We met our friend Lena Koditsch on our first trip to Austria in 2018. She was just starting to play the guitar, and had her first public performance with us, playing acoustic on a few covers. Going into this latest trip, we knew that we would be spending some time with her, and playing music together, but had no idea what an impact she would have on our 3-week experience.
During dinner at the Koditsch’s home on our first night, we did a lot of catching up, listened to records, and discussed the very different style of logo that KISS used in German-speaking countries in the 70s. When we finally made our way to the family’s new music room, we realized how serious she had gotten with her musical pursuits. In addition to the acoustic guitars, there were now an assortment of electrics, amplifiers, and harmonicas laying around. She told us that she had learned a few of our songs, including Ed’s solo in Meet Me in the Morning. We invited her to play the song with us at Michi’s Seeschenke, and she pulled off the song and solo expertly.
For Ed, it was a dreamlike experience to have a solo that he improvised in the studio be played note for note next to him on stage. Lena had also performed the song earlier in the evening with her guitar teacher at her music school. She played the song with us three more times during the tour, and was soon trading improvised guitar lines back and forth with Ed during the extended ending.
For Lena’s final performance with us, we added Nymeria to the list with her playing the harmonica and harmonizing with Ed on the solo. It was the first time Kelsey had performed the song without the rack around her neck, and it felt like she was getting to hear the song from the audience’s perspective.
Getting to hear pieces of our music performed by someone outside the band is new to us. It’s a unique feeling to hear our parts when we aren’t the ones playing them. It is an honor to have someone take the time to learn the things that we’ve written, and on top of that, to play them so perfectly. Lena added so much to our performances that it was sad to leave her behind, but we are already doing some long distance planning to prepare for next year.