstage passes.
"I told (Singer) I would like to get a picture with him in makeup," Buckingham said. "He left me backstage passes for the concert. I just figured it was just to go back and get my picture with him."
Instead, Buckingham received VIP passes with total backstage access. He and his daughter got to meet with the opening band, KISS's website designer, KISS's manager and every member of KISS.
"We got to get our picture with the band," Buckingham said. "We talked with (Singer). He remembered my daughter and me after all these years. He looked at my daughter and said, 'Hey, weren't you here last year?'"
Buckingham was able to get his jacket signed by more KISS band and crewmembers. Everyone involved in the band, except band member Paul Stanley, have now signed the jacket.
Buckingham, who works at Great Dane Trailers, has been drawing and painting his entire life. In 2007, he became interested in graphic design.
"I just started getting noticed last year," Buckingham said.
Buckingham estimated he's been to at least 10-15 KISS concerts, a number that is sure to keep rising.