Marko Syrjala Finland’s Imperiumi spoke with KISS frontman, and bassist, Gene Simmons. Highlights of the interview appear below.

Imperiumi: How did you pick up the guys [in your solo] the band?

Gene Simmons: Well, they played on the KISS Kruise. And they do a tribute; they have a big rock show or something. You know, it just happens. I didn’t pick them; we had a different drummer. We had two different drummers before, and they just said, “Hey, you’ve got a show coming up. Our drummer can’t make it; he’s got to go.” So, I said, “Well, get another drummer. Don’t think about it.” If you plan something too much, sometimes it doesn’t work. This band just came together without any planning. We get along great. Nobody uses drugs, no drinking.

Imperiumi: Do you ever have days when you’re doing absolutely nothing?

Gene Simmons: Well, even when I have a day off, you have all these businesses, emails all the time, and lawyers, and everything. I’m even starting a company for vegetables. In about a month in grocery stores and it’ll come around the world. But it’s a new kind of vegetables. You take grapes and tomatoes, and you mix them up. And that’s big. It’s a big, big thing. I own this logo; I designed it.

Imperiumi: One thing what the KISS fans have been waiting for a long time is the next episode of Kissology. Is that ever going to be released or is something you’ve decided not to do anymore?

Gene Simmons: Well, number four is finished, but the lawyers are taking their time, I don’t know why. It takes a long time.

Imperiumi: I remember that I read your interview from the year 1985 where you said that there’s nothing more embarrassing than some guys on stage at their 50’s. I think that you pointed to Rolling Stones at the time, but things have changed.

Gene Simmons: When I was a kid, we used to say, “Don’t trust anybody over 30.” When Paul McCartney wrote a song, he said, “Will you still love me when I’m 64?” Well, he’s 74. This rock and roll thing doesn’t have rules because it never existed before. It’s a new thing. Rap is a new thing. Classical music has been here forever. Even blues has been around for a long time. Before the ’50s, there was no such thing as rock and roll, and what are the rules? The people who are writing the songs and playing them could not even read or write music. I can. I can write songs and play a few instruments and do that, but if you showed me a classical music sheet, I can’t read it but those guys that read the classic, they can’t write Dr. Love.

Imperiumi: How long you think you can carry on doing this?

Gene Simmons: Well, in KISS, we can’t continue longer than the early 70s. It’s because the band is the hardest-working band in show business. You see Iggy on stage. He doesn’t have to carry any weight, except it’s a hard show, but wear sneakers and jeans. Me? [laughter] It takes a long time, and the outfit weighs a lot, and the heels are taller even then your girlfriend’s. It’s a lot of hard work, and when we come off the stage, for me, you’re really tired. So, in its present form, KISS can’t do it 75, 74. I wouldn’t want to do it one day longer than it was real.

Imperiumi: The next KISS tour is going to start in February, is it really going to be the final tour?

Gene Simmons: I don’t know.

Imperiumi: Do you have any plans to invite some special guests from the past maybe?

Gene Simmons: We talked about it. But we haven’t decided anything. The problem is if you bring out a special guest, they come on without makeup. They do. We haven’t really gotten that far.

Imperiumi: I’m asking this only because some former members of the band have said in public that they would love to be a part of this tour, in a way or another.

Gene Simmons: Who is? [laughter] I do know, but it’s not going to… yeah. You can’t put on the makeup. You’ve been out of the band 20 years. It’s not going to happen. And it’s a difficult question because if we did bring out anybody that was in the band, they can’t put on the makeup.

Imperiumi: But you have been talking about it?

Gene Simmons: Not a lot. No.

Imperiumi: The very last question; when the time of the very last KISS show comes, would you like to have all living members of KISS joining the event?

Gene Simmons: It sounds like it should be, but I don’t know yet. We’ll see.

Read the entire interview, at Imperiumi.


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  • robert davenport on

    I just was talking about this very subject with a few friends of mine on social media- the other day I saw posted online a review of the Barcelona show that said paul sounded amazing or something to that effect then I watched the new clips of the show – and he sounded worse than ever, just god awful – gene was also sounding very strained, although still vocally in tune -at this point I am just sad that the greatest rock band that ever was is turning into a joke – they need to retire before the booing starts – its getting really close –

  • Doug R. on

    Hey, Gene, as a lifelong KISS fan, I have to say I will never pay to see KISS again without Ace & Peter in THEIR makeup!! Do the right thing and make the right decision! I understand all sides, but this is too important to us real KISS fans, I hope you’re listening Gene, Don’t You Let Me Down! I will always cherish all the great KISS music and memories, but KISS has to end like it began, – Gene, Paul, Ace & Peter, the original 4!!!! A “Rock & Roll Party!!!!” 🙂

  • Horse Latitudes on

    KISS has clearly stayed too
    long at the party. Vote with
    your Dollars.

  • elliot goldberg on

    that bass vs. gene’s hair: something’s gotta give

  • Bill F. on

    Stop with the “real Kiss fans want…”. I’m as legit a Kiss fan as they come. Been on the Kiss train since Love Gun was released in ’77, and haven’t wavered through makeup, no makeup, back to makeup, etc. In over 325 concerts (not all Kiss, obviously) the worst performance I’ve ever seen by anyone was Peter Criss on the “Kiss/Aerosmith” tour. It was deeply embarrassing. I’m convinced to this day that there was someone playing behind the curtain, because there were moments when he barely was moving the drumsticks. The total show was still pretty good, because Gene, Paul and Tommy picked up the slack, but the drum performance itself was abominable.

    The last thing I want to see is Peter (and to a lesser extent Ace) phoning it in on stage. I honestly do not get the outrage for Tommy and Eric. I’ve seen the “new” band now twice, including the most recent one (with my daughter, who called it “the greatest night of her life”) and will see them again on this next tour. While I concede that Paul’s voice isn’t what it once was, the current four of them deliver, and that’s what I want out of Kiss. Not badly croaked, forgotten-word versions of a vanity song (“Beth”) by a guy that’s worried about his paycheck and whether he’s “respected” or not.

    I’ll take Ace, because he appears to still be on his game, but I’m not losing sleep over it. He’s an adult, Gene and Paul are adults, and if it works it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Last time I saw Ace in Kiss was in New Haven just before the “Farewell” tour, and he was out of his mind. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s clear now, but if being in Kiss means he’s off the wagon, it’s not worth it. It’s just not.

    • Doug R. on

      That’s all good and well for you, Bill. I’ve been a fan since ’74, seen every tour from ’76 to the farewell tour in 2000 except for the Hot In The Shade tour, bought every album from the debut, to the 2001 box set, from vinyl, to 8-track, cassette, and of course CD. Met the band (including Eric Carr, VV, and Bruce Kulick) 6 times, spent a fortune on KISS merchandise, and still have a pair of Peter Criss’ drumsticks from the reunion tour in ’96, autographed by Peter himself! What’s my point? To each their own, but I have every right to express my feelings on how I would like to see the KISS rollercoaster come to an end. Nobody is expecting (obviously) to see the KISS from 1977 when they were at their absolute best, we know how old the original 4 are, and we know how long it’s been since they’ve played together. But the bottom line is, most REAL KISS fans would still like to see the original 4 together again 1 more time!

    • Rattlehead on

      Doug, I feel the exact way as you. I wanna see the original four who started it, end it. I think that’s the right to end it, for the fans’ sake. Anything less is a BS move. Tommy and Eric, while fine players, are imposters who had nothing to do with the great creation that is KI$$.

      The original KI$$ will always be my favorite band. Let’s end it the way it began, with the original four who developed the iconic characters.

    • Doug R. on

      Rattle, bro, I have bought up almost everything KI$$ has $old over the years, including pinball machines, Kaskets, Urns, wine, Kola, Kandles, hell, I even have the KI$$ bowling ball! But 1 thing I never bought and would never buy that KI$$ has been selling over the last 17 years, is the KI$$ Kool-aid! Sorry guys, even I can’t drink that “product!” Even though Paul can’t sing anymore, Gene can’t move anymore, and Ace & Peter may be a little “KI$$ rusty,” it’s time to end the charade, and bring back the real KISS masquerade! Cheers, Rattle! Rock And Roll All Nite, bro, and party every day!!!! 😉

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