All images courtesy of Getty Images/Wiki Commons
By Dylan Peggin
It hadn’t been until recently that testimonials became public, further piecing together the puzzle of the KISS/Sam Loomis saga that has KISS fans ravenously invested.
Andrew Sgambati’s statement was one notable testimony and a justifiably reliable one, given his stature in the KISS fan circles. Now we hear from the main source themselves. In a recent post on the KISSFAQ forum, ‘Sam Loomis’ has spoken up in regards to the backstory of an anonymous acquaintance’s time as a KISS video collector and how they came in contact with someone by the name of ‘Lori Strode,’ leading to the events that transpired over the Summer of 2022
This fan’s journey as a KISS fan is just like anyone else’s: They stated that the Alive! album is the reason why music played such a huge role in their life. They wanted to pay homage to the album by gathering various clips together from 1974 to early 1976 to create a video counterpart to the Alive! album commemorating its 30th anniversary, which would’ve fallen in 2005. While most songs that appear on the album circulate in video form from concerts and performances that are rather familiar to KISS fans, there was still the occasional case where some songs existed in one source or none. Some assistance was going to be needed.
KISS video buying/trading began to run rampant around the mid-1980s when KISS conventions started to pop up. This anonymous person was an early buyer and trader of shows and had built up enough material to remain a player in that circle. Within the initial circle, there was a sub-circle that was trading shows that were harder to come across, and the main distinction fell down to the one word that even Gene Simmons would wag his tongue over: money.
The anonymous person’s intent of their Alive! video was to use seconds of one clip and then cut to the nest, thus making a unique multi-source edit of each song. During the early 2000s, they were introduced to an individual by the name of ‘Lori Strode,’ who claimed they had a minute’s – in reality was two minutes – worth of footage of KISS at the Academy of Music in early 1974, featuring Paul Stanley wearing the bandit makeup (remember that clip?). The anonymous person was interested in purchasing a copy of the footage and Strode listed their price at $1,000 with no screenshots of the footage. Sure, this offer is laughable, but Strode was serious. In short, the anonymous person declined.
Who is Lori Strode?
Strode was known for tracking down many KISS concerts and purchasing master tapes/film reels. Some material was obtained via trades, and some material, notably silent 8/16/32mm film shot by fans at shows, was purchased, allowing them to copyright the material as his legally. The same can be said for photographers who take photos of individuals but don’t own the likeliness of the individual.
Let’s jump to 2006 when the KISSOLOGY DVD series went live. KISS and VH1 Classic went to Strode for footage since they had owned master tapes of footage that did exist in the band’s archives, albeit in poorer quality. While KISS fully retains the copyrights, Strode had the masters and was ballsy enough to license their tapes for a set price per minute to the band. One would think that Strode would have simply just given KISS the masters since it’s material that belongs to them, right? It draws back to the ringleader of this psycho circus of inner tape trading and the sole principle: money.
KISS & VH1 Classic couldn’t agree upon their prices, so what existed in poorer quality was ultimately released in the KISSOLOGY series, along with some material not owned by the band that was licensed. When it came time to assemble Vol. 4, the parties knew they would rely on Strode for a lot of footage that wasn’t even in KISS’ possession to make the project enticing to pursue. A contract was drafted, and a set price was determined. Supposedly, once word got back to Gene Simmons about Strode’s pricing, he deemed it unsuitable, and KISSOLOGY was dead.
Since 2007, there has been no visual anthology release/series that focuses on KISS, which leaves Strode out of a job. Flash forward to 2021, A&E starts assembling the KISStory documentary. A&E was insistent on using footage that hadn’t been seen, which Strode possessed, and they, along with other parties, contributed material to the documentary. Only a small portion of what Strode brought to the table was used due to the exorbitant prices they were asking. A&E shot themselves in the foot when they gave Strode access to the server that also included footage KISS has provided for the documentary, and what Strode found was a treasure trove of footage.
With both KISS and A&E not wanting to do much business with Strode, they found their next target: fans that are “deprived” of seeing unseen material. A 3TB hard drive was curated of the material that was bought, traded, and then STOLEN. Ballpark estimates the price of this hard drive range from $10k-$35k, which also came with the promise that “no one else has this footage.” It wasn’t long until clips that some people supposedly were the only ones to own would begin to circulate. Based on Andrew Sgambati’s first-hand account, copies of Largo ’75 were openly distributed at Creatures Fest in the spring of 2022.
It is unknown how many people purchased this 3TB hard drive, but six anonymous individuals that the anonymous person has identified are known to have the hard drive. For every time Loomis had uploaded footage and had it taken down, downloads had been made by viewers, and those have been shared via Google Drive links and re-uploaded to YouTube by other channels. These channels are being taken down by Strode and his army of minions, claiming their footage was stolen from a cloud. If you haven’t guessed – this is complete, total, and utter bullshit.
Some people get offended when names are thrown around, and a lack of evidence is provided to prove the juxtaposition. It’s my job, as a journalist, to report on the story and what has been stated by reliable individuals who are active in this case. This next important clue goes beyond what people have stated; this is cold-blooded factual. Who was the person who ran the ‘Lori Strode’ account on the KISSFAQ board?
Two words: Curt Gooch.
Here is Loomis’ original post on the KISSFAQ board, which provided the basis for this article”