Lick It Up
See, Gene Simmons' publicist never gave me a specific time to be available for his call. She just said, "Oh, he'll call you sometime Monday or Tuesday." Then she told me that if I missed his call, he would leave a number on my machine that I could use to call him back.
Usually, the way it works is the interviewee's publicist and the writer agree on a specific time for the interview. That way, the conversation is guaranteed to go down. But Gene Simmons didn't have the common courtesy to select a specific time to be interviewed. He obviously just expects journalists, writers, or publicists or whoever to just sit around and wait for him.
And, shit-all, for me to interview him was doing him a favor. I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit around wasting hours of my life for that tubster bastard to call me. Who does he think he is? The King of Siam?
I did wait, though, all day Monday and all day Tuesday, in fact, for Simmons to call. Waiting around for a porker like him can drive a man to the 40. I did that, too.
But true to Simmons' word, he did call. Twice, in fact. On Monday he called at 11:30 a.m. right when I was out at the mailbox. Tuesday he called way too early, around 9 in the morning and I was still passed out. Each time he called, he left no forwarding number. He just said, "Gene Simmons. I called," in a manner that suggests he does indeed believe that he is the King of Siam.
I rang his publicist back and she informed me that "he will call back, this is just how he does it." He never called a third time.
So, because of all this pomp and circumstance, there will be no interview with Gene Simmons in this space. Too bad, too, 'cause my intention with Simmons was to hold him accountable for some of the many atrocities he and his band have committed in the name of rock 'n' roll.
The following is a list of questions I had put together while waiting for him to call. Instinct tells me Simmons would have blown dial tone my way after only the second question:
Question #1: Gene, I have talked to some people who have toured with you and it is well known that you are a legendary ladies man. Your wife, Shannon Tweed, is a notorious babe, too, bro. You rock.
But I am just curious about one thing. Why is it that most every chick you bag on the road exceeds all boundaries of corpulence and what most would consider within the realm of desirable and good taste? Some of these tubster hotties, my reliable sources tell me, run the gamut of beer-gutted Nubians to cross-eyed hill folk. Dude, you are reputedly a man of wealth and fame, so why do you go for paunchy ginch on tour? What up, bro?
Question #2: Would this current KISS tour be a "Farewell Tour" had the last record, Psycho Circus, not been a stiff of such colossal proportions?
Question #3: Why would a man as wealthy as you don such two-bit-looking wigs?
Question #4: Do you think that by being the first post-Dylan songwriter boom band to use outside writers (Kim Fowley, Desmond Child, Bob Ezrin, Mark Anthony, among others), KISS single-handedly ruined the anybody-can-do-it aesthetic of rock 'n' roll? The very thing that made it exciting?
Question #5: Regarding KISS' shameless pro-establishment, lunch-money-stealin' merchandise scams of the '70s: that stuff that had more to do with corporate gluttony and greed rather than bringing rock 'n' roll to the kids of America. Do you think that it was destructive to advocate the kind of blatant consumption consistent with the ideologies of right-wing anti-rock 'n' roll pundits of the time? In other words, is KISS partly to blame for rock 'n' roll becoming a euphemism for crass commercialism?
Question #6: So, Gene, which movie had a bigger box office last year? Detroit Rock City or Dee Snider's Strangeland?
Question #7: Gene, sources tell us that not only was Ace Frehley's playing nearly non-existent on 1998's Psycho Circus,butthat you also couldn't be bothered to play your instrument, either. KISS sideman Bruce Kulick is said to have played your bass parts. What up, bro?
Question #8: Were you worried about losing your wig after the incident in the early '90s when a fan jumped up onstage and, in his enthusiasm, grabbed Paul Stanley by the hair and pulled off his faux locks?
Question #9: Sometimes I amuse myself by playing a rousing game of "Spot the Stolen Alice Cooper Riff" on many KISS albums. Each riff spotted and named, a shot of something delicious goes down the hatch. Is it purely coincidental that so many Cooper bits are found on your records?
Question #10: Gene, one more thing. My source swears up and down that this is absolutely true. In fact, he was hoping to save this bit of info and give it to Howard Stern.
In the early '90s, when the whole KISS thing looked likely to evaporate from sheer public abandonment, you guys actually played a wedding at somebody's house in Southern California. Milton Berle and his wife were attending this wedding. During the reception you sneaked off with Berle's wife and bagged her in one of the bedrooms while the old man was entertaining some guests. Even if Berle's wife was 40 years younger than he was, that would still make her older than you. My question is, does Uncle Milty know about this, and what's wrong with you? What up, bro?
At this point, Simmons would have been long gone, of course. I could go on all day asking questions, too. KISS sure left a lasting legacy, bro!
KISS' "Farewell Tour" kicks off on Saturday, March 11, at Desert Sky Pavilion, with Ted Nugent. Showtime is 7 p.m.
In my last column, I outlined a drunken story whose protagonist/antagonist was a compulsive masturbator named Twees, a confused young man inspired by meth and hooked on porno. Twees is a composite character based on members of Korn and Limp Bizkit. Twees falls for a porno star named Tiffany and relocates to the San Fernando Valley of Porn. There his plans include the killing of a Nazi whom he once saw schtupping Tiffany in a smut flick, and, perhaps, to marry her. The story is more about how voyeurism can kill a man, regardless of a divine godless inspiration.
But I didn't have an ending for this story. I asked readers to help finish the tale and I received countless responses. The following are the three best:
This guy's response was signed anonymous. But he did send along his URL: http://www.primenet.com/~bord
I think Methboy needs a little brains. Mr. Pornstar is supporting his lifestyle via his sexual abilities. Methinks Methboy needs to worm his way into Pornstar's life. Feed him a diet of saltpeter and watch the porn roles dry up. As Pornstar becomes despondent, Methboy begins supporting him. After all, Methboy has become a bona fide honest-to-Buddha porn director. Through these directorial connections, Methboy gets Tiffany to star in his films. She begins to trust him, moves in with them, and Pornstar cannot stand the sounds that come from the master bedroom. He finally uses Methboy's gun to kill himself. Pornstar is dead, Tiffany is with Methboy, and they all live happily ever after. 'Til they get killed by a meteor or something. 'Cause there has to be a moral to the story that tells kids to "Just Say No" to porn, meth, guns, and stalking.
My favorite outcome is the one Jeff George from Tucson suggested:
I may have thought of a sufficiently sick and perverted ending or two for your story: Twees tracks them down, violent confrontation ensues, ending with everyone dead. Lots of perverted rape/torture. The action is caught on hidden cameras and becomes extremely popular on the snuff circuit.
Alternatively: One person is left alive -- Twees, who goes on to become a porn star in his own right.
This next one came from Carla A. Jacobs of Mesa. She actually wrote that the public search for a story concept ending was a great idea. Hmmmm:
Twees eventually gets his hands on both Tiffany's and Hammer's real names and addresses. The next day he starts stalking them. Then he buys a gun. His plans are first to kill that Nazi punkass Hammer, then marry Tiffany.
Twees finds that Hammer and Tiffany will be working together on a new porno and quickly makes plans to be on that set. That Saturday he finds himself in the same room with both the woman he loves and the man he must destroy. He can hardly watch Tiffany taking it from the Nazi bastard and has to walk into another room.
As he drinks down a warm beer, wishing he could have gotten ahold of his dealer that morning, Twees contemplates the best course of action for taking the fucker out.
In the next room, he hears what sounds like Tiffany's sultry voice. She seems to be in trouble; she is yelling at someone to get away from her. All of the sudden someone is knocked into the wall, Twees feels the vibrations and rushes out of his room and into the next. There he sees Hammer grabbing Tiffany by the arm and yelling obscenities at her. When Hammer hears someone come in the room he drops Tiffany to the ground and turns to flabby, pale-faced Twees. Before Hammer can even advance toward Twees the gun is drawn and he fires several rounds into Hammer's chest. He watches Hammer fly back into a bookshelf full of newly shot porn footage. He rushes over to the sobbing Tiffany still crumpled on the ground. As he kneels down to help her up she gazes into his eyes and falls instantly in love with her hero. As a dozen people cram into the room to find out what has happened, Tiffany and Twees still just gaze at each other, oblivious to the chaos around them.
Cut to Phoenix some six months later. Twees and Tiffany move into their first trailer home somewhere between where Apache becomes Main Street. Tiffany leaves the porn business to become a topless dancer at some sleazy strip joint. Twees entered the lucrative house-painting profession. Tiffany refuses to marry Twees until he is completely clean, except for the booze and marijuana. So Twees quits tweaking.
In the end, the Mook gets the porn star and they live as happily ever after as their drug addicted, manually laboring asses will allow. In this world of crime, drugs and porn, even the little guy sometimes gets a piece of the action and a happy ending -- sometimes.
Machina/The Machines of God
Shit . . . talk about a record that simply refuses to end. During the time this thing was playing start to finish, I napped twice. In between I got in a good whack, downed a six of Bud, pissed out my back door aiming through the fence at the neighbor's yapping flea-bag rat terrier, then downed a box of delicious Girl Scout cookies called Tagalongs, which are described on the box as "chocolate covered peanut butter patties."
And even after all that, the prolix pap of the Smashing Pumpkins' diabolical saccharine was still going and going and going. . . .
But the one thing I did notice while listening is how much bald creep Billy Corgan's voice resembles that of just-exited Ratt meadowlark Stephen Pearcy. How come nobody's ever pointed that out? Chuckles came easy picturing Pearcy tweet lines like, "You and me/Meant to be/Immutable/Impossible/It's destiny/Pure Lunacy/Incalculable/Insufferable . . ." on the Pumpkins' "Stand Inside Your Love."
But on "The Crying Tree of Mercury," the Pearcy-fronting-the-Smashing-Pumpkins or Corgan-fronting-Ratt mix is eerily apparent. Just picture this threnody atop any Ratt dirge or Pumpkins requiem: "I've been waiting like a knife/To cut open your heart and bleed my soul to you/I did it all for you."
The key to understanding Corgan is that he's always thought of being a pop star as a God-given right. His unruffled Grammy-size smugness shines like his head on nearly every track contained herein, regardless of how many art-fag pretenses are thrown in. The songs, when combining fuzzy pop tones and the honkish whimper of his voice, do little to hide what the man really is, an uncompassionate, self-contented and granite-hard cretin with a songwriting sensibility that is marginal at best.
Contact Bill Blake at his online address: Trashman@rock.com
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