On the eve of KISS' Spring "Farewell" Tour, Spin.com Assistant Editor Marc Spitz learned just what Gene Simmons' big ass tongue was good for... talkin' up a storm. (Spitz claims to be a former KISS member, known as "The Squirrel," during the lean years: "At the time, we were all wearing evening dresses and stoles. My stoles were squirrel fur. This was before fur was bad, of course. When they started with the face paint, my pathological fear of mimes kicked in and I had to go solo. I have no regrets."). We don't believe him, but at least, now he can probably pass the polygraph, when asked "Do you know Gene Simmons?" Here's what transpired.|
SPIN: Hi, Gene.
GENE SIMMONS: Hello.
Now, we're a little confused. When you say 'Farewell Tour' do you mean...
I'll explain everything. Okay? The more you let me talk, the more I can explain.
The Farewell Tour is the real deal. The real one. Final! There's going to be no more tour. We've talked about it before, but, even though Ace and Peter originally left in the early '80s, we've never once said we were going to stop. We've always basically stayed true to our own point of view. When Ace and Peter originally left in the early '80s, we just went on with different lineups and continued to tour and did very well. We sold 50 million tickets without them. Then when we did the reunion tour, we said it and meant it: Ace and Peter are coming back. We did it and put back on our makeup and all the people who said we were crazy for putting on makeup initially and then said we were crazy for taking it off, that it would never work, and then kept saying that we were crazy for putting it back on again, they're all saying, 'Do you want fries with that?' They should basically shut up.
The reunion tour culminated and became the number one tour, number two was our good friend, Garth Brooks. We then continued to up the ante by going out on the first 3-D tour in history which was the Psycho Circus tour which kicked off at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. The live tour kicked off in Detroit's Tiger Stadium and after that we were told by Billboard that we were right behind The Beatles by the number of gold records by any group in history. We got the Hollywood Walk of Fame star that's right at the beginning of Hollywood Blvd. You know, we looked around and there was practically nothing left to do. We had gone where no band had gone before. We've done everything you could imagine including Detroit Rock City, a movie that was about Kiss fans. We'd pretty much done it all. There was the sense, that after our Psycho Circus tour, that we should probably hang up our platform heels and say 'Thank you very much it's been an amazing run. Thank you for making our dreams come true.'
The one thing we didn't do was to say goodbye properly, which is to say, that in point of fact 'If it wasn't for the fans, we wouldn't be here in the first place.' I know it's cornball and sounds like a sound byte, but that's tough, that's just the way it is. So we decided to go up, one last time on a Farewell Tour and completely, yet again, disregard fashion - which has always been the enemy.
Fashion is the enemy?
Fashion is taking the easy way out instead of just doing what makes your heart happy, just listening to yourself whether it's in fashion or not. So we're going out and increasing the ante, yet again.
How are you...
More bombs, more bang for the buck.
Just a good, honest rock show!
Strippers can be happy there taking their tops off. Kids can come with their parents. All of it. Business guys can come in their business suits because the problem with rock n' roll in general, is that it's become compartmentalized which is a big word like gymnasium.
There's no place left that feels special, that's what this is going to be about. So instead of charging hundreds of dollars a tickets and in the thousands, we're going to keep the prices very competitive and not try to pull a fast one. Basically say goodbye as honorably and thankfully in front of our bosses - the fans - who put us here in the first place, because we can. So, it's gonna be a celebration of everything we've done, from the 70's and on, three decades almost.
Are there going to be any additions to the itinerary. You're leaving out some cities as of now.
We'll do about 70 in America and then a series of stadiums around the world. Five to ten in Japan and the same number in Australia.
Do you know where the very, very last show is going to be?
We do. We do. And that's going to be a special event, it'll be filmed and all that, but we don't want to talk about that right now. Kiss will cease to be as a touring entity. All of this is being done with the sincerest thanks. If I could knock on any door and kiss every baby, and just go around and tell everybody how thrilled . . . I don't know how else. . . . I get tongue tied, in my case, my tongue's too long. It's beyond anything you can imagine. The mind boggles with how do you say thank you to somebody who made you a god?
I don't know.
You've definitely been available and gone to conventions and such
There's just no way to say thank you. I'm building a home now, okay? I've lived in a very nice home. It's going to be 16,580 feet, okay? How do you do that? Your fans make it possible. They give you the opportunity to do anything your heart desires...flying your own jet. [The fan support is] akin to Christianity, I guess that's Kisstianity. You know, it's very religious in tone, even though we never tell anybody 'Don't do this!' or 'Don't do that!' because religion basically is about don'ts. Don't enjoy life, don't covet thy neighbor's wife even though she may covet you, don't do this, don't do that, don't eat fish on Friday, don't snap your fingers in public places.
Don't snap your fingers in public places?
You know it's always about don'ts. I want a religion about do's. Do enjoy your life, do enjoy it to the hilt, do make sure you never hurt anybody and the rest of it doesn't matter.
Okay. So, as far as future KISS recordings?
Well, that's it. The final tour is going to be it and clearly, the touring band is going to be over. We know for a fact that Ace and Peter and the rest of us are not going to want to tour after this.
Post Script: KISS will likely remain alive on the web. In addition to their own site www.kissonline.com, they've aligned themselves with new, hard rock internet radio site KNAC.com. (internet, it's a big word, like gymnasium). Eager to preserve the "lifestyle" that KNAC represents (i.e. rawk) Simmons and Paul Stanley plan to contribute original content to the site, pop up in chat rooms, and participate in promotions. KISS-tians should check it out. And check Spin.com for the initial dates on KISS's Farewell Tour.