Gene Simmons To Danger Danger’s Ted Poley, “You Owe Me $18”


September 10, 2008

Danger Danger frontman Ted Poley recently spoke with SplitScreen Entertainment about his first encounters with Kiss legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Whereas his meeting with Gene ended up costing him a few bucks, his encounter with Paul provided the inspiration for the new song “Ted Poley,” as featured on the newly released tribute album “KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent.” A parody of “Unholy” by Vincent and Simmons, the song has been reworked by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana as a good-natured roast of the veteran rock singer. The following is an excerpt from Ted’s personal account of the original inspiration for the track.


At age 14, Kiss changed my life.

They weren’t just a rock band. They were larger-than-life gods.

When the original Kiss mania was happening, I was a kid growing up in the 1970s. I remember I would always draw pictures of the band members, their stage, their equipment and of course, the pyro. Even though no one would ever see Kiss without their makeup, I would dream about meeting them and getting to talk to them. Drawing and daydreaming about Kiss got me through many a boring math class and I’m sure there’s still at least one Kiss logo intricately carved into an old wooden desktop at good ol’ Ramsey High in NJ. Anyway, by now you probably get the idea that Kiss was a very important part of my life while growing up. So naturally, after many years of hard work, practice and a little bit of luck, it was a dream come true to make it into the big leagues and receive the supreme reward of opening for Kiss!

In 1992, Danger Danger was very hot on the MTV video countdown, a fact that helped land us the opening slot on the UK leg of Kiss’ Revenge Tour. The very first night, we’d put on a kick-ass, over-the-top show, during which I’d even tossed 3 towels out into the crowd! Immediately after our performance, I ran offstage in my arena-playing, hyper-psyched state of mind, not quite looking where I was going. Let’s face it, it didn’t really matter because I had just opened for Kiss!

The next thing I knew, my head was bumping into something hard yet slightly fuzzy. I looked up to find Gene Simmons grinning back at me from above! As it turns out, I had just smashed face-first into his lower chest area, which tells you just how tall the guy is (or how short I am, if you prefer).

Upon looking down, Gene’s first words to me were, “That was a really great show. You owe me $18.”

Gene is a nice guy but he can be very intimidating and he loves to scare people. I wasn’t quite sure what to say to him in response, so I said nothing at all. Gene must have noticed the puzzled look on my face because he repeated himself.

“You owe me $18.”

He then continued, “You tossed out 3 towels. Those towels cost $6 each. Those were my towels and I want you to pay for them. Personally. Not your tour manager. You.”

I was in shock.

I felt ashamed.

One of my gods was punishing me!

Gene waited in that very spot until I went into my wallet, pulled out my last $20 (my only $20) and paid him for the towels. While pocketing my per diem food money, he smiled at me and said, “Feel free to keep tossing out as many towels as you can afford to pay for yourself.”

I immediately got the point: I was the new kid in town and I shouldn’t be trying to steal the show. A valuable lesson learned for the low cost of only $18.

Though I had already been nervous about meeting the members of Kiss before my encounter with Gene, by now I was absolutely terrified! I was so scared that not only couldn’t I bring myself to speak to them, I couldn’t even look them in the eyes when they came near me. Whenever someone from Kiss was around, I would simply put my head down and keep on walking.

One night after our set I was backstage walking down the corridor toward our dressing room, when suddenly Paul Stanley entered from the other end! When I saw him approaching, I really wanted to say hello and introduce myself… but I got starstruck and lost my nerve! So I ended up just looking down at my shoes and walking past without saying anything. But when I got to the other end of the hallway, I heard Paul belting out my name at the top of his lungs… to the tune of their new single “Unholy!” The words and melody just fit perfectly. “Ted Poh-laaaaayyyyy!” I don’t care if this sounds lame, but that was one of the greatest moments of my life!

So even though I never made millions of dollars in the music business (well, not that I got to keep for myself, anyway), I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything in the world. I suppose once all is said and done, the costs involved break down as follows:

Three Gene Simmons towels: $18.
Suing Sony several years later: a few million bucks.
Paul Stanley singing my name at the top of his lungs: PRICELESS.

Over the years, I’ve encountered Paul a few times at various Kiss concerts and even though he hasn’t sung my name since then, I still get a thrill every time he greets me with a warm, “Hi, Ted.” So to make a short story just a little bit longer, the new parody of “Unholy” began when Paul Stanley sang my name in a backstage hallway, although it took my buddy C.C. Banana to write the lyrics and make it all happen.

I hope everyone enjoys the “fruits” of his labor.

-Ted Poley

A more detailed version of Ted Poley’s encounter with Paul Stanley is available here:

A video clip of C.C. Banana announcing his participation in “KISS MY ANKH” during an episode of “Talking Metal on Fuse” is available here:

C.C. Banana’s parody of “Unholy” appears on the newly released tribute album “KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent.” Despite its humorous overtones, the track is an appropriately heavy recreation of the Kiss original, featuring a guitar solo by Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), guitars and bass by Paul LaPlaca (Zandelle, Z02, Chris Caffery solo band), drums by Dennis Leeflang (Sun Caged, Epica, Bumblefoot solo band) and background vocals by Kelli McCloud (Queen of the Reich) and Vic Rivera (AdrianGale, Crunch, Poley/Rivera). A sample of the song is available at the official “KISS MY ANKH” MySpace page, along with samples of all other songs on the tribute.

Though Vinnie Vincent himself has not released any new material in over a decade, “KISS MY ANKH” pays tribute to the undeniable musical legacy of the former Kiss guitarist. Vinnie’s compositions are widely regarded as a highlight of the Kiss catalog and remain a staple of the live Kiss set list. All songs on the tribute were written or co-written by Vinnie Vincent and originally appeared on albums by Kiss and the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. The artist roster features a mixture of veteran and rising talent, including members of White Lion, Savatage, Alice Cooper, Trixter, Nitro and others. All in all, “KISS MY ANKH” boasts a powerful lineup of inspired musicians and unforgettable music, assembled in honor of Vinnie Vincent. Further details can be found at the SplitScreen Entertainment website.

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