The new book Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of Kiss (1972 – 1975) chronicles the band’s embryonic days as rock n’roll fanatics from New York City’s outer boroughs with a relentless will to succeed. The book is an oral history and includes interviews with the band, their friends, and crew, as well as opening acts and other musicians who were there first hand to witness the group’s hard scrabble ascent to worldwide fame. Co-authors and for nearly 40 years the band’s leading lights, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons sat down to talk about the band’s past and future.
VH1 TUNER: How did this book come about?
Paul Stanley: Ken Sharpe put the book together. He’s a long time fan. We’ve known him since he was literally about 8 years old. He’s an avid fan of the band and an avid fan of rock n’ roll. He’s been conducting and compiling interviews over the years and it seemed a natural thing for us to do at this point. We’ve always told the story from our point of view but it’s really interesting to hear what managers, promoters, roadies, all kinds of people who were there recall because quite honestly there’s things in the book that I don’t remember. I don’t know that they’re true but if they make me look good then they’re true (laughter).
VH1: What was it about those years that you wanted to focus on that you felt was special and was an untold side of the Kiss story?
Gene Simmons: When you’re at the front of a train all you’re seeing is what’s coming at you. We have a very unique advantage because we get that adrenaline rush but you don’t get a chance to figure out what it all means. What the side scenery is like. Do I have my mother’s hips? You know, all that stuff which everyone else in the train gets and then the very last person sees it all go by. So they’re all different perspectives of an interesting, astonishing train ride that we’ve had which is now approaching 40 years and boy, do we look good (laughter).
VH1: When you see live footage of Kiss from the years covered in the book you’re killing it and you clearly have that hunger to succeed. What do you miss the most about those early days?
Paul Stanley: Nothing, honestly. It’s great to look back, when I see early footage (of Kiss), I couldn’t be more proud of it. We were totally committed to what we were doing. We believed in it against all odds. People said it would never work. We were four guys and we were a nation. Nothing was going to get in our way and when you watch early footage it’s absolutely undeniable the band was going to succeed in spite of what everybody said about it. Most of the people who were the naysayers feared what we were doing. Rock n’ roll in its purest form is always feared. Whether it was Elvis Presley, The Beatles or The Stones. You’re doing something right when people say “This is crap,” or “It has no redeeming value.” It’s rock n’ roll. And we were the essence of that and delivered the goods. We were the guys in the audience who went up on stage and said “Let us show you how it’s supposed to be done.”
VH1: I was watching an old interview with you from your first time playing England and the interviewer asks what you care more about, the music or the spectacle and Gene you say “The audience.”
Gene Simmons: Well, sure. If you ever lose sight of the fact that your bosses are standing on their seats then you become delusional and think it’s all about you. At the end of the day we just work here and it’s our job like court jesters to make the kings all around us proud. We need to earn the crown that’s being bestowed upon us by those who have the power because, let’s call it for what it is, if our bosses, our fans don’t like what we’re doing or any band, that’s why the word “Next” is in the dictionary. So we’ve been around 40 years and proud by the way to have given a chance to lots of new bands on their first tour – AC/DC, Rush, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue – you name a big band, we gave them their first start because we’re also fans but at the end of the day, we can’t crown anybody, we all bow to everybody’s bosses, the fans.
VH1: It’s funny you mention that because I think helping younger bands such as Rush, who you took on tour, and Van Halen, whose demos you (Gene) produced, are one of the many things you don’t get credit for. What are other things you think people got wrong about Kiss in the press?
Paul Stanley: I don’t think that the press matters. The press never made a band. If you look at most critics’ Top 10 lists, it’s usually a contest of who knows the most obscure artists. In terms of the people that matter to us, we have no problem. Those people think the songwriting is great, think the shows are amazing and come see us time and time again. How can you listen to somebody who gets free tickets? If they’re not paying for tickets how good is their opinion of anything? The beauty of being a critic is you don’t need a diploma, you don’t need to go to school for it, you just one day say “Hey, I’m either a comedian or I’m a critic.” And if somebody listens to you, you become a critic. Whether they get us or don’t get us, the people who matter, get us. It’s 40 years and untold millions, 90 million, 100 million, you pick your number, who’s counting at that point?
Gene Simmons: I’m going to quote you the critics. Rolling Stone reviews Led Zeppelin, and this is a quote, “the Limp Blimp.” This is from a guy that never got laid in school, clearly has too many pimples on his face to count and continues to live in his mother’s basement. Sour human beings who’ve accomplished nothing and have been nobody and their only chance to be anybody is to just whack it. If you’ve got a point to say, show me what you’ve got. Otherwise, shut the f**k up.
Paul Stanley: Clearly, look, critics aren’t in their teens, and whether or not they continue to live at home, the fact remains these are bitter people. They pontificate and have made no real contribution to music or to the field. They’re not journalists. They’re clowns. They’re entertainers only they take themselves seriously. I don’t.
VH1: The book covers your early days in New York City. Another thing I think is important that people tend to overlook is that Kiss is a quintessential New York band. Could Kiss have happened in any other city?
Paul Stanley: No. We were clearly a product of New York and the streets. We came up during a time where British music was looked upon as the music of the gods. There was a glitter scene in New York. A lot of bands who really were better looking and better dressed than they were at playing music were our contemporaries at the time. I don’t think we ever wanted to be a New York band. We wanted to be a world band. Perhaps that’s why we became a bit disassociated with New York because we’re bigger than New York. We are of the world.
Gene Simmons: It is interesting to note that while Detroit and Liverpool and London and lots of cities have given the world bands that have played stadiums and arenas around the world, other than Kiss, New York has never given the world a stadium sized rock band. Not one. There’s Kiss and there’s nobody else. You can talk about Ramones and everybody else; you’re talking about club bands. So if New York is such a great rock town, it was on a certain level, but to get to the top you’ve got to appeal to the world.
VH1: You also had a work ethic that many of those other bands didn’t have. Your closest contemporaries were The New York Dolls but they didn’t tour like you did. How many months straight were you on tour in those first three years?
Paul Stanley: It was one long tour. We would see a day or two off on a calendar but for the most part we were always gone. We would sometimes be doing two shows in a night because a show would sell out so quickly. You know, the bands you spoke of from New York City, most of those bands were more concerned with hanging out than actually rehearsing. That’ll get you so far. At the end of the day you’re going to have to play a song and do it well. For a lot of those bands the music became the soundtrack for their fashion show. They looked great. There’s no arguing. When Gene and I saw The Dolls you just looked at them and said “These guys kill us at looking androgynous.” We looked like football players. We went “We can’t beat The Dolls at being The Dolls but we sure as hell play better than them. Now let’s find out who we are.” And that was really the start of us finding the Kiss look.
Gene Simmons: It’s worth going back for a second because I remember it like it was yesterday. We went to the Diplomat Hotel. We wanted to check out The Dolls because they were a few months ahead of us. We looked at each other going “Wow, they look great.” As soon as they started playing we put our fingers in our ears and went to each other “We’ll kill them. We’ll s**t on their pretty clothes.” Critics always loved the band and we loved their style but I don’t know anybody that does Dolls songs.
VH1: There’s a new documentary in the works. Will that again be about the early days?
Paul Stanley: Hopefully it will be the definitive documentary about the band. Others have done great pieces like The Clash documentary. Alan Parker, who’s doing ours, did that. We’ve amassed an incredible amount of footage. A lot of it, nobody’s seen yet. There are things in there that will be a real surprise and a real joy for all of us to see. What we’re really trying to do is really the definitive Kiss documentary. Not selling Kiss. Not an advertisement which is what a lot of times things come off as but really something that will tell the tale.
VH1: You also have a new AFL football team, the L.A. Kiss.
Gene Simmons: We have four partners; we have Brett Bouchy, who has been in the Arena Football League for awhile, (famed music manager) Doc McGhee and Paul and myself. Those are the only partners in it. Instead of being passive celebrity guys who lend their name, we’re actively involved. Paul worked with designers on the team outfits. We’re doing the media and we’re involved right at the ground level talking with the corporate guys and making sure it’s legitimate. We’re involved from beginning to end. We don’t intend on being these celebrity guys that lend their names and then go back to Beverly Hills. It’s real football. To our season ticket holders to show you how grateful we are we’re going to give you a special free Kiss concert. All the bells and whistles. We have more firepower than most Third World countries and we’ll bring the full thing as a thank you.
Paul Stanley: AFL sometimes gets maligned as being second rate football. The fact is that all the players are of the first order, the top 1% of football. The rules are different but every seat at the game is a great seat. When you go to an NFL game you may have to mortgage your house to get tickets at this point. We have tickets that are $99 for a season plus other tickets. These are great, great athletes. We’re putting together a team that’s really is based on quality from the coach up. AFL is faceless in the sense that you really don’t know the players. That’s going to change. We will become the model for what every AFL team is going to want to be. We’re bringing football back. Anaheim is the second largest media market in California and Los Angeles is dying for a team and we’re bringing it.
VH1: What would a world without Kiss be like?
Gene Simmons: We can be self-serving and say “Boring,” but it’s pretty accurate (laughter). Somebody made an assessment that without Kiss wrestling would just be wrestling, McCartney would sing the great Beatles songs, Garth Brooks would sing the great country songs, political parties would talk the way the usually do, but they wouldn’t have fireworks and bombast. Where did they get all that stuff? Air Supply?
Paul Stanley: I think we serve a great service in that we have been the wake up call to Kiss fans and rock fans of what can be done. What is possible. A lot of fans I think were taking less than they deserved. A lot of bands were giving less than they should. We were a wake up call to America and the world of what you should expect from a band. If we weren’t here? It would be more boring. Life would continue. Somebody at some point would come along and be Kiss but we’re it, and we’re the real deal.
That's about to change, according to Paul Stanley.
"We're known for being bombastic and bringing a lot of artillery and firepower," Stanley says. "Now let's see if we can bring that to a football game. And we will."
The name Paul Stanley not ringing a bell? How about Gene Simmons?
How about Starchild and The Demon?
Stanley is Starchild and Simmons The Demon in the iconic rock group KISS -- known for their costumes and showmanship -- and they are among the co-owners of the new Arena Football League team that will start play in Los Angeles in 2014.
The name of the team?
"Well, let's see, we have built a brand that for 40 years has been synonymous with spectacle," Stanley says. "What shall we call ourselves, the L.A. Hamburgers?"
No, they will be known as the L.A. KISS, and it's a team that will be, according to Stanley and Simmons, fan-friendly, pocketbook-friendly and always entertaining.
"Write this down," says Simmons, speaking at a small news conference Tuesday afternoon at the hip restaurant/nightclub House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. "You can see the whole season of the KISS for 99 bucks."
Stanley and Simmons, along with fellow co-owners Doc McGhee and Brett Bouchy, have hired a veteran Arena Football League player and coach, Bob McMillen, to be in charge of winning games, and they will trust him on football matters.
"I stopped playing football," Stanley says, "when I got hit and flew through the air and landed on my stomach. That's when I picked up a guitar."
The KISS guys were approached about doing a concert to promote the Arena league about eight months ago. One thing led to another, and pretty soon they were talking about owning a new team in Los Angeles.
Now the bandmates known for fire breathing, smoking guitars and various other pyrotechnics, will try to bring that same energy to the KISS games that will be played in the Honda Center in Anaheim.
"We want to make it an event," Stanley says. "During halftime and other breaks, you're owed more than a guy dressed up like a hamster running around the field. We're going to make sure there's entertainment that keeps you dazzled. This is about football, but why not embellish it?"
And why not in L.A., where both NFL teams -- the Rams and Raiders -- left almost 20 years ago?
"This is good for Los Angeles," Simmons says. "Los Angeles needs football. We're here to give Los Angeles the kind of football it's never had. You want football, L.A.? You got it."
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FOX411: Ace Frehley and Peter Criss both have memoirs out that paint pretty harsh portraits of both of you. Was that upsetting?
Simmons: Ace took me to lunch before his book came out and he read me a chapter about how he almost drowned in a pool and I saved him by diving in and pulling him out. He asked if it was accurate. I said, '95 percent of it was accurate, except it wasn't you; it was Peter Criss who was drowning. You've been a f**king drug addict all of your life. Both Peter and Ace were at one point pure, innocent, believed all for one, one for all, and then they succumbed to the clichés of rock. So neither Ace nor Peter were fully conscious when any of those things happened. It's up to you if you want to believe them. We wish them the best, but those books, to my estimation, they're closer to fiction.
Stanley: The fact remains from what I've seen of those books, they clearly still see themselves as victims, and when you can't take responsibility for your situation, you blame others. The proof is what they have done outside of the band and it amounts to a big zero. I would say nothing if they had not said something first. I certainly wish them well and you can't help but believe that they're incredibly envious of the success we've had without them, which was part of the problem in the first place. If somebody thinks they're irreplaceable they're either completely deluded, stupid, or intoxicated. In their case they abused their position in the band under the assumption that they were then only people who could do what they do, and here we are 40 years later playing arenas and venturing into areas most other bands would find impossible, like having an AFL football team, the first new football team in L.A. in decades, LAKISS, which will play in Anaheim.
FOX411: It's kind of amazing that both of you never got caught up in drugs or drinking.
Stanley: I've never had any aversion to a good bottle of wine, but certainly moderation and common sense tells you what to stay away from. If somebody said to me, 'Hey, here's something that will make you impotent, lose your teeth and get hepatitis,' you'd have to be an idiot to say, 'Sign me up.' People who get involved in drugs have problems that are so deep seated that fame will not cure it. If anything, it will only take it to another level. It'll exacerbate everything that's bad.
Simmons: The real idea is, if you're serious about life and consider every 24 hours as if they're the only 24 hours of any day that you'll have, you'll get up and you'll work hard no matter how much money you have, you'll respect yourself, your other band mates and your fans. If you're remiss in doing any of that stuff, you get to get exactly what you want out of life. You get to sleep in the bed you make, there's just no other way to think about that.
FOX411: You're doing great now, but the band lost money for quite a while.
Stanley: It goes back to victories are not necessarily won by individuals. It's a team, or an army. In this case KISS Army started early, people believing in us perhaps as much as we did, who were willing to make any sacrifice to keep the band going. We had a manager that was willing to put a quarter of a million dollars on a credit card to keep the band going, and he didn't have a quarter of a million dollars to pay it off. It all goes back to the idea of surrounding yourself with people who believe like you do.
FOX411: You guys had a lot of groupies.
Stanley: It was exhilarating. It certainly took some getting used to, but I'm a quick study. To go from being an unpopular, chubby little kid who was chasing girls and couldn't seem to catch them, to being chased after and making sure I ran slow enough that I did get caught, it was 180 degree turn. It was being given the keys to the candy store.
Simmons: Let's just say that the male of the species should feel blessed if the female of the species allows him to come near enough to her. Just one would be heaven, everything else is cream.
FOX411: Can we say you've had a whole lot of cream?
Simmons: Yes ma'am.
FOX411: Is there any licensing idea you've said no to?
Simmons: Long ago we decided not to listen to people who weren't qualified to make any rules. The people who write for a living aren't even journalists, they still live in their mother's basement, their faces are still pockmarked and girls still won't pay them attention. We decided to make our own rules. One of them was, we're going to have a great time and be spectacular and do all kinds of things that have no precedent. Toys and games, we love them! From our perspective, it's a KISS world, you're just living in it.
Stanley: In terms of merchandise you can't force anyone to buy something. All we've done is given the fans what they want. The only thing we can take credit for is acute hearing. We also don't put out anything we have moral issues with. We've had opportunities to be sponsored by cigarette companies and have always turned that down no matter how much money was involved. shrink, doing the good work, in Atlanta.
The third guy was Stan Eisen. He grew up to be Paul Stanley, Starchild, Global Icon.
All three of us still play guitar.
While Murray and I were tight, very much a bro, oddly, it was Stan who I stayed in touch with after graduation. He left the year before me. I'm 374 days younger.
One day, Stan called to tell me he'd just legally changed his name to Paul and it would mean a lot to him if I started calling him by that name.
I said, "Sure, Stan."
"Ummm, well, you just called me Stan, Binky."
"Oh, wow, sorry, PAUL."
For the record, my headline is pure nonsense. I met Gene a year after graduation.
A few years later, July 13, 1973, Paul, Gene, and I were sharing the stage at the now-gone Hotel Diplomat on West 43rd St, just off Times Square. I was the lead guitarist of The Planets. We opened for KISS that night.
Paul and I have never really lost touch. Watching a goofy pal go from struggling guitar dope to Rock Royalty has been a trip, I can assure you.
Which is where I'm gonna segue into a review of the latest, and possibly tastiest, of all the various KISS 'n' tell books out there on the decades-thriving spectacle that is KISS, Nothin' To Lose - The Making of KISS - 1972 - 1975 by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, out now on !T Books.
Comprised of over three years' worth of interviews with well over 200 individuals who, in one way or another, interacted with KISS as a band or as individuals. Managers, knucklehead band guys from New York City, famous rock stars, record label peeps, roadies, promoters, writers, studio rats, anyone who had anything of worth to contribute, Detective Ken Sharp tracked down, and grilled. Yes, I'm one of them.
Ooops, yes... Sorry. FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm all over this freakin' outstanding book.
Way back when, Paul and Gene had (to my surprise and gratification) a great deal of respect for my opinion. That's why they invited me down to just their third rehearsal with Ace... to see what I thought of the 'new' guy's playing. It kinda felt like he was still on 'probation,' frankly.
So... Yes, I saw them perform "Strutter," "Deuce" and "Firehouse" in their dingy hole of a room on the 4th floor of a truly decrepit building... 10 East 23rd Street... soon torn down, actually.
First, they did the three songs as a trio... ummmmmm, new boy, Ace, was late! Nice. Then, when he finally showed up, acting surly as if everyone else was early (WTF?), I heard them do those same three tunes as The Quartet. Man, they sounded so much better with Ace. Yes, this story, in great detail, and dozens and dozens of others, like my visit to Electric Ladyland when they were recording the "Dressed To Kill" album, are in this fine, fine oral history of those exciting and risk-filled early days of a band that was destined to become, quite literally, the biggest band in the world.
Ken Sharp has a gift, it would seem. I know firsthand how skillful and relentless he is in wringing out as many details from you as he can... but, here, much, much more importantly than minutia/trivia, Ken has gotten four guys, drenched in decades' worth of animosity and ill will, to go back and relive... The Hungry All For One, One For All days.
In almost every quote from Paul, Gene, Ace, Peter, the air of wistful and still-dazzled-by-it-all reminiscence is palpable.
That almost pathological confidence of Gene's is almost nowhere to be found. Mr. Simmons, throughout, lets some light shine on the real him. In fact, it seems like in the earliest days, it was Paul who was the rally-er, the faithful one. And I do vividly recall feeling just a wee bit baffled by Paul's slightly 'strutty' attitude back in high school. It wasn't arrogance, just his general comportment had a very strong sense-of-self... maybe a little cocky, not off-putting, but, honestly, at the time, it seemed a little misplaced.
"Nothin' To Lose" offers a richly detailed day-to-day accounting of all the myths in their legend, and the mundanity of a band's early life, as they really happened...
You are in the room, the afternoon Paul and Gene meet for the first time, with Paul wondering, "Who the fuck does THIS guy think he is!?" HA! Guess we all found out, huh, Paulie! Although, truth be told, Gene has always treated me like an equal... an equal he's kinda disappointed in. I don't blame him.
You are in Electric Ladyland as Paul and Gene try to go from being coffee-getters to recording artists... hint: they stay coffeemakers for quite a while.
You are in the cab that Paul's driving all day before he practices all night.
You are in Bill Aucoin's office when he promises them a record deal in 60 days or they can walk away.
You are in the studio as they cut their first album, having no clue real clue, one that now sounds barely passable as a demo.
You are in the station wagon with Peter, Paul, Ace, and Gene, as a roadie drives them over 600 miles from Lansing, Michigan to Macon, Georgia, for a show the next day. And then you are back in that station wagon as they drive back up north to Fort Wayne, Indiana, 500 miles, the next day.
You are there, when for the first and maybe only time in his life, Paul Stanley gets roaringly blazingly drunk at the photo session for the cover of the "Hotter Than Hell" album [I remember him telling me that when he was looking at contact sheets of the shoot, there were hours he just simply could not remember].
You are in the motel when KISS and Rush, both struggling opening acts being thrown off bills by headliners, are being very naughty Keith Moon wannabes,
You are backstage when Paul peeks through the curtain at the sold out Cobo Hall show and realizes, "Holy fuck! This is really happening!"
You are right there, center section, front row through every twist and turn, every victory and all the myriad setbacks and (temporary) defeats.
You come to realize that while KISS got signed to a major label very, very quickly in their career, they did NOT escape Paying Their Dues. Not by a long shot.
KISS was an enterprise teetering on the brink of doom for more than two straight years. The desperation at certain points comes off these pages like an odor!
Yet, for the most part, you get all that sorta 'bad vibe' reality stuff from all the other professionals featured in the book. The four KISS-ers were all so 'pinch me' excited about having gotten 'this far' that they never realized, for just one instance, that being asked to cut another album less than four months after they'd done their 2nd was an act of frantic panic on Casablanca's part. Paul and Gene just sat down and started writing more songs.
Folks, listen to me carefully...
IF PAUL AND GENE WERE NOT WORLD-CLASS SONGWRITERS... their visual gimmickry would've given them an 18 month run... at best. KISS is perhaps the most glaring proof that beyond anything else, songwriting is the heart, the soul, the lungs, of a band's success.
KISS-haters, legion though they be, are missing some of the most fun, most well thought out, rock music ever recorded. KISS's template was a combination of Humble Pie - Live at the Fillmore East and the hits of Slade, a huge band in the UK and Europe at the time. If you love guitar rock, why would you not want to hear that blend?!
Wanna finally investigate that which you loath only general principle? Here's what I consider KISS's Top 20... in rough chronological order...
"Come On And Love Me"
"Love Her All I Can"
"Detroit Rock City"
"Do You Love Me"
"King Of The Nighttime World"
"Shout It Out Loud"
"I Want You"
"Calling Dr. Love"
"I Stole Your Love"
"I Love It Loud"
"Tears Are Falling"
A bonus: Three quick stories that are not in the book... only because I somehow forgot them when Ken was giving me the 3rd degree...
Sorry, Ken... Sorry, !T Books...
All three are my personal favorite little moments in my long friendship with Starchild and Monster...
My Gene story...
Gene was in town [they really were on the road forever]. He knew I'd finished my demo for Warner Bros. Records at the Record Plant, because my band, The Planets, had used KISS's main engineer, Corky Stasiak, a great, great man.
My phone rang...
"Hey, Binky, it's Gene. I'm back in New York for a few days. I really want to hear your Warner Bros demo. When can we get together?"
I made it over to his place later that day. It was an apartment in Manhattan in the West 70s. He was renting the spare bedroom from a woman I did not meet. He was on the road so much, it was all he needed.
Gene peppered me with technical and aesthetic questions throughout our listening to the demo tape. While he was listening to a track called "Lexington Avenue", basically an exercise in writing with diminished chords, he looked at me with astonishment, "You wrote this?!" Yep. 30 seconds later, "YOU WROTE THIS?!?" I took the compliment.
Then, after gracious praise for the whole five song tape, Gene asked, "Wanna hear my favorite song of all time?" Sure.
He got out Mountain's album, "Climbing" and put on "Never In My Life", a fantastic piece of riff-ery. Within 60 seconds, I was no longer there, the world was no longer there. Gene was air-drumming along with Corky Laing, back in his childhood bedroom, just flat out grooving, as blissfully lost as a teenager. A moment, a peek, I treasure.
My Paul story...
Late one night, well after midnight, my phone rang. I was channel-surfing...
"Hey, Binky, it's Paul. You up?"
"Yes, and I just smoked some reefer, too."
"Ha! Good! I wanna play something for you. I just came up with this riff. I want you to hear this."
"Oh, fuck, yeah. Hey, where are you calling from?"
"I don't know. What day is it?"
"Thursday. Jeeez, Paul!"
"I think that means I'm in Oklahoma City.",P>"You really don't know where you are! That's fabulous."
"Okay, let me turn on my Pignose [a tiny guitar amp very popular at the end of the 1970s]..."
And then, Paul played me the central riff for "I Want You", the opener on one of the best KISS albums, "Rock 'N' Roll Over".
I was the first person to ever hear that riff other than its creator...
"Paul, I think that might be the coolest riff you've ever written, man."
"You know, I think you're right. I knew you'd dig it. But, I have no idea what to do with it."
"Oh, you'll figure it out... Play it again, man!"
My ego-trip story...
One morning, my phone rang... It was engineer, Corky. I'd seen him a few nights before when Paul and I briefly stopped by a Gene-vocals session at the Record Plant for the album that would become "Rock 'n' Roll Over"...
"Binky, I had to call you. You are gonna love this. Last night, Ace was cutting solos on two of Gene's songs. He's got one called "Calling Dr. Love". It's one of the best on the album, I think. Just before we had Ace try the solo on that song, Gene gave him this one instruction... 'Give me a Binky solo.' Ace immediately understood and put down a totally wild solo... emulating you, man. It's the keeper! Ya gotta love it, Bink."
And I did and do.
Coda: I went to a book signing for "Nothin' To Lose" out at the Barnes & Noble on Staten Island this week. Paul and I had reconnected about 18 months ago. But, I hadn't seen him or Gene in the flesh in, well, decades. I want to thank both Paul and Gene for making a genuine fuss over my showing up. "Holy Crap! Binky!" And no, of course, I didn't get my copy of the book signed or have a picture taken with my two old guitar bozo pals. Why would I do that?!
Anyway, it warmed the heart of this old still-guitar-obsessed fanboy. Ya done good.
“They had made them for Great Danes to wear,” says Stanley, on the phone from a Staten Island bookstore, where he’s preparing to sign copies of Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS.
Stanley says he wanted the band to be “intensely performance-oriented, without turning it into musical theatre. So we needed a flamboyant visual look, but what?
“We were too big to do the androgynous thing. It’s one thing when you have a guy who’s as skinny as my wrist wearing his sister’s clothes. It’s something else when you’re a linebacker trying to squeeze into it.”
The book, newly published by HarperCollins, is by Stanley and Simmons with music historian Ken Sharp.
It’s made up of first-person remembrances of the band, both from its creators and the people on the other side of the footlights.
“History is always interesting if you view it from a bunch of perspectives,” says Stanley. “You get lots of varied views from people watching the same car accident from different corners.
“I’m happy that the book doesn’t just have our memories, but those of the people who were looking at us from the outside. You remember what they always say about the forest and the trees.”
Stanley and Simmons were kicking around in 1971 as a not-quite-making-it group called Wicked Lester when Stanley decided it was time to define what he wanted out of his career.
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household with all kinds of music, classical as well as rock, which helped me appreciate all kinds of performance,” says the New York-born Stanley.
“I also was able to go the Fillmore East in those days when $3 got you a ticket to see Led Zeppelin, Woody Herman and Blue Cheer all on the same night. (Promoter) Bill Graham believed in eclectic programming and so do I."
KISS was struggling to define itself in the early years.
“I believe people come to hear the music, but they come back if the whole experience knocked them out,” Stanley says.
“I wanted to be in the band I never saw. I was an evangelical rock performer, like Steve Marriott or Humble Pie. You went onto the stage to testify and you wanted to bring back believers.”
Part of that was the band’s look.
“What did we want? Black leather and studs. Where did you find those things? Well, there was a gay S&M clothing store called The Eagle’s Nest and they made a lot for us,” Stanley says.
And then there was the face-painting. “We liked the concept of being able to immerse yourself into your own fantasies and come out a completely different person. Makeup helped us do that.”
(Another time Stanley performed in makeup was in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera during the final months of its Toronto run in 1999. “I always wanted to do that show. I love the dichotomy of playing someone who’s a murderer and an artist, someone who yearns for acceptance but can’t believe it when it happens. An emotionally crippled person. I enjoyed playing that,” he says.)
After spreading their wings at a tawdry club in Queens called Coventry, KISS went on the road. First stop, the Northern Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton.
“They needed a last minute replacement for Mike Quatro, Suzi Quatro’s brother. Three shows, three cities. The first night in Edmonton was OK, but then we were booked into high school cafeterias. Our road crew took the lunchroom tables and gaffer-taped them together. That was our stage.”
The KISS phenomenon spread rapidly and is still going strong after more than 40 years. Stanley attributes part of the band’s longevity to what the music was about.
“People said we were shallow, but we were singing about self-empowerment, singing about celebrating life, singing about going against the status quo and reaching for what you believe.
“Man, that’s got a lot longer legs on it than ‘Save the Whales.’ ”
The game is part of the NFL International Series and will be played at London's Wembley Stadium.
This will be the seventh NFL regular-season game to be played in the United Kingdom.
Simmons also performed at the Oakland Raiders' home game against the San Diego Chargers in 2012.
According to NFL UK, Simmons said he is looking forward to singing the anthem at the London game.
"I always love playing a role in these types of high-action, fast-paced games, not to mention returning to the UK and performing in front of some the best fans in the world!''
Simmons was also recently announced as the co-owner of the Los Angeles Kiss, a football team scheduled to begin playing in the Arena Football League in 2014.
The Steelers-Vikings game will kick off at 12 p.m. CST (6 p.m. London time).
It's been a busy few years for the KISS franchise. But then again, it's always a busy year for the KISS franchise. Simmons and his KISS bandmates still churn out original music, like last year's Monster, and go on pyrotechnic-heavy tours - they have five upcoming live shows planned in Japan. But Simmons is most newsworthy these days for his increasingly weird side projects. Like recording a song with Engelbert Humperdinck for the crooner's upcoming Duets album. Or executive-producing an animated TV show about Hello Kitty characters based on KISS. Or that Arena Football League team he co-owns, the Los Angeles KISS, which offered quarterback Tim Tebow a three-year contract which nobody, even Simmons, seemed to take seriously. "It doesn't matter," he said about the Tebow offer. "As long as the media takes notice."
Rolling Stone spoke with Simmons earlier this week about his new book, Miley Cyrus' tongue, working with Lou Reed, and more.
Why write another book? Are there any KISS stories we haven't heard yet?
Imagine yourself on a boat and we're always on top. We're on stage, so we can see it all. I can see the iceberg miles away. But I only see 10% of it, cause I can only see the top. Everyone else sees 90% of it because they're on the bottom. You really don't want to just talk about 10% of the iceberg. You want to see how big it actually is.
This metaphor is getting a little confusing.
This book doesn't just have our stories. There are stories and anecdotes from other rock stars and journalists, talking about their experiences with KISS. They write about what they saw, what they heard, and what it was like.
Ace Frehley and Peter Criss recently published memoirs, and they both made you out to be the bad guy. Do you feel like the bad guy?
I am the bad guy. I won't stand for drunks and alcoholics, who get up on stage and consider it their birthright. I consider it a privilege to get up there and arrive on time and be sober, and I'll be an asshole to anybody who thinks otherwise. You know who else is an asshole? Your teacher was an asshole. Your parents are assholes. Your drill sergeant was an asshole. Because they wouldn't let you get away with shit. Ace and Peter have had a lifetime of being losers. And not just with drugs and alcohol. They're losers because of wrong decisions. You sleep in the bed you make. How many chances in life do you get? They were in and out of the band three different times. Why should they get another chance?
They also both claimed in their books that you never shower.
Okay, so what? What's your point?
Were they telling the truth?
What does showering have to do with being a responsible human being? What else? That's what makes you an asshole, because you don't shower? Okay. You win. You win.
Did you see Miley Cyrus perform at the VMAs?
Oh sure, of course.
She got widely criticized for sticking out her tongue, among other things. Are you surprised by the backlash?
I don't understand why people got so upset. Whether you stick out your tongue or shake your tushy, all the other girls are doing the same thing. Any girl whose name ends with an A—Madonna, Shakira, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, all these girls who sing pop songs through backing tracks like it's karaoke and gyrate all over the stage—if they can do it, why can't Miley? Either condemn the whole lot of them or leave her alone.
As somebody who built a career around sticking out his tongue, how would you rate her tongue-wagging performance?
It was okay. But that's a girl's version. It's like girls basketball. It's as good as girls can get at basketball. But you can't play with the guys.
You've collaborated with Lou Reed, right? On the Music from "The Elder" album?
That's right. He helped out on "World Without Heroes" and "Mr. Blackwell."
You're both artists with a reputation for strong egos, and you've both been accused of being pricks.
When two famous pricks are in the same recording studio, trying to collaborate, does it cancel out their individual prickishness?
When you have a shared passion about something, and it's something you both care about deeply, egos don't get in the way. It's sort of a meeting of the minds.
You really don't care if people think you're a prick?
It's like screaming up at Godzilla who's 50 stories tall. I don't think it will care. "What's that you say? You think I'm arrogant? Sorry, don't have time to discuss it, I'm busy destroying Tokyo. See ya!"
Does any criticism bother you?
Anybody who's got something to say to you, the response shouldn't be "I agree, I disagree." It should be "And what have you done with your life?" Everybody's got an opinion, but there's such a thing as qualified opinion. If Richard Branson's got something to say to me, I'm going to listen. He's accomplished something. If somebody farts through their mouth, you have to consider the source.
When you were coming up with your Demon character, did you have a plan B? Was there a second choice?
I reject the word "character," because that implies acting. There's a Jekyll and Hyde personality switch that happens. I wear more makeup and high heels than your mommy, but she's in control of who she is. When I get up on stage, it's a different headspace.
Are there ever moments when you're not in the mood? When you're a sad Demon, or an introspective Demon, or a middle-aged Demon who just wants to stay in his boxers all day?
Sure. Before a show, you might have aches or pains, or it's a bad rainy day, or it's too humid. We all complain about stuff. But ... how do I put this poetically? Once it's the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint, forget it. Once the adrenaline kicks in and your chest expands, you forget about all that. You just go onstage and kick some royal ass. That's our job description
How much longer can you keep doing this?
As long as it takes. I have miles to go before we sleep. We're approaching our 40th year. We've completely ignored the critics, and in fact we've buried them in our back yard. We are the kings of the nighttime world. We outsell the Beatles and Elvis. We have literally 5000 licensed and merchandized products. We have a co-brand with Hello Kitty, which has resulted in 1500 new licenses. I don't care that some of my favorite bands, U2 or Radiohead or whatever, wouldn't do that. The truth is, they couldn't do that. We will do anything we damn well please, whether it makes sense to somebody or not. In essence, that's the real rock n' roll spirit.
Doesn't it get exhausting to always be selling some new product with your face on it?
Never. We want to be our own culture. KISS Kulture, spelled with a K. We're taking over football next. Go to lakissfootball.com and learn about the only football team in Los Angeles of any kind. You can buy season tickets for $99, and you get a free KISS concert. What's wrong with that? Your choices are mortgaging your home to get a ticket for the NFL, or you can come to our air-conditioned arena facilities and you'll have the time of your life.
You're like one of those salesman from Glengarry Glen Ross. You always have to be closing.
Well, I think Shakespeare said it first, and then I guess Alec Baldwin. "The world's a stage. Either close or go home." Anybody who gets angry at us are just small people with small dreams who never achieved anything and will always be angry. But they're mostly angry with themselves for being losers.
Have you ever turned down a merchandizing idea?
Not all ideas work. KISS crack is probably not a good idea. But we'll try anything else.
How much KISS merchandize do you personally own? Is there a KISS condom in your wallet right now?
No, no, no. I don't have any of it. What chef eats everything that's on his menu?
Will you be buried in a KISS Kaskat?
I might. But I would rather do it KISS style and go up in a pyre.
Buy your copy on Nothin' To Lose here: Hardcover, Kindle.
Pressed at the prestigious Gotta Groove Records, "Anomaly" in opaque blue or green/black swirl is available now for pre-order: $27.99 each or $50.00 for both colors.
Last year, Brookvale's limited-edition "Anomaly" 2-LP in silver marble sold out very quickly, and the label expects these new colors to do the same.
Frehley told Billboard.com in a 2009 interview that he intended "Anomaly" to "kind of pick up where I left off with my first solo album" — 1978's "Ace Frehley".
"Prior to going into the studio, I listened to that first album, which everybody cites as their favorite Ace record," Frehley said. "I dissected it and tried to get into the same mind set this time around. I think I recaptured some of the musical textures and attitude and vibe that I had on that first record."
"Anomaly" was recorded at Schoolhouse Studios in New York and at Ace's home studio in Westchester, New York.
Pacific University Legends, hosted by Beaverton native Tommy Thayer — guitarist for the legendary rock band KISS — was an evening of fabulous food, rollicking fun and a rocking concert.
The light drizzle that started the day came to a stop in plenty of time for guests to enjoy the elegance of Waverley Country Club, on the banks of the Willamette River, where they enjoyed a gourmet meal, sponsored by Pac/West.
Guests enthusiastically raised their paddles throughout the evening’s auction, making it the most successful Legends auctions ever. Bidders took home everything from a unique guitar signed by the members of KISS to vacation packages for Bali, Costa Rica and South Africa.
Proceeds of the auction and matching gift will help build a roof over the seating area in Lincoln Park Stadium, where the Pacific University Boxers compete in football, soccer, lacrosse, and track and field.
At the end of the night, Thayer took to the stage, in a concert sponsored by Lease Crutcher Lewis. He was joined by such musical greats as Bill Champlin, former singer and keyboardist for Chicago; Danny Seraphine, original drummer of Chicago; Bobby Kimball, former lead singer of Toto; and Patrick Lamb, Oregon’s own jazz phenom.(Video)
BOOKENDS (Ridgewood, NJ) - 9/10/13 @ 1pm
BARNES & NOBLE (Staten Island, NY) - 9/10/13 @ 7pm
BARNES & NOBLE The Grove (Los Angeles, CA) - 9/12/13 @ 7pm
Order your copy here: Harcover, Kindle.
Engelbert is nearing completion of the album which features songs with Willie Nelson, Elton John and Smokey Robinson and now Simmons.
Engelbert exclusively announced the Simmons duet in his interview with Noise11. “There’s Elton, there’s Smokey Robinson, there’s Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Neil Sedaka and it goes on and on and on. It is very exciting names on this particular album. I’m so thrilled that everyone has responded and wanted to work on the album with me and I think it has been a very exciting project,” he said.
Today Engelbert told fans via Facebook, “What an absolute pleasure to meet and record with this giant of a Rock God! A fantastic day with Gene Simmons and his gorgeous wife Shannon.”
Complete with his favorite playlists, band discographies, trivia, never-before-seen photographs as well as candid's and ephemera from Eddie's personal collection, this new book combines brief band histories with Trunk's unique personal experiences and anecdotes in a must-read for all fans of rock and roll. Featuring a diverse lineup, from Marilyn Manson and Ace Frehley to Lita Ford and WHITESNAKE, "Volume II" salutes all those who are ready to rock!
"Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Volume II" will be made available on September 24 via Abrams Image, a division of Abrams.
In a recent interview with Pop Break, Trunk stated about "Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Volume II": "It is an exact sequel of the first book. It’s the same publisher. It's the same format, same exact layout, the discography, the 'Did You Know' stuff, and, of course, the exclusive live photography.
"So many people enjoyed the layout of the first book, how easy it was to read. So we didn't mess with the formula that people really liked. The only difference is the bands are completely different. The bands are a little deeper, a little less mainstream. So it's an out-and-out sequel. It's going to make a great companion piece to the first."
Following the flood, Stampede Concerts Inc. worked hard with KISS to reschedule the show and ensure fans had an opportunity to enjoy the concert.
Tickets purchased for the original date Saturday, July 13 are valid for the November 8 show for the same seats indicated on the ticket. For ticket holders that cannot attend the November 8 date, refunds will only be available through Ticketmaster until Saturday, August 31.
At this time, approximately 2,800 tickets for the concert have been re-released and are on-sale via Ticketmaster starting at $60.00 (plus applicable fees and taxes.)
Stampede Concerts Inc. continues to work to reschedule the other concerts that were part of the Stampede Concert Series.
For more information visit calgarystampede.com.
The shop was the first and only licensed coffeehouse by the band, who backed the business owned by KISS fan Brian Galvin, through a brokered deal with the KISS exclusive merchandising company called Signatures Network, Inc. Today the coffeehouse website lists Johnny Rock as its owner.
Legendary KISS band members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons attended the opening seven years ago, and guitarist Ace Frehley came to Myrtle Beach for the one-year anniversary.
But in the end, there weren’t enough sales to keep it open.
“We just found out this week we’re closing,” general manager John Goldschmidt said today. “The sales just aren’t growing. It’s too seasonal, too small of a market.”
Joe Bennett of Madison, Ohio, has been a KISS fan since 1976. He was sorry to learn the coffeehouse is closing, but he took advantage of the going out of business half-price sale and spent more than $100 on magnets, T-shirts and more.
KISS Coffeehouse is at Celebrity Square at Broadway at the Beach, and the number is (843) 626-5477.
The flamboyant and (once) hard-partying band purchased the new Los Angeles-based football team, and have put their entire identity behind it: the LA KISS will even make use of the band’s logo.
There’s no word, however, if makeup will be part of the team’s uniform.
“As a fast-paced, high-action band this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us,” Simmons said in a statement. “Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action.”
The team will play next season in Anaheim’s Honda Center. Those willing to pony up for $99 season tickets—says KISS guitarist Stanley: “budget-friendly price gives a whole new meaning to bang for the buck”—will receive a ticket to attend a 2014 KISS concert in the venue. Jon Bon Jovi didn’t offer a deal like that when he was a part owner in the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul until 2010.
Those interested in a little KISS/AFL combination before next season can watch the band play the halftime show of the 2013 ArenaBowl championship this Saturday.
“This is a great business venture for KISS. It’s fantastic to have a team named after the band and it is a privilege to be able to support LA and bring the experience home,” says Don McGhee, KISS manager, who facilitated the new partnership.
- Free full-scale KISS concert for season seat holders in 2014 at Honda Center
- Guaranteed best pricing
- First right of refusal to your seat location to home playoff games
- Guaranteed same seat location for all LA KISS home games
- Invitation to exclusive Season Ticket Holder events
- “Never a Wasted Ticket” program
- Exclusive Season Ticket Member e-mails with special offers from the LA KISS, Honda Center and our Marketing Partners
The Raiders? Not quite.
It's KISS, the heavy metal band known for performing in black, white and silver that has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide during a 40-year career.
On Thursday, the Arena Football League announced it was awarding an expansion team to a group of individuals that includes KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The team, called the LA KISS, will begin playing in March at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
"As a fast-paced, high-action band, this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us," Simmons said in a statement. "Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action."
Season tickets, which went on sale Thursday starting at $99, will include a free KISS concert.
While the team will use the band's logo, it is not known whether the team's uniforms will be silver and black.
Next season will mark the 27th season for the Arena Football League, which begins its games in March and culminates with the ArenaBowl in August.
The league and the music world have joined forces before. The Philadelphia Soul, who will be playing in the championship game Saturday, were partly owned by Jon Bon Jovi until 2010.
Founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley hope to establish a similarly broad fanbase with their newest project, a partnership with the Arena Football League as owners of an Anaheim-based expansion team known as LA KISS.
“The whole idea of an alternative to what has perhaps become a corporate sport is very intriguing, and resonates with us,” Stanley told USA TODAY Sports by phone on Wednesday. “We’ve always tried to be a band that relates to everybody, and the AFL is built on that whole premise.”
Though the band’s logo will be incorporated into the team’s uniforms, and though Stanley and Simmons hope to bring their understanding of live performance to the team’s home games at the Honda Center, the pair emphasized that they aim to create a true football experience.
“There’s been a lot of attention to detail, to nuances, so that people don’t think this is a rock band in football helmets,” Simmons said. “This is real football, and this is good for the game.”
Added Stanley: “We wouldn’t put LA KISS on a football helmet if we didn’t believe we could kick it out of the park.”
Los Angeles has not seen professional football since two previous AFL franchises folded before the league canceled its 2009 season. Both Los Angeles-based NFL teams left the city after the 1994 season. KISS will run the team in conjunction with veteran AFL executive Brett Bouchy, who recently sold his interest in the Orlando Predators.
“We don’t want to wear too many hats,” Stanley said. “When it’s appropriate, we will defer to the people who have experience with this. We’re bringing something new to the party.”
“We’re not going to be passive players in this,” Simmons added. “We’re really going to be a part of this thing.”
KISS will perform the halftime show for the league’s championship game, ArenaBowl XXVI, in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday. And though its members did not commit to playing regularly at LA KISS games, Stanley said he planned to attend home games with his family “as a point of pride.”
Asked if the new AFL owners will endorse their team’s players wearing eye-black and face paint indoors, Stanley said, “We’ll leave that to the people who are better suited to make those decisions. But I personally think a little black under the eye looks very good.”
The team will sell season-ticket packages starting at $99, and Stanley and Simmons hope that with their expertise, the club’s games will emerge as a low-cost alternative to other live sporting events in the area.
“It’s exciting beyond anything that we’ve thought about before, to be given the privilege of really starting out bringing the amount of showmanship we brought to a rock band called KISS,” Simmons said. “It’s going to be that kind of in-your-face entertainment, whether you’re a football fan or not.”
The LA KISS will begin play in the Arena Football League next season, it was announced on Thursday. They will play at the Honda Center.
"Season tickets are now on sale for what we know will be some of the most action-packed games ever played at the Honda Center," said team co-owner and KISS frontman Paul Stanley. "Arena Football is played at a fast and furious pace and making season tickets available now for the budget-friendly price of $99 gives a whole new meaning to bang for the buck."
All LA KISS season-ticket buyers will be invited to a free KISS concert to take place at Honda Center next year.
“As a fast-paced, high-action band this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us,” said co-owner Gene Simmons of KISS. “With Arena Football, you are much closer to the action -- sitting in the front row is like putting a folding chair on the hash mark of an NFL game -- and it’s one of the only sports where you can experience this level of intensity. Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action.”
The AFL will mark its 27th season in 2014. There hasn't been a team in Southern California since the Los Angeles Avengers folded in 2009.
“We could not be more thrilled to bring the league back to Los Angeles," AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz said. "And partnering with such incredible rock legends as KISS is certain to give fans a sports experience unlike anything they have ever seen.”
"Season tickets are now on sale for what we know will be some of the most action-packed games ever played at the Honda Center," said Paul Stanley of KISS. "Arena Football is played at a fast and furious pace and making season tickets available now for the budget-friendly price of $99 gives a whole new meaning to bang for the buck." Additionally, all inaugural LA KISS season seat holders will be invited to a free KISS concert to take place at Honda Center in 2014! www.hondacenter.com/lakiss
"As a fast-paced, high-action band this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us," said Gene Simmons of KISS. "With Arena Football, you are much closer to the action - sitting in the front row is like putting a folding chair on the hash mark of an NFL game – and it’s one of the only sports where you can experience this level of intensity. Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart pounding action."
The AFL (www.arenafootball.com), which is dedicated to playing and promoting in-arena professional football around the world, will mark its 27th season in 2014. With primetime TV broadcasts on CBS Sports Network every Saturday, and over 150,000 fan connections each week, the league is poised to expand into homes across the country like never before. This new alliance with KISS will further strengthen the league's bond within the expansive U.S. entertainment and sports industries. The ArenaBowl XXVI Championship game kicks off Saturday, August 17 at 1pm EST / 10am PST and will air nationally on the CBS Television Network. The broadcast will feature a KISS halftime show on their new "spider stage."
Honda Center has partnered alongside the band and the team to provide a home for the sport and its newest expansion team. As a world-class sports and entertainment venue, which has consistently ranked among the top in the country, this Orange County arena will serve as the hub for Arena Football fans in the greater Los Angeles area and help the league engage with the more than 22 million people who call Southern California home.
"As the most fast-paced, exciting league in professional sports, the AFL has always been about providing the best form of entertainment to fans directly in their hometowns," said AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz. "We could not be more thrilled to bring the league back to Los Angeles, and partnering with such incredible rock legends as KISS is certain to give fans a sports experience unlike anything they have ever seen."
As the founding members of KISS, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have a vested interest in bringing football back to Los Angeles, a market that has always proved fanatical for both music and football. Both Paul and Gene are fans of the AFL and are excited to lend their own unique brand of non-stop action to games in Los Angeles that will blow fans away!
"This is a great business venture for KISS. They are lending their name to a sport which is destined for big things this year. It's fantastic to have a team named after the band and it is a privilege to be able to support LA and bring the experience home," stated KISS Manager DOC McGHEE of McGhee entertainment, who worked to facilitate the partnership.
"With a global brand in KISS, an ownership group dedicated to showcasing a fast-paced and exciting sport and a world-class venue hosting the action - three great entertainment properties are converging with the overall goal of producing an unparalleled AFL experience for fans," added Tim Ryan, CEO/President of The Honda Center. "This partnership marks a new era for the unification of sports and music."
In celebration of this announcement, and ArenaBowl XXVI, a three day celebration will kick-off tonight with the annual AFL Celebrity Gala followed by a LIVE concert Friday night, featuring none-other than KISS! The ArenaBowl XXVI Championship game kicks off Saturday, August 17 at 1pm EST / 10am PT and will air nationally on the CBS Television Network. The broadcast will include highlights from KISS's Friday night performance.
For more information on LA KISS, or to purchase season tickets, please visit www.lakissfootball.com.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
NJ Convention and Exposition Center, at the Raritan Center
97 Sunfield Ave, Edison NJ 08837
For tickets and all other info, visit www.njkissexpo.com.
Join MATT PORTER and his in-studio guests: CHRIS GIORDANO from the tribute band KISS IT! DAVID SNOWDEN from David Snowden Promotions! TONY DEVILLE from DeVille Ink! and "SPEED" from Silvertung!
We're going "back to school", celebrating GENE and VINNIE's birthdays, talking KISS and having all of the fun that you expect every month in THE KISS ROOM!
Listen here: thekissroom.com.
Speaking about the deal, Paul Stanley said: “We are thrilled to have Alan onboard to help tell the definitive KISS story, a story of insanity…dedication…and a take no prisoners attitude combining to create the most spectacular beast in rock ‘n’ roll history: KISS. Alan’s knowledge of the band amazed even us! We wanted the best….we got the best!”
The movie, titled 'You Wanted The Best…You Got The Best – The Official KISS Movie' will be the most intensive KISS documentary ever and will capture their career right from the start. Expect to see it on screens at some point next year.
In this week's episode, Moose returns to share more road stories from the early days of KISS as well as some memories of his return to the band in a management capacity on the Destroyer tour.
All this – and rare tunes, too – on PodKISSt… the KISS fanzine for your ears! Listen here.
In what has become the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific University Legends, hosted by Tommy Thayer will take place Sun., Aug. 25 at the beautiful and exclusive Waverley Country Club in Portland.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist for the legendary rock band KISS, has hosted the event that raises money for the university’s 23-sport NCAA Division III athletics program.
The venue this year is Waverley Country Club, which will help to make the event not only elegant but more memorable than ever. The end-of-the-summer gala will feature exquisite cuisine, a live auction, professional athletes, and a one-of-a-kind concert that only happens at this Legends event. Tickets sell quickly because of the unique nature of this concert. Thayer gathers well-known musicians from various legendary bands to create, for one evening, a unique blend of music that rocks the charts.
Joining Thayer on stage this year will be two-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter and keyboardist, Bill Champlin, formerly of Chicago, known for voicing some of the band’s top hits and writing tunes such as “Please Hold On” and “Remembering the Feeling.”
Danny Seraphine, the original drummer and founding member of Chicago and California Transit Authority (CTA), will return for another legends. Bobby Kimball, former lead singer of the six-Grammy award winning band Toto, CTA arranger, producer and keyboardist Ed Roth, and Oregon’s Grammy nominated saxophone jazz musician, Patrick Lamb, will lend their fabulous musical talent to what will be a remarkable evening.
The celebrity list also includes legendary rock manager Doc McGhee, who nurtured and discovered the careers of KISS, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, The Scorpions, Hootie & The Blowfish, Diana Ross and James Brown.
Although several musicians from CTA will also be playing at the event, the line-up of legendary talent does not stop at rock musicians. Over the years, pro athletes and comedians have helped support the student-athletes of Pacific University. This year’s celebrity cast also includes:
Tommy Masters, who played on the Nike and Canadian tours from 1992 to 1995 and is now one of the top-rated teaching professionals in the United States. Masters has been listed as one of GOLF Magazine's Top-100 Instructors in the country for several years running. Tommy has hosted segments on Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Sports Radio and teaches PGA Tour players, as well as professional sports and entertainment stars.
Perry Swenson, who is the only female to record a hole in one at Augusta National, home of The Masters Tournament. Swenson starred on the Golf Channel’s reality series Road Trip Myrtle Beach in 2008, and spent six years as a professional golfer. Perry is deeply involved in charity work, benefiting work around families who have lost a parent in the military, muscular dystrophy, children’s cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s.
Amber Prange, who gained collegiate and amateur notoriety while at the University of Washington, also appeared on the Golf Channel's Big Break television series in 2009, and played on the LPGA Futures Tour (now the Symetra Tour). Amber is a dedicated and fierce competitor, as well as a successful businesswoman off the course.
Over the years, Legends has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Pacific University’s athletics program. Proceeds have helped upgrade facilities, enhanced operating budgets for sports programs and helped the school bring back the football program.
The event begins Sunday evening with a reception, followed by a fabulous dinner, both silent and live auctions, and an unforgettable concert that only Legends can deliver.
To reserve a place at the Pacific University Legends 2013, or for more information including celebrity biographies and sponsorship details, please visit pacificu.edu/legends.
The wounded war veteran Roman Rivera and his wife were presented a mortgage-free home during the group's set. Paul Stanley told the crowd, "We have special guests with us tonight I'd like to bring out . . . Roman Rivera and his wife Michelle, and Ken from Military Warriors Support Foundation, please join me out here. Roman is a Wisconsin native, everybody. He is also a decorated veteran. He was severely injured during his combat tour in Iraq by an improvised bomb. He is a tried-and-true hero."
Stanley added, "We have the privilege of presenting Roman and his family with a mortgage-free, two-story, four-bedroom, three-car attached garage home in Janesville, Wisconsin. Again, completely mortgage-free. Please join me in congratulating Roman, and thank you to everyone for their service to our country!"
The crowd went crazy and after hugging and receiving high fives, Rivera walked off the stage to fists pumps and the entire crowd chanting "U.SA., U.S.A., U.S.A."
A couple of photos from the most recent studio sessions can be seen here: Pic1, Pic2.
Founder Chuck Brennan is longtime friend of the band and welcomed some of them to Sioux Falls this past spring at the Academy’s grand opening.
According to the press release, this is the first time all four members of KISS, in its current incarnation, have been to Sioux Falls together and is a rare public appearance outside of their concerts. The band was an inspiration for Brennan to pursue his dream of creating the academy. The event itself is private for Boys & Girls Clubs members.
Brennan Rock & Roll Academy provides the first free music education program for children in the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire, focusing on Rock & Roll instruments and vocals.
“Isn’t that something. It is going to be very exciting,” Engelbert told Noise11.
Engelbert will head back to the studio when he gets home to Los Angeles to record the yet-to-be named song with Gene.
The duets album, due in October, already has an impressive line-up of stars who wanted to be part of the project. “There’s Elton, there’s Smokey Robinson, there’s Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Neil Sedaka and it goes on and on and on. It is very exciting names on this particular album. I’m so thrilled that everyone has responded and wanted to work on the album with me and I think it has been a very exciting project”.
Engelbert Humperdinck will perform in Sydney tonight (July 10) at Star Casino and perform his final Australian show in Perth on July 13 at Crown Theatre. (Video)
Join Matt Porter and his in-studio guests: Chris Giordano, Eric Toddorocks Carr and Roger Segal, plus KISS 4K artist Adam Black calling in! We'll be cranking some KISS tunes, talking KISS, giving away some cool stuff and having all of the fun that you expect every month in THE KISS ROOM!
Listen here: thekissroom.com
Makeup-wearing members of the rock band were in Vancouver to hand a five-figure cheque to operators of Sophie's Place, a facility for kids who have been physically, mentally or sexually abused.
The money will help fund an expansion of the centre, which opened in February 2012 at The Centre for Child Development on 140th Street in Surrey.
The facility is named after Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of KISS bassist Gene Simmons and former Playboy model Shannon Tweed.
KISS is in Vancouver to perform at Rogers Arena on Saturday, July 6.
Some of the profits made at a KISS Army-operated "pop-up" store on Granville Street this week are destined for Sophie's Place.
"It's really very generous of them and will make a huge difference in helping us serve kids who have been abused," Dr. Brian Katz, director of Sophie's Place, told the 'Now' during a noon press conference in Vancouver.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was on hand to accept the donation, along with staff of the facility.
Simmons said the donation was "a beginning, a small token from us," with more coming.
"(The centre) helps thousands of abused kids every year, and it's a great place," Simmons said.
KISS singer/guitarist Paul Stanley said Sophie's Place is "a charity we know well and believe in 100 per cent. And we hope everyone here, every getting this news-media coverage, does what they can. It's never about giving until it hurts, you give until it feels good."
Tweed-Simmons said plans are to open other Sophie's Place facilities in Canada at a later date.
"We're working on getting this one absolutely perfect before we move on," she said.
In Surrey, the expanded facility will be roughly four times its current size, Katz told the 'Now'. Construction is already underway.
"It's in the works, and we're looking to raise $500,000 for the expansion, to have all of our team members under one roof," he said.
"Research has shown that it's a better outcome for kids when all professionals are working together and kids don't have to tell their story over and over again. Each time they do that, it can be traumatizing."
Tweed-Simmons said the concept for Sophie's Place was brought to attention her by Watts.
"There was a need for someone who is a kid to be a patron for the centre so we could relate more to the target audience," Tweed-Simmons said. "I was 18 at the time, and I loved it. I've worked with children my whole life and it seemed like the right thing to do, especially kind of being a B.C. native, thanks to my mom."
Katz said Tweed-Simmons has been a great partner for the centre.
"She's very much interested in the project and comes to these events and helps with fundraising, too," Katz said. "She's been able to help spread the message about what this great team is doing in Surrey, to build this child advocacy centre and make it a great resource for the community."
Autograph-seekers lined the block Thursday for the in-store appearance by KISS, which formed in the early 1970s.
"With time going on, we appreciate everything a lot more," Stanley said. "The band has never sounded better and never gotten along better. We socialize and spend time together... We're not on the first generation of KISS fans, we're on the third and fourth generation. Unlike other bands, we're a tribe. KISS is a whole different thing, where you have grandparents and five-year-olds and everything in between, and everyone is sharing that experience."
"God, in his infinite wisdom, has created night and sleep," says Kiss singer-bassist Gene Simmons. "By design, somebody - nature, God - created this idea where you get to rest and recharge. You don't need more than that. So I work hard, play hard, and live hard."
He also rocks hard. Simmons, 63, continues to tour mightily with the group he co-founded in 1973. He has dabbled in acting and found success with his highly rated reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, but through it all, there has been one constant for the man born Chaim Witz: rock 'n' roll.
The tour stops Saturday night in Vancouver, one of 19 stops in Canada (it was formerly 20, but the July 13 date at Calgary's Saddledome was cancelled this week due to flood damage).
That the group is staging one of its most in-depth tours of Canada 40 years after it was formed by Simmons and singer-guitarist Paul Stanley says something about their onstage abilities.
More than that, Simmons said, it speaks directly to their survival instincts.
When the rest of the pop-music world is singing to a pre-recorded click-track, Kiss is slogging it out with real instruments.
"When you go see Rihanna, you're probably getting about 30 per cent live music," Simmons said. "It's basically a karaoke show. That doesn't mean it's not good. Just be aware they are not advertising the truth."
Simmons says the current Kiss lineup - which includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, who have been on-board for more than a decade each - has too much pride to offer anything inauthentic. There's a reason why the group's official refrain - "You wanted the best? You got the best!" - has opened nearly every one of its concerts to date, he added.
It takes each member nearly two hours to apply their own iconic greasepaint makeup, and the physical toll of trudging across stages in warrior garb every two or three days takes a considerable toll. Simmons adds to that tally breathing fire, spitting blood and flying high in the rafters during his signature song, Dr. Love.
Simmons still finds time to accommodate interviews, personal appearances and business meetings, mostly for the sake of self-promotion. That's a four-letter word to most, but for Simmons (who is reportedly worth upwards of $300 million), the sound of cash registers ringing isn't something to be ashamed of.
"Either you take care of business or the business takes care of you."
That is classic Gene Simmons: Make the fans believe that it’s all for them, and they will keep coming. More importantly, they will shell out the big bucks to get the latest from their favourite rock gods.
The fans came in droves to Tom Lee Music in downtown Vancouver to meet their idols — appearing in full makeup and leather gear — and scoop up some of the merch the band had to offer at its KISS Army Depot pop-up store, one of many that have appeared across the country ahead of the band’s Canadian tour promoting 20th studio album Monster and kicking off in Victoria Friday night.
The tour hits Rogers Arena in Vancouver Saturday.
LEGO sets, action figures, posters and even sets of replica boots will be on display and up for grabs at Tom Lee until Sunday, but the band also made sure to point out its generosity at a press conference held Thursday at noon.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was in attendance to receive a $10,000 cheque donated to Sophie Tweed-Simmons’ charitable endeavour Sophie’s Place, which she set up with Watts to help youth in the Surrey area.
“Sophie has always been committed to helping young people,” Simmons said, with a hint of pride, during the press conference. “Sophie’s Place is a place where kids with dysfunction — verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse — can go and be among other young people with no pressure. It helps thousands of abused kids every year.”
Tweed-Simmons, Simmons and Canadian model and Playboy playmate Shannon Tweed’s daughter, was also slated to sing at the home opener of the B.C. Lions Thursday night at BC Place.
Tweed-Simmons and her brother Nick were both fixtures of Simmons’ Family Jewels reality television show, which showed the inner workings of the Simmons household.
“You would like to think your kids are a reflection of you,” Simmons told The Vancouver Sun in an interview following the press conference. “But I couldn’t hold a candle to our kids. They are phenomenal. I wanted to say I had nothing to do with the B.C. Lions game (on Thursday) or how she got herself on X Factor or when she sang with The Tenors in Dallas — a song that she wrote. I had nothing to do with that. You try to help your kids, but both of them are go-getters and I marvel at them.”
Stanley pointed out in the interview that the band will also be donating money to a charity in Toronto named About Face, which helps kids with facial deformations. Stanley has microtia, a condition where one of his ears wasn’t fully formed at birth.
Though part of the profits from the pop-up stores across the country will go to charity, Simmons did not want to get bogged down with numbers.
“What we’re really doing is raising awareness,” he said. “If we didn’t give a penny, it would still be a good thing.”
Read our complete feature interview story with KISS in Saturday’s edition of The Vancouver Sun.
“God, in his infinite wisdom, has created night and sleep,” says Kiss singer-bassist Gene Simmons. “By design, somebody — nature, God — created this idea where you get to rest and recharge. You don’t need more than that. So I work hard, play hard, and live hard.”
He also rocks hard.
Simmons, 63, continues to tour mightily with the group he co-founded in 1973. He has dabbled in acting and found success with his highly rated reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, but through it all, there has been one constant for the man born Chaim Witz: rock ’n’ roll.
The band begins the Canadian leg of its Monster tour Friday night in Victoria, its first-ever local date and the kickoff for 19 stops in Canada (it was formerly 20, but the July 13 date at Calgary’s Saddledome was cancelled this week due to flood damage).
That the group is staging one of its most in-depth tours of Canada 40 years after it was formed by Simmons and singer-guitarist Paul Stanley says something about their on-stage abilities.
More than that, Simmons said, it speaks directly to their survival instincts.
When the rest of the pop-music world is singing to a pre-recorded click-track, Kiss is slogging it out with real instruments.
“When you go see Rihanna, you’re probably getting about 30 per cent live music,” Simmons said. “It’s basically a karaoke show. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. Just be aware they are not advertising the truth.”
Simmons says the current Kiss lineup — which includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, who have been on-board for more than a decade each — has too much pride to offer anything inauthentic. There’s a reason why the group’s official refrain — “You wanted the best? You got the best!” — has opened nearly every one of its concerts to date, he added.
“What you see is what you get. Four guys sweating, no samples, no tapes. We blow a lot of stuff up and we change the Earth’s axis every once in a while. But what you see there is live. That’s what you’re paying a lot of money for, so you should get it live. How dare you step on that stage and not do it properly.”
Sacrifices need to be made to get the details right.
It takes each member nearly two hours to apply their own iconic greasepaint makeup, and the physical toll of trudging across stages in warrior garb every two or three days takes a considerable toll. Simmons adds to that tally breathing fire, spitting blood and flying high in the rafters during his signature song, Dr. Love.
To put it lightly, his dance card is incredibly full.
Simmons still finds time to accommodate interviews, personal appearances and business meetings, mostly for the sake of self-promotion. That’s a four-letter word to most, but for Simmons (who is reportedly worth upwards of $300 million), the sound of cash registers ringing isn’t something to be ashamed of.
“Either you take care of business or the business takes care of you. That’s why you can be Peter Frampton and be the biggest act of the world at the time, and be broke.”
Canada has been very good to Kiss over the years. Simmons says a 2011 concert by the group in Grand Falls, N.B., drew close to 50,000 people, while another appearance in Ottawa on that same trek attracted upwards of 95,000. His extensive knowledge of such matters makes him an exhausting person to come into contact with, but that is part of his charm.
People love to know how Kiss operates. Simmons isn’t telling, but he will pull back the curtain for a glimpse into the spider-like stage setup for the Monster tour.
“Paul [Stanley] came in and started scribbling and said, ‘What about this?’ We all said, ‘Wow, that’s great,’ and handed the piece of paper over to [Kiss manager] Doc McGhee and said, ‘Build this.’ ”
Simmons has made music his business, and he’s not about to let details slip away from him now that the group is on the home stretch. He is asked constantly to speak at business functions, and does so — if the price is right. What he learned along the way he learned on his own, the hard way. He didn’t blink when 2009’s Sonic Boom gave Kiss the highest chart debut of its career, nor was he surprised when its followup, 2012’s Monster, hit the top spot on the U.S. hard-rock charts.
Had the group behind Rock and Roll All Nite, Shout It Out Loud, Detroit Rock City and Beth failed to meet expectations, Simmons would have failed in his job as the caretaker of all things Kiss.
“If you approach this thing like a job, that’s good. Turn the TV off, turn the phones off, pick up your instrument and take out your notepad, and sit there. In other words, put in the time. Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you.”
When the e-mails started circling, it became apparent that they all shared the same love for KISS in the '70s. At the same time, they all were all somewhat shocked by how much Thal sounded like Paul Stanley and Rex like Gene Simmons on their tracks. Therein lay the set up leading to the formation of A.L.I.V.E.!
Says Brown: "We each got asked to play on this tribute album to benefit cancer research. Obviously, it was for a great cause and we wanted to be a part of it, but I think it also came from a place of real passion too. Each of us were hugely influenced by KISS early in our lives, so the chance to play on those tracks was a real honor. After we'd heard what we'd recorded, we thought it would be a lot of fun to do it live. As it turned out, Mark and I had just finished recording the upcoming KILL DEVIL HILL album, and had a small window of time this summer before we head out on the road again. The timing perfectly coincided with breaks in Ron and Brian's schedules as well, so we decided to put this thing together!"
A.L.I.V.E.! is a as much of of a "thank you" to KISS as it is a tribute. Brown, Thal, Tichy and Zavon won't be in costume and greasepaint, making this even more of a true tribute to the music that changed them when they first heard it.
Rex continues: "I remember I was in seventh grade and this chick had a copy of 'Alive!' I swiped it and it changed the future of rock and roll as I know it!! They were like 'gods' to this scrawny kid from Texas learning to play guitar!! They are one of the reasons I jam to this day!! I got to open up for them numerous times in stadiums and it's the attitude and the songs, not the schtick, that I go back to every time!!"
Tichy adds: "I thought KISS 'Alive!' was the loudest record ever when I first heard it! KISS was the first band I got into. Peter Criss was my first drum idol and he is where I started as a drummer! When the idea of all of us going for this together was brought up, we all reacted with unbridled excitement to how much fun and how powerful this could be! I can't wait to play with these badass musicians I am proud to call friends!"
When asked about KISS' influence on him, Thal said: "Hearing the KISS 'Alive!' album at the age of 5 is what made me want to play guitar and join a band. I'm looking forward to playing the songs that launched my life!"
Zavon said: "When I was 14 I borrowed 'Destroyer' from the public library and have never been the same since."
A.L.I.V.E.! will perform material off KISS' hugely influential "Alive!" and "Alive II" records as well as some of their personal favorites.
Rex Brown is celebrating his birthday on July 27 and the band have decided that would be a perfect time to launch A.L.I.V.E! The Rex Brown Birthday Bash featuring A.L.I.V.E.! will take place on the following dates:
July 24 - The Whiskey - Hollywood, CA
July 25 - LVCS - Las Vegas, NV
Go to this location to listen to snippets of the songs that brought this all together.
Scott Medlock & Robby Krieger's 2013 Celebrity Golf & Concert Event benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital takes place on September 16th. http://medlockkriegerinvitational.com (Video)