Canadian rock reporter and photographer Mitch Lafon is no stranger to the world of rockstars. Having interviewed and photographed rock gods from every corner of the scene, Lafon is now turning his attention to a different aspect of the rock world -- the philanthropic side.
Mixing his personal experience, his love of KISS and his vast industry contacts, Lafon is organizing a 40th anniversary KISS tribute album, titled A World With Heroes, and he’s got musicians from bands like Guns N’ Roses, Great White, Firehouse, L.A. Guns and more getting on board to help make it happen.
Lafon’s father-in-law died of cancer in January, and Lafon is honoring his memory by donating a portion of the proceeds of this project to the Vaudreuil-Solanges Palliative Care Unit, where his father-in-law received incredible care in his last days.
Now, all Lafon needs is fan support to see his current PledgeMusic campaign through to the end. Get the details in our interview below and then pick the exclusive that looks best to you!
You’ve talked about calling in favors from friends to get this project going, but did things ever snowball even further than that? Did friends call in favors from their friends?
I’m not sure I’d call it “calling in favors” -- these guys are doing it out of the kindness of their heart. Not because they feel they “owe” me anything. It has snowballed, Terry Ilous of Great White took a very hands-on approach and put me in touch with many other artists. He donated his time and knowledge to help make this come true.
As you thought about raising funds for Vaudreuil-Solanges Palliative Care Unit, did you ever figure that the response would be this far-reaching with so many bands involved? What were your initial expectations when you started asking friends in the business to help you?
I expected this would all be done within 24 hours with a lot of no’s or “We don’t have time now.” I never expected everybody to come on board and do it without ego or demands. They’ve all agreed to participate for the right reason -- they simply want to help. It’s been very touching.
What has been the single biggest surprise of all of the offers to be involved?
Every single person that has offered their time is the biggest surprise. The saying is “time is money,” but everybody involved has said, “Just tell me what, where, where …. and we’ll do it.” I can appreciate that donating their time is the most valuable asset and act of kindness.
What made you decide on a KISS tribute album as the project to work toward?
Well, I knew I needed to do something to raise awareness, and I happen to be a rabid KISS fan. My father-in-law passed away in January 2013, which also happened to mark KISS’ 40th anniversary. The epiphany came in the timing of both.
Do you have a favorite KISS song?
A? There are simply too many great KISS songs. The one in my head now is “I Stole Your Love” -- a classic from the 1977 “Love Gun” album.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us more about the Palliative Care Unit and what the money is going toward?
The Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Center is in Hudson, Quebec. It is where my father-in-law passed away on Jan 4, 2013. The care was dignified and wonderful. The reason I want to give back is because the center runs on donations and I want anyone that is going through or someday will go through what we had to endure to have this place for comfort, care and dignity of their loved one. The Center will use the money as necessary to provide the needed care.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Simply, thank you. The Center did so much for my family, and with your help I can do a little something for them. For that I am eternally grateful. It cannot be done without you, so thank you.