|Online Host: Please welcome Gene Simmons, lead singer of the band KISS. He'll be talking about his new film, "Detroit Rock City." Simmons produced this rock and roll fable about a group of teenage boys who go on a quest to see their favorite band, KISS. Welcome, Gene Simmons!|
Question: Gene, who was your role model when you were a kid? You are my role model.
Gene Simmons: I could give the funny answer, but a better one would be the honest answer. The answer is my mother, a human being who personifies the best in ethics, morality and perseverance. They're all big words, and all of them mean she kicks ass.
Question: Did you enjoy producing DRC? Was it more enjoyable to be in the control seat than as an actor?
Gene Simmons: They're two totally different animals. Being one myself, one must learn to gauge the give and take of attack and bluff. Producing is mostly a dynamic involving people skills and involves usually selling ice cubes to Eskimos. In other words, you have to convince everybody that what you're about to tell them is exactly what they need.
Question: Is it true Jesus grew his hair long after seeing KISS in concert?
Gene Simmons: Yes, like all good Jewish boys, he did, in fact.
Question: Gene, do you think a new rock band today that has an '80s hard rock sound would work in today's market?
Gene Simmons: No.
Question: What is the latest word on the possibility of an animated KISS project, and where might we see it occur?
Gene Simmons: I'm finalizing the last stages of a deal to bring "KISS Psycho Circus," a Saturday morning cartoon show, alive on Fox even as we speak.
Question: I was wondering when a new album was coming out and if there will be a tour?
Gene Simmons: There will absolutely be a tour in the year 2000. Before then, on the 23rd of August, KISS will debut The Demon, a wrestler wearing Gene Simmons makeup, on "Monday Night Nitro" on all Turner stations nationwide. The event will happen in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on August 23rd. KISS will perform "God of Thunder" and The Demon will be born.
Question: Who did you inherit the tongue from?
Gene Simmons: When I was born, the doctor pulled me out by the wrong appendage.
Question: Will the new KISS song "Nothing Can Keep Me From You" be released as a single?
Gene Simmons: The single is now making the rounds of radio stations. That's the first step. If radio responds, then it will, indeed, be released as a single.
Question: Anything special planned for New Year's Eve this year?
Gene Simmons: Yes, but I can't talk about it right now. Between "Detroit Rock City," the WCW wrestler, the KISS star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the KISS cartoon show, "Rock and Roll All Night," a CBS Movie of the Week, plus the upcoming tour, there's certainly enough to talk about... before I talk about anything else.
Question: What was it like playing a role in which you were allowed almost back in time to the '70s?
Gene Simmons: It didn't suck.
Question: What is your favorite song to perform, and has the band always gotten along well all these years?
Gene Simmons: Favorite song to perform is "Deuce." Anybody, team, family or any other kind of group that says they always get along are liars of the highest degree. In fact, all groups of peoples disagree [at] times. KISS is probably no different than your family. You argue like cats and dogs, but blood is thicker than water. KISS is family. I can be angry with my brother, but if you say anything about him, I'll kill you.
Question: What made the band decide to go back to the makeup?
Gene Simmons: KISS is the only band that has this multiple personality thing. We are both Clark Kent and Superman rolled into one. KISS had a huge career wearing makeup, and we had a huge career without makeup. Having said all of the above, Superman is still cooler than Clark Kent.
Question: Are you alone, or is the band sitting there with you?
Gene Simmons: I'm not alone, but the band is not here.
Question: Who do you think is a hot band out right now?
Gene Simmons: There's a lot of very interesting music, but very few artists have a brain to go along with it. I think Manson is clever. He has a point of view which doesn't depend on anybody else, and I find that refreshing. Most other bands are either copying black rappers or prescribe to the "rock goes camping" philosophy, which means they look more at home climbing a mountain than being in a band. I like bands that piss on the ground and claim their turf.
EAMusic1: What's Ace's deal?
Gene Simmons: Ace is the single most unique human being I've ever met. He's like a brother to me. And at the same time, I've been angry at him like almost no one I've ever known. Ace and I flew into New York yesterday to do radio promotions. And, in case all of you are buzzing/gossiping, the God's honest truth is, Ace is well, happy, and, honestly, can't wait to get out there and back up on stage with KISS.
Question: Are all of you in the movie, and do you perform?
Gene Simmons: "Detroit Rock City," while it is about KISS, is nevertheless a movie more about four KISS fans. In some ways it's very Biblical. Imagine "The Ten Commandments." It's a story of a pilgrimage, it's a story of people believing in a philosophy, God, in this case. "Detroit Rock City" might be called KISStianity... a religion, if you will... a point of view, perhaps. It's really the story of four believers in the faith and their journey on the yellow brick road to Detroit Rock City. Oh, by the way, in this Biblical epic, KISS is God.
Question: When does the movie come out?
Gene Simmons: Friday the 13th nationwide. Please go -- my mother wants another house.
Question: I really enjoyed the "Second Coming" video. Anything else like that planned?
Gene Simmons: Yes. But if I start to tell you all the new stuff, it will make your head spin like the little girl in "The Exorcist."
Question: Do people recognize you without your makeup on?
Gene Simmons: Yes. I don't look Swedish.
EAMusic1: For all those wanting to know when KISS is going to be in your hometown, the tour will start in the year 2000.
Question: Do you plan on doing any more acting?
Gene Simmons: I'm acting right now. I will be acting in a film in September called "Wish You Were Dead." It will be directed by Valerie McCaffrey. And a second one in October called "Night Club" with, I'm told, Alec Baldwin and a number of other cameos.
Question: How many times have you set your hair on fire onstage while spitting fire?
Gene Simmons: Probably six or seven, over the course of 28 years.
Question: Do you think your music or films have had a good or bad impact on the young people of today?
Gene Simmons: It's not for me to say. I just work here.
Question: How big a part do you and the other members of KISS play in the new movie?
Gene Simmons: We play a pivotal role. No more or less important than the part the Wizard plays in "The Wizard Of Oz."
Question: When will the CBS movie be on?
Gene Simmons: It's being written now by Jeff Arch, who wrote "Sleepless in Seattle," based on a story of mine. It will be out in the winter on CBS.
Question: Is KISS going to be doing another Halloween concert this year?
Gene Simmons: Yes. Details are being worked out now. And, like all things KISS, we will make a complete spectacle of ourselves.
Question: How do you feel about your groupies?
Gene Simmons: I love groupies. The world is a better place with them. In fact, my second movie at New Line Cinema is actually called "Groupies," based on a story I wrote, script by Allison Anders and Kurt Voss.
Question: What would you say the greatest memory of being in KISS has been for you?
Gene Simmons: While it's true being onstage is a kick, there's nothing like doing the encores back at the hotel.
Question: How do you feel that after all these years KISS is still so popular? What do you attribute that to?
Gene Simmons: We live and die by the will of our fans. We work for you. You are our bosses.
Question: What other names did you think of besides KISS and how did you rule them out?
Gene Simmons: There were very few names seriously considered. KISS popped out of Paul Stanley's mouth in a car with Paul, Peter and myself in it. When we all heard it, we instinctively knew.
EAMusic1: Where are you now, Gene? Everyone wants to know.
Gene Simmons: I'm in New York City.
Question: Is your wife there?
Gene Simmons: I don't know how many times I have to spell it out for everybody, so here we go again. Now, listen carefully, all of you. Number one: I am not now married... I have never been married... I don't ever want to be married. Number two: Shannon Tweed and I have two kids. I am crazy about her. Number three: now all of you get this part and write it in your little KISS books... we are NOT married. The only thing wrong with marriage is that, usually, one of the two is a man.
Question: Will we see new costumes on the next tour?
Gene Simmons: Wait and see.
EAMusic1: Thank you, Gene!
Gene Simmons: Thank you.