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Local Heroes Kix Recall Their Greatest DC Rock & Roll Moments

The Hagerstown metal greats play the M3 Rock Fest May 3-5.

Frontman Steve whiteman (center) is still getting his Kix. Photograph by Mark Weiss.

This year’s retro-metal fest features ’80s greats including Skid Row, Quiet Riot, and Vixen. But only one act hails from Hagerstown. Yes, we’re talking about the mighty Kix, still rocking the Mid-Atlantic almost 40 years after their first album. We asked singer Steve Whiteman to share some of his most memorable experiences performing in the Washington area.


When Kix first began to play regularly, the Georgetown venue the Bayou was their home in the District. “We probably sold out that place 35 or 40 times in a row,” Whiteman says. Great for fans. Not so much for other bands: “Anybody that opened for us got booed off, pretty much. They didn’t want to hear anything but Kix!”


The band opened for David Lee Roth at the Capital Centre in 1986. The hometown crowd adored them, but they ran so far over their allotted time that the venue cut off the power. “Donnie Purnell, our then bassist, got so pissed off that he went over to [part of the stage reserved for Roth] and acted like he was pissing all over it. Some crew guys came out and grabbed him and roughed him up pretty bad.”


Kix headlined a show at the Patriot Center (now EagleBank Arena) in Fairfax shortly after 1988’s Blow My Fuse was released. For maximum metal impact, they decided to rent a scissor lift that could elevate the drum set 25 feet in the air. “The end of the night comes and I do this flip [off the platform]. It was spectacular, and the audience loved it.” But drummer Jimmy Chalfant was freaked out by the stunt. “He came off stage and said, ‘Never again.’ ”

Kix will perform at this year’s M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, May 3-5. Tickets range from $80 to $255.

This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow