Gene Simmons Says “Ace Is A Sweetheart And Has A Heart Of Gold”


July 9, 2009

Gene Simmons and KISS invade Canada

Richard Burnett of reports that KISS fans around the world should have known God was on Oshawa’s side when in May that Ontario town’s Simcoe Street United Church showed its support for a KISS concert at their city’s 6,400-seat arena with a sign on its lawn in big block letters that read, “CHURCH MEMBERS HAVE VOTED. BRING KISS TO OSHAWA.”

Oshawa was one of dozens of cities in the running for a KISS concert, and when voting closed on June 30, the Ontario town hard-hit by the collapse of the auto industry won with 14,573 votes, with Winnipeg next at 12,929. In fact, the entire top 10 was made up of Canadian cities, and when I suggest to KISS co-founder Gene Simmons that we should spell Canada with a K, he replies, “I like the idea!”

Then Simmons muses aloud, “Maybe I should move to Canada. There’s something to say about all the beautiful women in Canada. My wife Shannon [Tweed] is from Canada. When we’re in Ottawa on July 15, it’s going to be Shannon Tweed Day in Ottawa!”

And on July 12 in Toronto, Simmons has been named grand marshal of the Honda Indy car race. In fact, on this last leg of their year-old Alive 35 World Tour, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, along with hired guns Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer (replacing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in their original makeup) are bringing the KISS carnival to eight Canadian cities in 11 days.

And Simmons saws Oshawa will get its own concert when KISS begins a new world tour in September (with 50 one-nighters in America alone) to promote their upcoming album out this October, theirĀ first of new material in 10 years and which Paul Stanley is producing.

“There hasn’t been an important rock band to emerge in the last 25 years that will still mean something in 100 years,” Simmons says. “But from the end of the 1950s to 1980, there was Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zep, ABBA – say what you will but they wrote great songs – KISS, there’s a hundred bands from that period. All the music from Elvis to KISS was born before MTV, cellphones and the Internet. KISS still trains hard and every emo band at 19 can shine our boot heels! They’re gonna get a lesson [from us]: You blow the goddamn place up!”

What about unrepentant rock critics?

“You know, I discovered a band [over 30 years ago] called Van Halen, I signed them [to my record label] and produced their demo. Critics hated them. When singer David Lee Roth was asked why the critics hated Van Halen and loved Elvis Costello, Roth said, ‘Because they look like Costello.’ It’s still true.”

Still, this week all anyone can talk about is Michael Jackson. Simmons has refused all media requests to discuss Jackson on the record. Until now.

“I knew Michael and met him. He was shy and charming and self-effacing and obviously very talented. [For me the real story is] sadly about the little boys – not a single girl – all of them little boys under 13 [who] sued him for child molestation. He was never convicted but we know he paid $20-million to settle a case. I think [Jackson] doth protest too much. The story is not complete. I want to hear what those little boys have to say.”

KISS has always been about the kids, from the millions who joined the KISS Army at the band’s height in the late 1970s to fourth-generation fans filling arenas today. When Ace Frehley once trashed the band’s fans because they were mostly kids, he was taken to task by both Simmons and Stanley, who know a good brand when they see one.

“Ace is a sweetheart and has a heart of gold,” Simmons says. “But he was a major drug addict and alcoholic which is why he and Peter [Criss] were thrown out of the band. You know, rock stars are morons. What Ace said about the kids was stupid and uncaring.”

Speaking of children, what does Simmons think about Chastity Bono, the daughter of his ex-girlfriend Cher, transitioning from female to male?

“I love Chas,” Simmons says. “I was living with Cher when Chas and [her brother] Elijah were kids and I was a substitute dad for a while. Life is short and we should all make up and be happy. And everybody else be damned if Chas isn’t happy today, God bless. If Chas is happy, then she will have found the secret of life.”

Courtesy of and