Friday, September 14, 2012

Kiss' Gene Simmons opens his mouth (but keeps his tongue in)

By A.D. Amorosi/

Kiss play the Philadelphia market on Wednesday, September 19 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.

The first thing to do when speaking to Kiss' Gene Simmons is to get to the truth of the matter. After nearly 40 years of being in the dressy demonic ensemble, the bassist, entrepreneur, and reality television star wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Ask him what he thinks of partner Paul Stanley's 2009 statement to this writer that "democracy is overrated" in relation to the Starchild's production of that year's Sonic Boom, and Simmons chuckles. "Yes," he says. "Everybody can't have equal say. The good thing about Paul is that he was able to commit the time and the mental fatigue that it takes to stay in the studio for three months. I didn't have that. I'm way past that."

With Simmons pretending he's past that, Stanley produced Kiss' metal-marauding 20th studio album, Monster. "We're in the same car," Simmons says. "Paul just happens to be steering, and I'm happy he is."  Simmons should be: Monster is a beast, a richly melodic yet gut-punching work that rivals Kiss classics such as Dressed to Kill and Destroyer, the latter currently getting a polish with a recently remastered rerelease.

"There's always going to be a 15-year-old who hasn't heard the classics," says Simmons. "Seeing the kids dressed in our makeup on his father's shoulder - also wearing makeup, by the way - is the most emotional thing of a Kiss concert for me. That those same kids can hear Destroyer anew is equally emotional. We outrun the pre-planned obsolescence of pop. Not much music has that sort of timeless currency. I love Chuck Berry, and once upon a time his riffs were contemporary. So was doo-wop. Those things are gone. But Kiss not only stood the test of time, we've transcended it."

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