GENE SIMMONS: 'Nothing Is More Important Than Touring With KISS'

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently took out to answer a couple of fans' questions via the band's official web site, KissOnline.com. Read on:

Q: With all the classic KISS costumes through the years, what's your favorite era of Gene Simmons?

Gene Simmons: "I never considered anything we wore 'costumes'... I wore outfits. An outfit is something you wear. A costume is something you put on to pretend and we never pretended. My favorite outfit was probably the 'Destroyer' armor outfit. Variations of the armor went as far back as the photo session for 'Hotter Than Hell', photographed by Norman Seefe in Los Angeles in late 1974. At that session, someone gave me a Roman chest plate. I loved it immediately and saw it as a logical extension of my wearing, what I perceived as 'war paint' and going off to war. The armor felt right. It wasn't until we worked on 'Destroyer', that it felt right, conceptually. We actually started wearing early versions of the outfits while we toured Europe in support of 'Alive I' in early 1976, but didn't start wearing the full outfits until we went out with 'Destroyer'. Versions and variations of the armor were to appear and re-appear. During the 'Creatures of the Night' period, I redesigned the armor and added pieces. And of course, when we went back with Ace and Peter for the reunion of the original members during the late '90s, I resurrected it."

Q: Recently in the press you said that KISS might not tour for two years. Is that something that's set in stone? I sure hope not.

Gene Simmons: "Touring is never as easy as fans believe it is. Right place and right time isn't just a phrase, it's real. We've also come to a place, where each of us (myself included), wants to spread our wings and try different things. When will KISS tour? No one knows exactly. But as far as I'm concerned, nothing is more important than touring with KISS. Nothing gives me that kick."

Q: When you're writing KISS songs, what comes first; a title, a melody or a chorus?

Gene Simmons: "Writing songs just doesn't come in a 'paint by numbers' kit. Sometimes someone says something or I hear a phrase or the sense of it, like LITTLE RICHARD said during a lyric, 'You've got nothing to lose.' It struck me as the backbone of a song I could write. Or when I heard the STONES' 'Brown Sugar', I immediately told Paul [Stanley] I would write my own version of a streetwalker and call it 'Black Diamond'. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for the band, Paul beat me to it and wrote his own 'Black Diamond'. 'Deuce' began as a bass riff. 'Christine Sixteen' began as a guitar riff. 'Calling Dr. Love' began as a phrase the 3 Stooges used. 'Calling Dr. Howard, Calling Dr. Fine...'"

Q: The legacy of KISS has influenced many for over three decades. In your opinion what will KISS mean 100 years from now?

Gene Simmons: "What KISS will mean 100 years from now may not be all that important. Maybe the most important thing, is that KISS has been a part of people's lives, mine too. Children have been named Beth and Christine. Fans have tattooed their bodies with our faces. Hopefully, the world is a slightly better place because of KISS."

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