INTERVIEW: KISS Talk About Their Rise From The Streets Of New York To The Stages Of The World

by (@BHSmithNYC)

VH1: I was watching an old interview with you from your first time playing England and the interviewer asks what you care more about, the music or the spectacle and Gene you say “The audience.”

Gene Simmons: Well, sure. If you ever lose sight of the fact that your bosses are standing on their seats then you become delusional and think it’s all about you. At the end of the day we just work here and it’s our job like court jesters to make the kings all around us proud. We need to earn the crown that’s being bestowed upon us by those who have the power because, let’s call it for what it is, if our bosses, our fans don’t like what we’re doing or any band, that’s why the word “Next” is in the dictionary. So we’ve been around 40 years and proud by the way to have given a chance to lots of new bands on their first tour – AC/DC, Rush, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue – you name a big band, we gave them their first start because we’re also fans but at the end of the day, we can’t crown anybody, we all bow to everybody’s bosses, the fans.

VH1: It’s funny you mention that because I think helping younger bands such as Rush, who you took on tour, and Van Halen, whose demos you (Gene) produced, are one of the many things you don’t get credit for. What are other things you think people got wrong about Kiss in the press?

Paul Stanley: I don’t think that the press matters. The press never made a band. If you look at most critics’ Top 10 lists, it’s usually a contest of who knows the most obscure artists. In terms of the people that matter to us, we have no problem. Those people think the songwriting is great, think the shows are amazing and come see us time and time again. How can you listen to somebody who gets free tickets? If they’re not paying for tickets how good is their opinion of anything? The beauty of being a critic is you don’t need a diploma, you don’t need to go to school for it, you just one day say “Hey, I’m either a comedian or I’m a critic.” And if somebody listens to you, you become a critic. Whether they get us or don’t get us, the people who matter, get us. It’s 40 years and untold millions, 90 million, 100 million, you pick your number, who’s counting at that point?

Gene Simmons: I’m going to quote you the critics. Rolling Stone reviews Led Zeppelin, and this is a quote, “the Limp Blimp.” This is from a guy that never got laid in school, clearly has too many pimples on his face to count and continues to live in his mother’s basement. Sour human beings who’ve accomplished nothing and have been nobody and their only chance to be anybody is to just whack it. If you’ve got a point to say, show me what you’ve got. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Paul Stanley: Clearly, look, critics aren’t in their teens, and whether or not they continue to live at home, the fact remains these are bitter people. They pontificate and have made no real contribution to music or to the field. They’re not journalists. They’re clowns. They’re entertainers only they take themselves seriously. I don’t.

Kiss official signing photo op backstage at New York's Fillmore East. [Photo: Eddie Solan/KISS Catalog Ltd.]

Kiss official signing photo op backstage at New York’s Fillmore East. [Photo: Eddie Solan/KISS Catalog Ltd.]