KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons has announced the details of his upcoming five-date lecture tour of Australia, which is scheduled to take place in late October/early November. According to Simmons, "the tour is called Speaking in Tongues and is being put together by Madison, an Australian company that last year hosted President Bill Clinton for his Melbourne speaking engagement. My speaking engagements will include footage on giant video screens and questions from the audience. There will also be some special girls there."
The confirmed dates are as follows:
Oct. 31 – Perth, AUS @ Burswood Theatre
Nov. 02 – Brisbane, AUS @ Convention Centre
Nov. 03 – Adelaide, AUS @ Convention Centre
Nov. 05 – Sydney, AUS @ Convention Centre
Nov. 06 – Melbourne, AUS @ Palais Theatre
In other news, Gene gave an interview to Australia's Inner Sanctum ("the online home of the Australian KISS Army") on July 31st in which he provided more information on the upcoming speaking engagement, commented further on the upcoming release of The Very Best Of Kiss "greatest hits"-style CD and confirmed the possibility of KISS continuing to tour without original members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Here are a few select comments from Gene as they appear in said interview:
On the upcoming lecture tour:
Gene Simmons: "Well some of it is going to be semi-autobiographical... You know, I was born in another country, what I did, how the band got together and some of the stuff people are expecting, but along the way, it's going to be a hybrid motivational speech, because, being an only child, poor and from another country, gave me the opportunity to be alone by myself a lot and I thought about stuff. There are astonishing facts that rise to the surface… How's this one: We are all given about 75 years of life, disease-free, and if you have, you have overcome a big hurdle, so half of that is spent unconscious (you may as well be dead)—you're sleeping—so now you got 35 years or so, perhaps 37 years or so, to be alive, two full weeks or so of your life is going to be spent waiting for the light to turn green, OK… You're going to be waiting for three weeks to two months, you're going to be waiting for the elevator to come down and riding in it, depending whether or not you're an office worker or not, You know, on and on and on… How many hours a day do you spend in your car just waiting to go to one place or another that prevents you from doing what you really want to do? But most of our lives is spent trapped in sleep, waiting for elevators, waiting for green lights, and on and on and on. So that leaves very little time to do whatever the fuck you want to do, and my philosophy is, you want to do it. …So part of the speech is going to be, you know those life lessons."
On KISS' involvement in the upcoming THE RAMONES tribute CD:
Gene Simmons: "I'd have to say [that I was] not really [a fan of THE RAMONES' music]. I would have to say the guys were always terrific… Ummmm… As you know, they formed a few years after KISS came along, and one of the reasons they picked up a guitar is that they wanted to be like KISS. Having said that, they heard a sound in their head about doing it their own way, so I always found it a very sad kinda band—you know a band that worked hard loved what it did, but never made it. They've only got one gold record to their name, and there's sort of a rock and roll tragedy about them. The whole thing [about us contributing to the tribute CD is], we always liked the guys, and we always loved 'Rock And Roll Radio', that particular song, so we figured, why not?! I mean, on Kiss My Ass, our KISS tribute album, we had GARTH BROOKS, STEVIE WONDER and LENNY KRAVITZ, and a lot of other cool people. Why not? It is good to receive, as it is to give. Yeah, but do I think it was, as you know… Did it scale the heights? No. Unfortunately, it never made it. SEX PISTOLS never made it, THE CLASH never made it, THE RAMONES never made it, IGGY POP never made it. Not because you and I don't think they're cool, but the masses didn't want to but tickets to see them live, and the masses didn't want to buy their records, period."
On the upcoming "greatest hits"-style CD The Very Best of KISS:
Gene Simmons: We have nothing to do with it and it's Universal's right and they can do with it as they please."
On whether Universal will issue more releases like The Very Best of KISS in the future:
Gene Simmons: "I'm sure they will and I'm happy for it, because the world is not populated strictly by KISS fans—there are people on the fringes who maybe only bought 'I Was Made For Loving You' and maybe want a 'greatest hits' album…. so nobody has all the songs, and this idea that one fan steps up and says, 'Hey, you can't put this out—I have every KISS album.' [To that person, I say] What makes you think this is all about you?"
On some KISS fans' negative reactions to the possibility of KISS continuing to tour with original drummer Peter Criss and Ace Frehley's stage personas being assumed by Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, respectively:
Gene Simmons: "How about this idea: Your mom and dad love you. Do you know what they do when you go to sleep? They fuck each other… They get in bed, [your father] puts one part of him into her, your mother. That's a tough one to swallow. Oh, well, welcome to life. And that doesn't mean that their dreams aren't… Oh, well, we all grew up believing in Santa Claus, and [found out] it's your dad with a pillow and he brings you presents. So you're allowed to be completely disillusioned and depressed, or just understand that magic is what you make of it…. And at the end of the day, life, as we know it, is not dependent… My responsibility is to the 99% of fans who are out there who come to the shows, not to the 1% who gripe…. Because, in the end, numbers determine everything. If people don't want us here with another line-up, they're not going to come, and if they think it's OK, they come… By the way what makes you think I have any control over anybody else's life? You don't think I want Ace and Peter, the entire band at the same time on the stage? What do you think—Ace and Peter are like Pinocchio, where I can just pull the string, and they will be professional and step up and do the job? Do you think that's my responsibility? … Maybe [they] should take a look at themselves in mirror."