Did the Metric System Really Keep Yngwie Malmsteen Out of Kiss?
The United States' refusal to adopt the metric system may have cost Yngwie Malmsteen a job in Kiss.
The Swedish guitar wizard said he was approached about replacing the band's founding guitarist, Ace Frehley, in 1982, but confusion over Malmsteen's height may have contributed to him not being offered the position. Malmsteen shared the story while telling EonMusic about various jobs he had been offered by artists such as UFO and David Lee Roth.
"When I actually lived in Sweden, I was offered a gig in Kiss," he said. "They wanted to talk to me. They called me up, and the guy said, 'Are you hot?' And then he asked me, 'Are you six feet tall?' And I’m metric, right? I’m 6’3"; I’m actually quite tall. I’m 192cm, so I said, 'No, I’m 192,' and he goes, 'What the fuck’s that?' So they never called back, so I didn’t end up with an ankh on my face!"
Following Frehley's 1982 departure, Vinnie Vincent was selected to join the band and assigned the character of the Ankh Warrior. The next year the band dropped the makeup gimmick.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology reports that the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that does not use the metric system as its predominant system of measurement.
According to Britannica, "Whenever the discussion of switching unit systems arose in Congress, the passage of a bill favoring the metric system was thwarted by big businesses and American citizens who didn’t want to go through the time-consuming and expensive hassle of changing the country’s entire infrastructure."
Malmsteen will kick off a U.S. tour in support of his recently released album, Parabellum, on Aug. 14 in New Bedford, Mass.