Music News

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, but that 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?

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Bill Blake