News Segment


February 23, 2004

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Kiss bassist/singer Gene Simmons will inaugurate his own label April 20 with the release of his second solo album, “***hole.”

The set is a follow-up to Simmons’ 1978 self-titled solo debut, released in conjunction with albums by each of the original members of Kiss — guitarist Ace Frehley, singer/guitarist Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss. Issued on the Casablanca label, “Gene Simmons” peaked at No. 22 on The Billboard 200 albums chart.

“Doing a solo record is important because I write so many different kinds of songs,” Simmons said. “I literally have hundreds of songs that are demoed up that aren’t right for Kiss, and some songs that weren’t used on Kiss records I still like. In assembling the album, I went and reviewed over a hundred songs that I had lying around, and then it was by process of elimination I determined what would go on the record. But at the end of the day, above and beyond style, I had to like the songs.”

The self-produced Simmons Records/Sanctuary Music Group set’s title track will be delivered a week earlier to U.S. rock radio outlets for airplay consideration.

Like his last solo album, “***hole” is said to be a versatile affair, featuring everything from hard rock and blues to power ballads.

“I’m a child of the Beatles,” Simmons explained. “They created this sort of hybrid white version of American music. They could do it all — Little Richard, country, pop, soul, psychedelia. They had no rules. That had a major effect on me and that influence comes through on the record.”

Simmons co-wrote the track “Waiting for the Morning Light” with Bob Dylan, while Frank Zappa is listed as co-writer of “Black Tongue.” The recording of the latter includes the late artist’s vocals and guitar, as well as contributions from Zappa’s wife Gail, and his children Dweezil, Ahmet and Moon.

Other guests on “***hole” include Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, one-time Kiss members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, and Simmons Records artist Bag, as well as Simmons’ longtime girlfriend Shannon Tweed, and the couple’s children Sophie and Nicholas.

Kiss spent much of 2003 on the road on a co-headlining tour with Aerosmith, pulling in just under $50 million in 43 shows reported to Billboard. Stanley is also planning his second solo release.

A week after Simmons’ solo album is released, Koch will release an 11-track Kiss tribute album, “Spin the Bottle.”

Courtesy of Billboard