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The KISS van

The KISS vanBY BETH ALLEN

 

I stumbled across the KISS van by accident. I was on Marc’s facebook page sending him a message about some music stuff (I had heard he was putting out a Mentors compilation album and I wanted to get my band The Womentors on it) and noticed a pic of his van. Hot damn! Being a huge KISS fan AND a huge VAN fan, of course I wanted to interview him about it. Here we go! Interview with Marc December 2016.

 

Name, age, where are you from?
My name is Marc DeLeon I’m 47 years old and I come from Bakersfield California.

 

What year/make/model is your van?
It is a 1977 Dodge Tradesman B100.

 

The KISS vanHow long have you had it and where did you find it?
I’ve had it for about 10 years and I bought it from the original owner that has a tube amplifier Oregon musical instrument repair shop here in Bakersfield. Ive tried to buy this van off of him from since the late 80s.

 

Does it have a name?
The KISS Van.

 

Tell me about the exterior and interior.
Originally the van was a copper brown. but I chose the stock dodge color “Russet StarFire.” On the driver side there is a mural of the KISS album cover and Love Gun and on the passenger side has the album cover for Destroyer. The murals were done by Jay Werner and the body work was done by Adam Metcalf American collision and frame in Bakersfield. The only modification are the chin spoiler, the visor and the three-piece odyssey Wing.


Inside is pretty stock except for the captains chairs and the red fur bed in the back.

 

inside the KISS vanWhy KISS?

I was born in 1969 and the first time I saw KISS in 1974 on TV in-concert I was hooked. The world was KISS to me. I had to fight and I had to take the ridicule for liking them. Bakersfield, California was much different than it is now. You  had Cowboys or you had Hardcore Mexicans. There were no crossed genres. I was growing up in a pretty hard-core gang area known as “The Loma.” Being that my dad was white and my mom was hispanic, I was called a coconut. Brown on the outside and white on the in. Liking a band like KISS was unacceptable in their eyes. And as far as all the Cowboys in school were concerned, I was considered a Devil worshiper.

 

Needless to say, I took a lot of shit for it. It sticks with you. Christmas 1977 I got a remote control KISS van. I told myself when I grew up I would have a van just like that. And I do.

 

adulthoodWhat are some of the reactions your van gets?

Everywhere I go is a car show. I cannot go anywhere without coming out of the store without somebody taking pictures with it all day, every day. I’ve been pulled over by police just to take a photo. I’ve had a CHP motorcycle officer almost run into me while taking a photo while he’s driving.

 

QuoteEverywhere I go people lose their shit. The van was a door opener to meet my idols and become somewhat friends with them. When KISS found out about the van and then found out that I feed the 100’s homeless people every week outside my tattoo shop and give toys on Christmas to 500 families. They really stretched out their hands to help me.


Just imagine being a little kid and a guy in a Santa Claus suit pulls up with tattoos everywhere giving out toys in a KISS van… you know that’s something to remember.

 

KISS mural close upAny plans to pimp it out MORE? And are you a do-it-yourself kinda guy or will you hire someone else to do it?

I am a do-it-yourself kind a guy and I have plans for the interior and more airbrushing.

 

Describe your wet dream van... sky’s the limit here!

I own my dream van.

 

Have you “rocked” your van?
I have rocked my van. HARD!

 

Have you had other vans in the past?
I’ve owned about 20 vans. I’m a professional musician so I need vans.

 

What are your favorite tunes to crank while rolling around in your van?
KISS, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Queen, Sweet, FogHat, Dio, Angel, and the list goes on and on.

 

Are you a Chevy, Ford or Dodge man?Quote
I like all.

 

What about ass, grass or gas?
Well I don’t smoke weed and I have my own money for gas. So it’s ASS, ASS & ASS!

 

What’s your favorite movie that has a van or vans in it?
Corvette Summer and Rock ’n’ Roll High School.

 

Have you ever been to a van truckin’ or van show-n-shine?
I’ve been to a lot of show and shines, but not a van show and shine. We really never had that kind of thing growing up in Bakersfield. I’ve always had vans. I’ve always put rims on them and fixed them up. It’s not a fad or a fashion show to me. It’s just how I grew up in the way I was raised. Vans are cool.

 

What do you think would be the ultimate theme for an air-brushed mural side of a van — BESIDES KISS?

I can’t share that because it’s being done right now. Jay Werner’s van will be done real soon. 


All I can say it’s the only thing in my opinion that will get as much attention as the KISS Van.

 

Anything else you want to add?
Please take the time out and check out Jay Werner’s site: http://www.jaywerner.com
And you can find the KISS van on facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thekissvan/

 

 

PICTURED ABOVE: (Top to Bottom) “The KISS Van”outside and in!


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