GENE SIMMONS Explains KISS' Longevity

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently told The Toronto Sun that the secret to the band's longevity lies in defining themselves as a flashy band that plays non-flashy music, rather than the other way around.

"When you think about it, we make no sense, because we're completely against fashion," he said. "Look at us — we wear higher heels and more makeup than your mommy does, but we play meat and potatoes rock 'n' roll. We're oblivious to the fact that the rest of the world is going through punk or new wave or old wave — we don't care. A long time ago we decided not to try to be everything to everybody. What we are is what we are.

"We never decided to show anybody how fast our fingers could move — we decided to communicate with people. Now our songs don't mean a hell of a lot, really — all you can say about KISS songs is that they're generally uplifting. This is not a doomsayer band. We are glad to be here, and every day above ground is a good day. But we'd like it if we could have access to your sister and your mommy too. Think of me as a goodwill ambassador!"

Simmons also addressed the absence of guitarist Ace Frehley, who has been replaced by KISS roadie Tommy Thayer while he deals with some "health issues."

"Ace, God bless him, has decided to pursue a solo career, and we wish him the best," said Gene. "KISS has always got along great as long as you keep drugs and alcohol out of the band. It's the bane of all bands. Rock 'n' roll musicians are not the brightest animals on the planet — if it weren't for the guitar on their shoulder, they'd be asking you if you want fries with that. So they succumb to the stupidest things.

"How do you get bored when you're making tons of money and getting lots of chicks? It's lonely at the top? That's a lie. The view is wonderful up here.

"We're having the time of our lives. I'm proud to say that KISS is now the number one North American gold record group champion of all time. It's unbelievable — we've climbed every mountain and forded every stream, and the hunger inside us is bigger all the time.

"Here's the question: Once you have all the girls and all the money you want, will you still get up at the crack of dawn and get in the ring? If you do, you're a champion. If you don't, you're just about the fame and the glory. And they're lots of fun, but there's got to be something more. There's that magical two hours when you're on stage, and the band and the fans are together, and you can't get that feeling anywhere else. It's better than being pope. That's why movie stars want to be rock stars."

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