Gene-Simmons400 Seems like KISS frontman Gene Simmons is no fan of reality show competitions where judges coddle contestants rather than being honest.

“You can’t sugarcoat s–t, pardon me. You can mentor anyone you like, but it’s a waste of time if they don’t have the goods intrinsically,” Simmons told The Hollywood Reporter at MIPCOM where he’s launching his new reality format Coliseum from Sierra/Engine Television.

Simmons is putting his own spin on the TV competition show genre by getting tough on contestants. Why? Because the music industry, like life itself, is cutthroat.

“Your qualification for being on this show is you can sing in the shower? Is that it, without paying any dues or writing songs or any stagecraft?” he questioned. Coliseum sees Simmons, who recently entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, challenging contestants to form rock bands with a winning musical voice and performance.

The KISS bassist will motivate evolving acts before they perform in front of an audience. “We want to open the trap doors of life and get tough. There will be heartbreak, and people are going to cry and their dreams will be shattered, just like in real life,” he said.

Simmons understands what leads singing competition show judges to nurture talent, rather than offer harsh and honest evaluations. “TV shows are fantasy because they’re selling soap suds. It’s family entertainment, it’s primetime, the kids are there, and they [broadcasters] don’t want to get too realistic,” he said.

But Coliseum will prize image over voice when judging talent. “We want to create superstars, not just singers that get record deals,” Simmons said. The other twist is that Coliseum will mix and match artists that contend on the show to find the perfect musical act.


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  • elliot on

    thank you dana for giving me my kiss nonsense fix. I am glad you’re sticking with the same crappy gene pic. you could even post it daily with a memorable quote a la joel(stine) osteen.

  • Joe Pensanti on

    Gene should call the show “My Dried Up Wig”.

  • David C on

    Maybe Ace can try out on Gene’s new show. Eddie can be his mentor lol.

    • elliot on

      that’ll cost ace and eddie.

  • Lee on

    Gene would be cruel to Ace, let the free show at the casino in Connecticut be Jay Black again up there, glad it was free, cara mia!

  • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

    In the era of the publicist, the canned sound bite, here is a guy who shoots straight and people get mad at the guy. I love Gene, he doesn’t walk around with some entourage, and that’s his real hair, he paid for it dog gammit . This show sounds pretty cool. But blimey: First, people get mad because he said rock is dead. Well, guess what? It’s the truth! Come on, you people on here grew up with a real scene, stop denying that rock is dead. Now, the guy is actually trying to inject some life into rock and he gets slammed for that. He already said it won’t be like the talent shows that were complicit in killing rock. For God sake you guys kill me.

    • guitarslinger on

      This show willl NOT inject life into rock’n roll becasue that kinda music is not MADE on television, it is created in garages, clubs, cellars, etc. – Yet it may inject some more life into some people’s wallets.

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      uhh…I think Gene, of all people, is aware of where rock and roll comes from. The guy who financed Van Halen’s first demo, is a solid producer…I think what he is doing is bringing the rock element to TV….I.e. I trust Gene to do a rock and roll show more than some TV exec by miles. Sure, you skeptics out there will point to his “failures:” bad decsions…but guess what ? that goes with the territory, you don’t have great success without making mistakes. The difference is the mistake doesn’t phase Gene, he isn’t some loser who packs it in after a disappointment. You guys criticizing him…what shot did you ever take? I’m just sayin’ ..

    • guitarslinger on

      Actually, I am not pointing out his failures or mistakes, you are just trying to oppose against something I did not say. I am just saying that all these casting shows are not what rock or rock’n roll is or was in the first place. His will be no exception, he will not change the laws of television and its marketing. Music and the attitude towards it or the attitude you need to create a certain music and promote against all odds is actually the opposite of what television is, television is not about attitude etc. it is about viewing rates and making money through advertising today, his show will and can be no exception. He will not do it just for the fun of it, he will try to make money too (he may say otherwise, but that is just promotion). And if he does, he will have to adjust to the rules – so how can you not doubt that this show or any other show of similar character can reanimate rock?? If you want to make rock what it was do not watch these shows, do not download, buy CDs, go to concerts and support your local bands. Go see some real stuff instead of that scripted life on tv.

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      So, are you soothsayer? Goodness, why don’t you just try (I know, you ascribe this hypothesis failure to this word) to have an open mind? The paradigm has completely changed, hardly anyone buys music anymore, Gene laments this as much as anyone, so he is attempting to adapt. He is getting in the batters box and taking a swing. Moreover, I can’t believe how everyone can be human and do stupid stuff except Gene. His commenting on others’ stupidity notwithstanding. That is, that is just part of stupid stuff he does. You know, he does a lot, in fact, most things, right.

    • guitarslinger on

      Shannon, I acknowledge you like Gene, and I like him too as a musician, but this is a strategy that is easy to see through. He did a reality show before and will do again, he made a whole lot of money with the first. He needs new perspectives as the time of Kiss is slowly running out. As much as I want to reanimate rock in the mainstream of culture I know that this is not going to do ANYTHING in that direction. It is a money making machine, if it works, it is television, this is a made-up world, the reality of rock is decided out there as I pointed out earlier. If you think that such a show will make rock relevant again you might as well believe that American Idol produces real superstars that last longer than one or two albums, or singles even. So OK, you wanna believe in it, do so, if this show ever airs you may do an opinion poll afterwards as to whether it breathed new life into rock or not, new bands getting together and getting a record deal etc. Good luck.

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      The point I’m trying to make is that in this vast desert of no viable rock action, he is at least attempting to do something that sounds pretty plausible, that might work, that makes sense in the new paradigm of the music industry…he is trying. There is a big difference between a shark tank, a place where warranted criticism is leveled, and a peanut gallery, folks.

    • guitarslinger on

      He’s trying … sounds rather pathetic this way of defending him. He is trying to make money, stay on the scene a bit longer, use his celebrity status, fondle his ego … which is nothing wrong, but please be realistic about his motives and about what this show can do for the rock scene out there. Btw no musician of some status, ergo of some influence and enough money could have overlooked the talent that could be found in Van Halen, if he had not produced the demos, somebody else would have a day later, so-to-speak. So that does not make him a great producer or promoter of bands. His record label has not been very successful either. So no wonder he … and you … always refer to the one demo almost 40 years ago. Also, as a mediocre singer and a below-average bass player (realistically compared to to other successful rock musicians) he is not really in the position to bash other musicians. But you need that bashing to have great viewing rates, of course …

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      That is a ridiculous counterargument.: “If he had not produced (Van Halen’s) demos, somebody else would have a day later..” I would infer that getting Van Halen in the spotlight was a bit more of an arduous task then you ascribe. Van Halen were turned down by labels left and right…” a band who is trying to be Led Zeppelin with a singer who thinks he’s Jim Dandy” was a consensus among the labels. Bill Aucoin didn’t even want to manage them. Atomic Punks was, in fact, their moniker as a punk band, which they performed as opening for the Runaways. It was Gene who had the vision, and acted on it. And again, going back to the strongest interpretation of your argument, that he couldn’t have been the only one who felt that way, still doesn’t negate what Gene actually did. Your argument begs the question: if Gene didn’t do it someone else would have. Someone else didn’t so Gene did it… is circular reasoning.

      Sure, I refer to that demo, if someone has that kind of vision, and I didn’t even mention Kiss! they get my attention, simple as that.

      His label was not a blockbuster success. So freaking what? When you take risks like Gene, you get disappointments, how does this negate his achievements? Gene is an ambitious person, so he does put all of stuff out there, some I don’t subscribe to one bit, such as his “reality” TV show, I have never watched one episode in its entirety.
      I also am baffled by his treatment of Ace and Peter in the press and their current status within Kisstory…so, the guy does make mistakes, I am not refuting this.

      You may not care for his music, or his producing, but, like it or not, Gene is a very talented guy . He is a way above average songwriter at his best, and he is prolific. Personally, I love his bass playing…no one gets that dinosaur stomp thud like Gene, I love the way Kiss pushed dissonance within those pop songs in the 70s, a definite precursor to the modern rock dissonance that hit 15 years later.

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      Correction: a lot of stuff out there…
      So that does not make him a great producer or promoter of bands. His record label has not been very successful either. So no wonder he … and you … always refer to the one demo almost 40

      The Van Halen demo is not necessary condition to say Gene is a solid producer, he has done some very solid work with other artists….But it is a sufficient condition.

    • guitarslinger on

      Circular reasoning, that is exactly what you do and you don not even realize it …

    • guitarslinger on

      Actually, the more I read your post I come to suspect you are the one Shannon, as you so arduously and fervidly defend his “achievements”, OK, let us face it: he’s a God, at least demigod (of thunder) … so following that logic it becomes clear that only he could have that “vision” (laughing) of VH as the new big thing in rock history … sorry that I did not see this logic in your argumentation at first … Quote: “dissonance within those pop songs” – what you call dissonance has aptly been called a certain lack of ‘virtuosity’, just like the mostly poor command of the instruments in punk and then in grunge bands was called talent and vision and style by so many journalistst who themselves could not play an instrument. Gene’s thump can be found in alomst every good bass player of any good rock band past and present, it is nothing special, I did not say he is bad, he is average. – So gene is an ambitious person, and you take that “fact” to put forward an argument? Oh dear. How many people in the music business (or any other business of some potential and status) do you know that can NOT be called ambitious??

    • elliot on

      have shannon on alcatrazz and staten island clown’s posts have ever been seen together? hmm..

    • Shannon on Alcatrazz on

      Yes I used to hang out in Staten Island but I’ve since moved to Alcatrazz island because people are so dumb I don’t even know why I bother coming on here…. It’s a TV show, I for one, will check it out, I’m not expecting it to do much, my point was at least it will be interesting…….OK , yeah you’re right guitarslinger I’m ‘that Shannon’ (!) Your analysis of music is just mind blowing.

    • guitarslinger on

      Thank you, maybe you should take your own advice and go where you might find more intelligent people than us, hm?? Apropos intelligence – it rather took you a very long text to say “it will be interesting” …

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