Gene Simmons Confirms That Kiss Is Writing New Material


November 27, 2008

Fire-breathing rocker in makeup, high heels and black leather one day, Canadian music scout the next.

Such is the life of KISS bassist-singer-songwriter Gene Simmons, who is in Canada this week checking out new groups to sign to his relaunched Simmons Records label, in a deal with both Universal Music Canada and Belinda Stronach, the former MP turned businesswoman again.

“I want to find the next great three Canadian acts from different genres (each year),” Simmons, 59, said in a chic Toronto hotel bar. “And don’t let them go to America. Provide the care and support that they need here, make them monsters here, and then take them to the rest of the world.”

One possible signing is Toronto prog-hip-hop act Down With Webster.

“But if they do it the way they want to do it, they will fail,” said Simmons, who was attending three nights of music showcases. “You gotta do it my way. It’s a benevolent dictatorship.”

Simmons Records was originally launched in the late ’80s with BMG, and “we had a few hair bands,” said Simmons, “and then music changed.”

The label was relaunched to put out Simmons’ 2004 solo record, A–hole. The new deal partners him with Universal and Stronach, whose family Simmons has known through business.

“I’ll be in the studio with the bands,” he said. “I’ll be there to beat them up regarding their image, their names. If one of them is a drug addict he’s going to be gone. And I’ve had experience with that. There’s no room for idiots in bands. Because aside from the luck of the draw, it really is hard work. You have to get up every day, and ‘cool’ is a moving target, so it’s a very hard target to hit.”

Simmons is also proposing a reality-TV show for a Canadian network, to document the selected bands’ journey to the studio.

“We’re going to film the development of these bands, so when the record hits the TV show will hit at the same time.”

Speaking of TV, Simmons said he sees no end in sight for his reality show on A&E — Gene Simmons Family Jewels, which will begin its fourth season in March despite the fact that his partner of 18 years, Canadian Shannon Tweed, is tired of the cameras. Also featured on the hit reality show are the couple’s two children, 19-year-old Nick and 16-year-old Sophie.

“Since the kids don’t really have to set up lemonade stands and work for a living, they can work on the show ’til I say,” Simmons said. “They don’t understand that it’s actually going to help them in life later on to have done this, but that’s my responsibility. Shannon hates to do this. Oh, she can’t stand it. ‘That’s okay, you’ll do it anyway.’ Who says you have to like everything you do?”

As for his day job with KISS, Simmons confirms the veteran glam-rockers are writing songs for a new album that he expects they will record next year and release next summer. KISS singer-guitarist Paul Stanley will produce the disc. The band will follow the album’s release with a limited tour.

“We’ll do a handful of shows just to keep in the game (next) summer, maybe 10 (dates), some Canadian shows. I know Halifax is one, but before you get out there and start the baseball season, they hold exhibition games, that’s what we’re doing. ‘Cause once we go out, it’s going to be for a year and a half.”

As for rumblings of a co-headlining tour with Queen, Simmons said, “Oh, I’ve heard that, but we don’t know until it’s real. I would be happy to step up on that stage. I’d (also) love to step up on a stage with the Stones.”

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