Yep. I said it. And, if you asked Gene Simmons about it, dollars to donuts he’d say: “What do you expect from an idiot asshole rock critic?”

My answer? “Exactly.”

I was never a KISS kid. Not once. I was an AC/DC kid. Truth be told, I’m not sure that I’ve ever listened to one KISS song all the way through.

But, I got a call from the worst spelling editor in the western hemisphere (Hey, Bill Evans!) asking me to write a story about the magic merchandising of the band. I was meh about the assignment, but I needed the dough. Mr. Simmons could certainly appreciate that, I’m sure.

I don’t even remember how the interview got set up, but I do remember that there was no day or time agreed to beforehand. I know this because I remember very clearly answering the phone in my office one day and the voice on the other end said: “Where the fuck have you been? I hear you’re looking for me.”

Why, hello, Mr. Simmons.

Here is the rough transcript from that call. I’m not gonna edit it. I’m not saying this was the best interview I ever did and the more I look back on my career the more I realize what boring safe questions I asked. Note to new journalists: Ask aggressive questions without being an ass. Follow up with ‘Why?’ Ask for clarification. Ask again, because the first answer is always the ‘coached’ answer.

DUMMY: What has led to the band’s long term success?

GENE: Probably a complete disregard for critics which are an unnecessary life form on the face of the planet as we know it. Almost every other job, including a garbage collector, has to have credentials—which is to say you have to go to school, you have to learn how to do it. For God’s sake even to work at a McDonalds flipin’ burgers you’ve got to go to hamburger school. There is no school for being a critic. So, it’s okay to have air come out of your mouth as long as you remember that air can come out of your ass, too. So, if every critic remembers that every critic’s corner is simply one man or one woman’s opinion that’s fair enough. The problem with critics is that they actually believe that their opinion is worth more than one opinion. They can state fact and blur it with opinion. In other words, ‘This concert stinks.’ Or, ‘This group is the best group there ever was.’ My first question is, ‘Says who? Who the hell are you?’ Granted I wouldn’t have an argument if somebody says, ‘In my opinion this is the best thing that ever…’ That’s fine, that’s valid, no problem. I believe critics should be more journalists. I’m less interested in what they think. They’re nobody and at the end of the day all of the things that I’ve loved, from Star Wars to hamburgers, are I’m told from food critics and taste critics and so on, they are not the real thing. Okay, this is America—of the people, for the people, by the people. We’ve outlived all the guys who have poo-pooed us. They are working in back of turnstiles right now saying, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ And we win. In fact, in the inside of our farewell tour book we reprinted a review of our first tour. From a Seattle newspaper, the critic said, ‘I hope these guys are saving their money because they are not going to last a week.’ From Seattle, the city that gave us woodchoppers on stage. The death knell of rock and roll. Seattle killed rock and roll. It made all the white boys of middle America turn to rap, because at least there everybody looks like somebody other than Paul Bunyon’s offspring. So, at the end of the day Kiss has always been vehemently, fiercely dedicated to its own voice, to its own inner voice. I mean, look at us. We dress silly today, we were clearly out of fashion yesterday and I promise you we will be very clearly out of fashion tomorrow. Kiss is not about fashion, Kiss is about passion. Fashion is a lot of people looking over their shoulders to see if it’s okay to do what they want to do; passion simply says I’m going to do what I want to do because I want to do it. Kiss has always been about the inner voice and I believe we’ve always had an uplifting point of view about life in general and we’ve always sung about the things we believed in, which is chasing pretty skirt and enjoying life, and everyday above ground is a good day. That’s basically been our philosophy and the rest of it doesn’t matter. We’re right behind The Beatles in the number of gold records by any group in history. We have outlived five presidents and are approaching the end of our third decade, over 80 million customer’s served. And they’re wrong. Kiss one, critics zero.

DUMMY: Do you know where that Seattle critic is?


DUMMY: Would you care?

GENE: No, actually, because this is the America system—of the people, for the people, by the people. One opinion is valid as one opinion and I don’t disregard this critic’s opinion. I vehemently object to his comment of ‘they will not last…’ Says who? I would have no objection to him saying, ‘In my opinion.’ That’s fine.

DUMMY: You guys are really known as a live band…has that been from day one?

GENE: We started off as a live band. Records have always been very clinical to us and it’s sort of like talking about sex, the words get in the way. I have to say we’ve never really made the record we should have. We’ve released anywhere from 31 to 38 albums, depending on how you count them. Some of the records I like, some stand the test of time, some don’t. But I would say the first show we played and hopefully the last show we will ever play will stand the test of time, because what’s in it is that kind of passion that comes from the moment. That kind of dynamic that exists only on stage that you can’t create and it’s either there or it’s not. We have a ball every night. I have to say that the band is playing better than ever, we’re getting along better than ever, the family is finally reunited and this is the way to go out. The way to go out is on top. We kept being, through the Gallup poll, through ’77, ’78, ’79 above The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Bee Gees, three years in a row, outsold everybody that was out there and in ’96 when we got back together again, yet again we’re the number one band, number two is our good friend Garth Brooks, who’s main influence, he says, is Kiss and who recorded a track on “Kiss My Ass” called “Hard Luck Woman” that we backed him up… At the end of the day I’m not really about tugging anyone’s shirt sleeves and saying, ‘Hey, we’re important.’ We’ve long ago won our sort of fight, if you will. The fight has always been about completely ignoring critics. I’ll say it again, because if those guys would have known what it really was they would have formed their own bands and done it. I don’t like ‘em, never did, never will, because there’s no journalistic ethic. You can just keep blowing air out of your ass and believe that it’s journalism. It’s not policed, there’s no regulation, it’s the Wild West out there. It’s like the Internet, it’s as completely full of shit as critics are. The lines between fact and fiction are blurred. There is no distinction between gossip and fact. At least CNN and the news purports to be fact.

DUMMY: Do you feel that Kiss would be as popular if you had not donned the make up and the outfits?

GENE: No. Would you pay a girl as much attention if she doesn’t have her lifted and separated boobs pointed in your general direction, with the right make up and the high heels? What’s your answer? The world is a stage and life is what you make it. Likewise, I may not have been interested in The Beatles as much if they didn’t have the same haircuts and maybe if Elvis was bloated when he first started out I might not be that interested in him. It is all about that and anybody who believes life is not about the five senses, which is to say you eyes and ears and so on, is fooling themselves. There’s this kind of delusional idea that a Dave Matthews or a Tom Petty is more valid because they don’t dress up. In my opinion, although they are very valid musical groups, they should not be charging half the ticket price we are. We give twice the bang for the buck. When you go to a rock concert you are bringing your eyes as well. So, if it’s just about the music we could argue whether you like this group or that group, that’s okay. That’s a good argument. But, if you’re bringing your eyes you deserve something more and that’s what Kiss has always been about. We stand guilty as charged of making fools out of ourselves. You’re damn right we do.

DUMMY: But all in good fun.

GENE: Well it doesn’t matter how you take it. You make a joke and somebody takes offense to it and somebody else doesn’t. We never took ourselves seriously and we always believed that what we do, we’re the clowns onstage. We are the court jesters and I’m here to tell you, never believe any of us, the musicians who get up on stage and start commenting on politics. Six months ago this idiot couldn’t even tie his shoelace and now because he’s playing guitar in a platinum band he believes he should be the ambassador to Bosnia-Herzogova. Don’t believe him. He’s the court jester. We’re here to entertain you and that’s it. I’m as interested in what Saddam Hussein has to say about my music as I’m sure he is about my politics.

DUMMY: When did the explosions come about?

GENE: It’s from the very first show.

DUMMY: So, you were trying to make an entertaining show from the get-go?

GENE: Oh, sure. It’s always… when we were a club band we would have buckets full of confetti and on the side of the buckets it would say ‘fire’ and we would toss it in people’s faces just to get a rise out of them. It’s called show, business. We didn’t create it, we’re just here to live up to what it’s called. I believe in truth in advertising and there’s an awful lot of crap that goes along with it. People who actually believe in their own importance and so on. We are eternally grateful for the fans who have made every one of our dreams come true. We’ve always been of the people, for the people, by the people. We’ve always believed in giving back. Somebody once upon a time gave us our first tour and along the way we’ve given a lot of other bands their first tour, AC/DC, Rush, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Motley Cure, Buckcherry. A million bands, the Scorpions, all these bands got their first tours opening for us. We didn’t make them successful. The fact that we’ve outlived them all has nothing to do with it. We didn’t make them successful, the people did. It points to an issue, which is that maybe we like the same things our people do. It’s really funny that I’ve read the early books about The Beatles and certainly Elvis and they were dismissed as being silly. What’s this guy shaking his hips for? He was considered a teenybopper. The Beatles were just about screaming girls and the critics didn’t get it. They didn’t get it then, they don’t get it now, they won’t get it tomorrow. Remember, these guys can’t succeed as human beings. It’s damaged goods. If they knew how to work for an honest living they’d be doing it. Otherwise if you can’t do something go for a job that doesn’t need credentials. I’m telling you, flipping burgers you gotta go to burger school. I will ease up on critics when every critics corner is called ‘One Man’s Opinion.’ If that’s the name of every critical corner, then there’s nothing to say. Then if I like it or not, then who cares.

DUMMY: How did you guys come up with what was entertaining. Was it just a matter of you guys sitting around and saying, ‘This would be funny?’

GENE: Yeah, it was pretty much that. The basic idea behind Kiss has always been that we’re fans. What we do is we try to figure out what will give people bang for the buck.

DUMMY: Whether it’s explosions or breathing fire out of your mouth?

GENE: Whatever it is and no rules. No rules. If we’re going to ask anybody anything we’re going to ask the fans, not some guy who sits in back with a typewriter who never got a degree in anything and who is jaded and who gets free tickets to something and wouldn’t appreciate something… I can’t tell you the last time I had frogs legs, but food critics tell me all the time that’s cuisine. I don’t want frogs legs, I want a Whopper. I’m told that’s not good food. Fine, that’s your opinion and there are magazines that are telling you all about the foods you should be eating. Worms, chocolate ants, frogs legs, caviar. Get out of here. I wouldn’t eat that if you pointed a gun to my head.

DUMMY: How do you feel a band can make a name for themselves… Is there a way for a band to make a name for themselves with some sort of seriousness?

GENE: I completely disregard the question because the inference that being a court jester is not being serious, you have to be deadly serious about being court jesters, which means to be completely honest. This delusional state that musicians have that what they are doing is art is nonsense, of course. Art should be the name of a guy and whether it is art of not should really be up to the people. Here you are painting a painting or writing a song and you’re saying it’s art. I want you basically to shut up and I want the people to decide if it’s art. I’ll let you know if it’s art, you don’t tell me I’m creating art. Musicians, in particular, have this notion that what they’re doing is serious and we’re the real ones and the other ones are not. That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard because if you take one step over to the left, to the jazz world or the classical world, they think the entire thing is crap. It’s all relative. You think what you’re doing is important because you’re in the Dave Matthews band. This other guy thinks what he’s doing is important because he’s in a rap band. Take a step over to classical and jazz and they think it’s all crap. So, who’s doing the finger pointing and who decides what’s good and what’s bad? I’ll tell you who does, the people. So, whether you view yourself as a court jester or whether you perceive yourself as an artist, none of it matters. The people will tell you what’s good and what’s bad.

DUMMY: How did you know people liked Kiss shows early on?

GENE: Because we basically took no prisoners. We basically decided that one of the first things you have to do is to grab people by the scruff of the neck and say, ‘Look at me, not them.’ So, four girls walk into the room. The one that’s going to get the most attention is the one that has the equipment. If one comes in looking like Paul Bunyan’s daughter you’re going to disregard her. The other one comes in and hides her assets, you’re not going to look at her. The other one comes in and does the Hillary Swank, ‘I wanna look like a boy,’ you’re not going to look at her. One comes over and she’s got all the stuff that science has created—high heels to make you taller, the right hair color, false eyelashes to make her eyelashes bigger, either the right boob job or the right bra to lift ‘em and separate ‘em and point ‘em in my general direction. She’s gonna smell sweat, have lots of make up on and you, me, your father, your uncle, we’re all going to look at her. ‘Yeah, but she uses fake…’ I don’t care. Talk about it all you want. She wins. ‘Yeah, but the other one is natural.’ Okay, shit is natural, too. Natural in and of itself does not make something valid or valuable. A fart is natural. There are lots of things that are unnatural that are quite beautiful. So, this sort of oversimplification of all things is nonsense, really. That some things are serious and some things are not is complete delusional moronic behavior. The court jester has his own integrity because he doesn’t fool himself or you into believing that he is anything but; his sole purpose is to come out there and entertain you and at the end of the night say ‘Thank you.’ The idiot that comes out on stage and thinks he’s doing you a favor by being there because you get to bask in his presence. I want him to go dig a ditch for a living. So, what can a band do? The first thing you’ve got to do is figure out what’s going to grab the audience by the scruff of their neck and say, ‘Look at my band, not that band.’ That’s the first thing. Even before you’ve got the goods or don’t have the goods; even before you can write a song or not write a song. If you’re the best band in the world, whatever that means, if you write the best songs in the world, whatever that means; without the right structure, that is to say the right record company, the right stores, the right stuff to support the show, which is to say the business, because it’s still called show business, you’re dead.

DUMMY: So, how do you do that?

GENE: You have to be part businessman. I mean we’re all sort of citizens, we’re all sort of pedestrians. ‘Oh, really?’ As far as I know if you’re smart enough you’re going to look to the left and to the right before you cross the street to make sure a car is not going to run you over. That’s not being anything but smart because whether somebody intends on running you over in their car on purpose, or whether or not it happens by accident, what the fuck is the difference? You’ve been run over. So, there is no choice. When you form a band you must keep your eyes and ears open and an opportunity lost will never be gotten again. That’s just life. If you think you just want to be one of the hippie boys and just say, ‘Look, I’m just playing my music and I don’t really care if it sells a lot of records.’ You’re lying. Otherwise you wouldn’t use an amplifier to amplify it to a lot of people, you’d stay indoors and play it for yourself. Of course, it’s always about attracting other people. That’s why we all have mirrors. The ugliest person in the world will have a mirror. Why? So we can look to see what we look like? No, because we’re trying to figure out what everybody else sees. So, don’t believe the bullshit syndrome out there. People who just say, ‘No, no, I’m just doing this for myself.’ Oh really? Then why do you need mirrors? Why do you need amplifiers? It’s obviously about other people. Kiss has always been of the people, for the people, by the people. We’re here to serve you. One of the most ethical and moral jobs I can think of is a chef. The guy is schooled, learns how to make food, he personally doesn’t have to eat spinach soufflés, but it’s his job if you pay him money to make the bes spinach soufflé you’ve ever had. Whether he likes it or not is beside the point. What do I give a shit if he likes it or not? I’m paying you to satisfy me. People are buying concert tickets and they want me to play “Rock and Roll All Night,” whether I feel like playing it that night or not. Who cares what I feel like? I’m hired to do a job and don’t for a second kid yourself into thinking that classical musicians weren’t exactly the same. They were hired like whores off the street. Rembrandt was told what to paint, where to paint, how to paint it and when to paint it. That includes Michaelangelo, Mozart’s piano concertos which were called chamber music, he was it should be three minutes long, only on piano, played in my chamber. They were told what to do, when to do it, how to do it and they were paid were paid for it like a five cent whore. Incidentally the whore is one of the most ethical jobs that has ever existed on the face of the planet, certainly much more ethical than wives. A whore will tell you how much it’s going to cost before. Try doing that with a wife. So, don’t fall for any of the bullshit that recording artists push. ‘Oh, I’m really doing this from my heart.’ Well, that’s good. Let’s hope people like it. Whether you’re doing it from your heart or you don’t feel it at all, if people like it that’s the beginning and the end of it. To this day Keith Richards is not to crazy about the riff in “Satisfaction.” He just went, ‘It’s just kind of a silly riff I came up with one day, but everybody seems to like it. I don’t get it.’ Good. You better play “Satisfaction” if I go to see a Stones show. I’m the boss. I bought the ticket. That’s how it works.

DUMMY: How have you kept up the energy?

GENE: Oh, I love it. I really love it. It’s physically mind numbing how exhausting it is for us compared to other bands. If I was in the Dave Matthews Band I could do two shows a night, seven days a week. Kiss does as many as five shows a week, we’re averaging four-and-a-half shows a week. I walk around with another 50 lbs of additional weight on my shoulders, between the dragon boots and the studs and the leather on eight-inch platform heels. Try doing that for two hours and see how you feel. So, that goes to the heart of the matter, which is that when we’re playing better than ever and getting along better than ever, that’s the time to quit. I admire Michael Jordan, not just for being the best at what he does, but also for knowing when to quit‑when you’re on top. And if there’s an inference there, you’re damn right. ‘So, are you saying you’re the Michael Jordan of guitar and drums?’ Yep. It’s very funny when I was growing up Muhammad Ali first started coming up as Casius Clay and he kept saying, ‘I am the greatest.’ And people didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter. He wasn’t boasting, he was stating fact, people just weren’t used to straight up honesty. People are more comfortable when rock musicians all of a sudden become ambassadors to Bosnia-Herzogova and I’m saying, ‘You fools. This guy didn’t know how to tie his shoe laces six months ago and now he’s the ambassador.’

DUMMY: Do you think if Kiss would have kept the make up in the closet in 1996 you would be regarded as the Michael Jordans of music?

GENE: Gee, I don’t care. When you win who cares how you win? Let’s be honest, Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same person. Who’s more interesting to you?

DUMMY: I believe that would be Superman.

GENE: I believe you’re right. It’s like when you win a race or become the champion, who care’s how? The idea is to win, honestly again because of the people, but if we win because we give them more why is that somehow a negative instead of a positive? Why isn’t anyone in the critical world not patting us on the back for working harder than any other band out there and putting more show in the business of show than any band out there? Why isn’t that a plus instead of a negative? Why don’t you guys look on stage and see a band that just plays songs and go, ‘They’re just gypping the audience, they shouldn’t be paying full price.’

DUMMY: Somebody said that?

GENE: No, there’s an overall sense of course. You know that. A guy strumming his guitar and talking about suicide, and because he was a heroin addict, that’s much more relevant than guys running around on stage breathing fire and flying through the air. Right? And I say bullshit. That guy should be at the Betty Ford Center and he shouldn’t be on stage charging good people for tickets, certainly not full price. Actually I don’t think he should be at the Betty Ford Center, I think he should be in the Ford Assembly line. Fuck his habit. Go to work for a living and see how you like it.

DUMMY: Let’s talk band chemistry. Over 30 years you guys have obviously have had ups and downs. How do you keep it together?

GENE: Well, Kiss has got a lot more in common with the Olympics. We catch you with anything in your bloodstream and you’re out of the band. We mean what we say and we say what we mean. Ace and Peter in particular succumbed to their own demons and either left the band or were asked to leave, depending on your point of view. They were out of the band for 15 to 18 years with solo bands and gave into their weaknesses and went bankrupt and only when they got straight were they allowed to come back into the band. I’m proud to share the stage with them, but I’d never get up on the stage with you, my mother, anyone else if they weren’t straight because I have too much regard for myself, the band and especially for the fans, our bosses. I believe in truth in advertising. If you buy a ticket to see Kiss on stage, it doesn’t say ‘Kiss Stoned Live Onstage.’ It says Kiss and we start each show, we did it on the first show, we continue to do it today and I’m sure on the very last show, we’ll start it off with ‘You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world.’ We do that for ourselves, to make sure the fans know we’re not going to coast because we’re playing FLASHANTY Michigan instead of Paris, France, that every person is equally as important because a ticket price is a ticket price and where you’re from is an accident of birth. You still deserve the best. Cornball, workingman ethic, but we believe in it nonetheless. That’s why on this tour we’re playing cities I’ve never heard of. This ain’t a fashion show. This is about getting up on stage, having the time of your lives and thanking the people who gave me mansions and cars and enormous amounts of money.

DUMMY: Is it difficult to relate to Ford Assembly line guy?

GENE: No. I work harder than he does, but I’m blessed because I don’t have to. He does.

DUMMY: As you have said this tour is a way to say thank you to that guy.

GENE: It absolutely is, because radio wasn’t there for us, media wasn’t there for us, MTV wasn’t there for us. We always took our case to the people and we have a tour poster that lists every single show we ever played, from clubs on up.

DUMMY: Change up the songs playing live?

GENE: No, we believe in structure. I’ll grant you there are forms of music like jazz and so on, but usually the only guy that gets the solo is the lead guitar player. Everybody else is just there as a support system. Kiss is different then other bands because there’s not one guy in the front that says, ‘Look at me.’ In the Stones, one of my favorite bands of all time, if Mick Jagger has an off night you’re dead. Kiss is not like that. We were designed after our favorite band, The Beatles where everybody is a star, everybody sang, everybody played, there was room for everybody. We are a four wheel drive vehicle, so The Beatles didn’t jam and neither do we. There’s a structure and I don’t believe that jamming at the sake of the audience is what we should be doing. It’s not about how many notes per second I can play. I get bored with that, that’s a show-off. ‘Okay, so you’re very talented. Can you now give me a show?’ I don’t want to hear a reggae version of “Whole Lotta Love.” I don’t care. I bought my ticket, give it to me the way I want it.

DUMMY: How do you recover from an off night?

GENE: Oh, you just roll over it because you’ve got three other guys that aren’t making the same mistake. We make mistakes all the time, but like a basketball team or a football team, all for one, one for all. If one guy fumbles the ball the other guys are there covering, because ultimately it’s about getting the touchdown and winning the game and doing the best that you can. At the end of the day we’ve so surpassed our wildest expectations and I remember as a kid watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and to be right behind them in the number of gold records by any groups just says that anything is possible. Ironically enough, especially for a band that’s not perceived by some critics as a musical entity. Kiss scientists I will have to say were working tirelessly on how to put flashing bulbs and fireballs popping out of the CDs, they haven’t been able to do that so unfortunately when you get a CD all you get are songs. So somebody seems to like those songs. I miss albums because of the artwork. It’s not just candy that I like, I like the Cracker Jack boxes because you get a prize in it. I want that in life. I want presents, I like surprises.

DUMMY: Is there such a thing as your best show ever or is it the next show?

GENE: Our best show ever is never going to be just about us. It might be our worst show, but if the fans really enjoy themselves better than anything, then that’s what it’s about. Our best show is the one that’s most enjoyable for our fans. It’s about giving other people pleasure, not seeing how well you can tap dance. It’s less about us and more about them. That’s why I like chefs. I’m not interested if the chef likes spinach soufflés, I’m only interested if I want a spinach soufflé, will he fix me the best one I ever had? It’s about me. The fans know it’s about them, not about us. That’s the difference between us and other bands. Other bands really believe it’s about them, we know we are the servants of our bosses, our fans. I think all bands should learn that lesson. If you don’t thank every fan that every bought your records and tickets for making your lifestyle possible, you should be working on a chain gang someplace, because you’re blessed. Most of the world gets up every day and goes to work at jobs they don’t enjoy working in and the only reward they get is money. They don’t get recognition, they don’t get satisfaction, but they’re perceived as ethical, hard working industrious people and they’re doing it for money. If I say I love the money I make I’m perceived as having no credibility, because I tell the truth. I have less credibility than the ditch digger who is doing a job he doesn’t like and gets paid for it. I’m doing a job I love and appreciate the money and I say thank you for the money. Well, you’re not supposed to talk about that. I think you’re all full of shit. I don’t mean you. And white people’s preoccupation with age is moronic behavior. I never hear a black person say, ‘You know that B.B. King is 80 years old. He shouldn’t get up on stage.’ But how many white people do I hear saying, ‘You know that Mick Jagger, he should get off.’? What the fuck is wrong with you guys? Or is it fear of your own mortality? I would wave the flag at anybody that wings anything that’s the best at anything. Anyway the idea for us is that we always tell the truth and that pisses everybody off, critics of course. But again, we win and we win big time. Every band that’s out there that is perceived as having credibility points to us. That’s the ironic thing.

DUMMY: Kiss Online… what’s going to happen there?

GENE: Kiss is going to continue in other forms. I’m not here to tell you that we’re going to cease. There’s going to be a Kiss Auction June 24, 25 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles where people can buy a slice—anything, boots, heels, guitars, picks, you name it. There’s a Kiss four-hour mini series that’s being finalized now, the story of Kiss. There’s a “Rock and Roll All Night” CBS Movie of the Week that I’ll be producing with CBS; there’s a Kiss theme park with Universal Attractions; Kiss Casino in Las Vegas where no band has gone before, okay? And we’re proud of it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get an R.E.M. lunch box. Even though I love those records there’s nothing about any other band that lends itself to anything except, here’s the music. Kiss has always been about much more than that. We hope you like the tunes, but if you don’t that’s okay. We’ve got comic books, condoms and Kiss yamuchas if I can do it, because there’s nothing that Coca-Cola’s got that I wouldn’t like to have Kiss Cola to have. As a matter of fact I’m sad I haven’t rolled up my sleeves and tried to launch Kisstianity, with me as the God of course.

DUMMY: Is that in the offing?

GENE: Well it sure would be a good way to make untaxable income. Look, I’ve always been very up front, I love money and every guy out there who says he doesn’t is lying. If you, the new guitar guy who just got his first platinum record, if you’re going to pull the bullshit about feeling awkward about your fame here’s my suggestion: move to Nome Alaska, they won’t care. If you feel awkward about the amount of money you have, don’t worry just write Gene Simmons a personal check and I’ll be very happy to relieve you of the money. I love more than less. I haven’t met the person who honestly answers the following question: God has given you a wallet and he gives you a choice of having more money in it, or less. What do you want? So, never trust a rock guy who says he’s over paid. Don’t worry about that. I’ll help you. Pay yourself less, pay me all the rest. Don’t believe rockers. Like babies that cry in the corners, it does that because it knows you’ll run over and say ‘Oh, what’s the matter little baby.’ It’s a rouse, just like the guys that get up on stage in torn jeans and t-shirts. Ah, I’m just a regular guy, I can’t afford good clothing. Really? And that’s the end of my sermon for today.

DUMMY: I appreciate your forthrightness.

GENE: Sure. It’s like when the girl comes down and asks, ‘What do you think of my outfit?’ I go, ‘I don’t really like that, it doesn’t really suit you.’ The other guys go, ‘Oh, no, you look great.’ (laughs) What I hope is that I’m on the cover so I can show my mother.

It should be called Kiss 1, Critics 0.