Silent Rage frontman Jesse Damon indicates what he thinks led to the end of Simmons Records
Silent Rage lead vocalist / guitarist Jesse Damon was recently interviewed by Metal Mike for the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast. Damon spoke about Silent Rage‘s association with KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his record label Simmons Records more than 30 years ago.
On working with Simmons, Damon indicated (as transcribed by the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast with slight edits): “We didn’t know what to expect. We were all KISS fans of course. It was a little intimidating at the time going to his house for that first meeting. After sitting with him for awhile, we realized he was a really good guy. He had a way of telling stories and telling jokes, he would just make you feel good. Gene always shot from the hip about what he liked. Working with him was the biggest kick in our butts in our life. We had brought Paul Sabu in to produce. There was a disagreement between Paul Sabu and Gene at a certain point. Gene had some strong ideas for a direction and Paul didn’t agree. So Gene stepped in and got involved with three or four songs at the end, but the main bulk of those songs came from working with Paul Sabu.”
With respect to the lack of additional singles for Silent Rage and the end of Simmons Records, Damon opined: “There was talk of doing more singles, but RCA had a shake up and lost some people within the label while our album was out. When they had that happen, they started looking at sales numbers, and they just thought they weren’t going to hang onto the deal with Simmons Records. We didn’t hit a home run and get a chance to do that second single. If we had come out a little earlier, I think we would have had a better chance. Gene did start looking for some new distribution, but at this point we were all getting the news of grunge coming in. Things just weren’t in our favor.
Gene still had a plan was for us, and that was to do a new album. So ultimately we went back into the studio in 1990 with Bob Ezrin producing. While this is happening, there started to be a struggle and a push from Paul Stanley for Gene to get more involved with KISS. It started to become more difficult for Gene to focus on both careers. Eventually, things just died. With the changes in the industry, we just missed our window of time and ended up sitting on those recordings we did with Bob for quite a long time. I have no doubt that we made the right decision on signing with Gene, but it was just bad timing with the industry changing.”
Silent Rage‘s “Biography” on their Facebook page states in part (with slight edits):
“Silent Rage formed in 1985 with founding members EJ Curse, Jesse Damon and Mark Hawkins. The band is known for their signature songwriting style of blending melody with hard-driving rock. Silent Rage remains unique from other 80’s bands by having Jesse Damon share the lead vocal duties with Hawkins and Curse.
In 1987, they teamed up with producer / artist Paul Sabu for their first critically acclaimed CD, “Shattered Hearts”. Silent Rage appeared on three different albums simultaneously that year including the motion picture soundtrack for “Million Dollar Mystery” and the KNAC compilation CD “Ten Best From The West”. “Shattered Hearts” went on to be #1 on the European Import Charts. In 1988, Gene Simmons signed them to Simmons Records / RCA and drummer Brian James Fox (White Tiger) joined the band. For Silent Rage‘s second release, Paul Sabu and Gene Simmons were chosen to lend their production skills.
In 1989, they released “Don’t Touch Me There” to rave reviews. That too, reached #1 on European Import Charts. The song “Rebel With A Cause” was released as a single and video, and debuted on MTV‘s “Headbanger’s Ball“. Next, the band toured with Black Sabbath for the “Headless Cross” tour. In the early 90’s, Silent Rage continued touring and writing. They also wrote and performed with other projects, EJ with Doro Pesch and Jesse with KISS. Unfortunately, the grunge scene eventually forced them into hiatus.”
You can listen to the interview with Jesse Damon by Metal Mike for the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast below:
Silent Rage‘s “Rebel With A Cause” video: