Bruce Springsteen was huge in 1984. The Born in the USA tour was a success, as was the album of the same name. His music videos were all over MTV. “The Boss” was everywhere.
I remembrer buying an issue of Circus magazine [1. It might have been Creem. I don’t remember. If you do, let me know. Better yet, if you have a scan of the cover, please send it to me.] back then. The cover featured a huge picture of Springsteen, his fist raised triumphantly, that guitar hanging from his neck. A great shot, but there was something very silly in the background.
Way up in the corner was a teeny, tiny picture of Gene Simmons with the caption, “KISS says, ‘No, we’re The Boss!'”
I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever seen. Dumb and sad. KISS isn’t Springsteen and shouldn’t want to be. Gene and co. had their own thing going on. Sure, they didn’t own the mid-80’s like Bruce did, but telling fickle pop music fans, essentially, “KISS is all the Bruce you need!” wasn’t going to win their attention. Plus, it felt desperate.
Today, RIM is Gene Simmons. The Wake Up campaign is RIM saying, “No, we’re the boss!” from way up in the corner. And it’s very silly.