Nardwuar: Who Are You?
Gene Simmons: My Name is Rupert Winslow III. I just bought this building.
What are you doing on my property?
You are the bank.
GS: I am the bank.
You are Gene Simmons.
GS: Yes. And to all the other bands out there who are delusional, who think
that they're people's bands, they're lying. They charge for tickets just
like I do. (laughs)
You're "Dr. Love" too though.
GS: Only with your sister and your mommy too, of course.
Now Gene, I was curious, did you invent this? (Nardwuar makes the Satan
sign with his hands)
GS: No I didn't. This actually goes back to almost prehistoric times, well
not prehistoric times, certainly pre-Roman times, this used to be a sign
of, you know the horned beast which is rampant in Semites and also in the
Crete mythology of the minotaur. So it's supposed to be a sign of evil that
the Greeks and then the Romans used and in point of fact to this day for an
Italian to do like that (Gene makes the satan sign) to you is very bad.
It's giving you the sign of the evil thing... I started playing bass guitar
and then I'd hold up the pick, and I'd be holding the pick in my hand like
this, but I also wanted to wave at everybody, but I was busy holding the
bass so I started doing that.(making satan sign) And in photos, I started
doing this 'cause I didn't have the pick, 'cause I was so used to doing it,
and people used to do it back. And then I started noticing other bands
doing that. The answer is, yes, this (Gene makes satan sign again) is
Gene Simmons, I was also curious-
GS: (to people in the hallway) You guys have to be quiet now. (sound of
Do you still have a warehouse filled with Fresca?
GS: It's not an entire warehouse, but yes, Fresca is still my favourite
drink. I still, do they still make it?
Yeah, I think they do, now what's the story behind that you bought a
whole warehouse of Fresca?
GS: No, not a warehouse but certainly cases and cases full. It sort of
amortizes, you know, the cost goes down the more you buy. If you just buy
one, you pay full price, but if you buy a lot of them you pay pennies.
Now speaking of buying stuff, Gene Simmons, is it true that KISS
invested in a coal mine in the '70s? A coal mine, Gene Simmons?
That's wild, a coal mine! What is going on there?
GS: Well, during the '70s, the government allowed investment in coal as a
way to offset the you know, fossil fuel that was coming out of the Middle
East so they were letting you deduct the taxes, so we put a lot of money
into that and got tax deductions. The government didn't care whether you
actually found coal or not, it was just a way to diffuse some of the money
that was going to fossil fuel.
Would you recommend that to any upcoming bands to invest in coal mines
anymore there, Gene Simmons?
GS: Actually, no I would say that the smartest thing any young band could
do is not to get married. That'll save you 50% of your gross pre-tax
Now speaking of marriage and stuff, Ace Frehley, is it true, you know,
churches and stuff, is it true that Ace Frehley wanted to turn KISS into a
church at one time, Gene Simmons?
What was the idea, some sort of tax write- off if KISS became a church?
GS: It's not a bad idea, "KISStianity" does have a sound to it, but no,
it's not true.
Because it's in that book, "KISS and Sell."
GS: I'm not familiar with that book. I know "Kiss and Make-up," which is
available at your local bookstore where---
---We'll show both of them Gene. There's your book, number one, New York
Times best seller (Hands Gene his book) , but then there's the (clears
throat) other book right there.(Hands Gene a copy of "KISS and Sell.")
GS: Oh, I know this, this is by a guy that used for us as our accountant,
his name was Chris Lendt.
And he says one of Ace's ideas in there was to turn KISS into a church,
'cause it would help save money.
Becoming, like a non-profit organization. I think it might be page
(Nardwuar flips throught he book), right here, there's the coal mine thing,
but I think it might be...
GS: You want me to hold something?
Yeah, if you could that'd be great. Uh, let's see, sorry Gene, I just
wanted to prove to you that it really was in the-
GS: While we're looking I was going to compliment you on your outfit.
Oh, thank you very much. Um, right there it says, Gene Simmons, "the
most bizarre idea for saving money came from Ace. Ace heard about a way to
eliminate paying taxes by converting a business to a church."
GS: Fascinating. I never knew that.
I just thought that was amazing, kind of like, you know, you having coal
mines, you're having churches and stuff like that.
GS: Well, the coal mine was real, the church thing wasn't. But he may know
something I don't, I hadn't heard of that one yet.
And Gene, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about Ace and Peter.
You've done a few performances without Ace and Peter, I think three
GS: That's not true. We've probably done a thousand without them. During
the '80s we went-
When they were lost, but I meant, you actually have guys dressing up as
Peter, and guys dressing up as Ace right now.
With their makeup on.
Now I understand getting, you know, Peter Criss because, you know, he
was missing in action and you gotta , you know, continue on the tour, but
Ace, why did you have Tommy Thayer wearing Ace's make up, couldn't you
have, like, put him in some other makeup?
GS: No. Uh, Ace didn't want to come. We said, "we've gotta do this
Jamaican gig, and a few other things, Dick Clark." And I personally called
him and he said, "I don't wanna go."
But couldn't you have thought up some other character to throw in there
because it's kind of like a guy being as Ace...somepeople are saying, like a
fake Peter or a fake Ace, how can that be KISS? Like, I totally understand
the show's gotta go on, but couldn't have you come up with some neat
character idea, I mean, you're full of great ideas. I mean, couldn't you
have reintroduced the Fox on somebody else?
GS: No! Because, that's just as bad an idea as anything else, because at
the end of the day anybody can sit on the sidelines and say "these are the
rules of what this is." I think the rules are, the same rules that apply to
a football game or baseball game, that if you wear a uniform and somebody
doesn't do it right or if somebody's playing the Phantom in the Phantom of
the Opera and he gets sick, somebody else takes the place. The problem, you
see, that if I put the makeup on Tommy or anybody else, and it's a brand
new makeup, anybody can just as easily say "I don't like that," whereas,
the "spaceman" sort of persona is a known commodity. If I have to choose
the lesser of two evils, I'll go with that.
Gene Simmons, in your book, you mention your first groupie conquest
being in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada?
GS: True. (Smiles) I never learned her name though. But that's true.
I was interested about that, like Edmonton, Alberta. Canada! Some props
for Canada, Gene Simmons!
GS: Yeah. What is this Canadian obsession with trying to tug on people's
shirtsleeves and say "Canada! Canada!" What is that? Like, you know, if you
go to somebody from Europe and say "So, uh, you're in New York now,"
nobody's gonna say, "So, what do you think of our city?" Who cares what
anybody thinks? You should be proud of this country, you've got a lot of
land, great looking girls, it's everything to be proud of. Stop whining to
foreigners! "What do you think, Sudbury? What do you think?" Cut it out!
Dildo, Newfoundland. Isn't that where Shannon Tweed is from?
Did you know there's a place called Dildo, Newfoundland?
GS: There's a place called Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
But I was curious there Gene Simmons, Dildo, Newfoundland, is that
where, Shannon Tweed is from, 'cause it says "born in St. John's," and
Dildo is right near St. John's. Is she really from Dildo, have you heard
about that at all?
GS: No, I haven't.
Like in 18 years together with her she's never told you about the secret
Dildo past, Shannon Tweed's secret Dildo past?
GS: No, not about that one, we've spoken of other dildos, but not of that
Gene Simmons, Kurt Cobain. Did you ever meet him at all?
GS: Kurt and I spoke before he died, but we never met. But he did cover,
Nirvana did cover "Do You Love Me?" on a KISS tribute record, but that's
as much as I know.
I heard that you didn't actually speak to him, that it was Steve Albini
pretending to be him. Do you have any verification that it really was Kurt?
GS: No, but it doesn't matter.
'Cause I heard that him and Steve were teasing you about doing a duet
with you or something like that.
GS: Yes, I was calling around to every group in the world putting together
a KISS tribute album called KISS My Ass, and called Madonna's manager, and
everybody's manager. And at the end of the day we got, I got Garth Brooks,
Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder on one track, members of Rage Against the
Machine, lots of other bands covering stuff on the record, and I
absolutely called Nirvana as one of the bands, but if it was Albini or some
other guy, so what?
Canada, we love you in Canada Gene Simmons. We love you. If you take a
look at this book right here, it is called Spotlight Heros (by John
Rowlands), and it lists some of the greatest gigs that have happened ever
in Canada here, and there's a picture right here of you, Gene Simmons,
GS: Mr. Canada.
No, beside metal legend Thor. Do you know Canadian heavy metal legend Thor?
And actually, this is another picture of Thor and you, and Thor's
ex-wife, Cherry Bomb. Do you remember Cherry Bomb, Gene Simmons?
GS: Yes, she had a song called "Cherry Bomb."
No, that might have been the Runaways, that was somebody else you may
have, uh, plowed into there, but I'm just curious, did you have any
liaisons with Thor's ex-wife there, Cherry Bomb?
GS: I don't know. If you say I did, I did.
I mean, I'll get you a better look at her, like right here (Nardwuar
shows Gene a fold-out pic of Cherry Bomb) , this is Thor's ex-wife, Cherry
Bomb. She's from New York. You remember Thor, you went to a few of his
gigs, didn't you?
GS: Yeah, in other words, did I have a sexual liaison with her? I don't
think so, but I would have liked... She looks very healthy.
Well, let's reintroduce you to Thor, Gene Simmons! (Thor, who has been
posing as a "camera man" mysteriously appears!)
Right over here. Thor, the metal god!
GS: Oh my God.
T: Fantastic to see you again.
GS: Did I, did I ever do your wife?
T: Yeah, she was number 2001.
GS: Did I really?
T: A tremendous honour.
Now, what was going on in that photo there, Thor?
GS: Which year was this?
T: This was 1985.
GS: I don't mean when you and I met, I mean, when I did...
T: Uh, I believe it was '85.
T: Yeah, she's proud, I'm proud.
GS: In Canada?
T: To share the hammer.
GS: In Canada?
T: That was New York.
Now, Thor what's going on in this photo? This is a legendary photo isn't it?
T: Yes, and Gene I just want to say, you've been a tremendous inspiration
and I thank you very much for all the inspiration for me all these years,
and (looking at photo of Thor and Gene together at Maple Leaf Gardens) this
is the first time I met you. Uh, back at Maple Leaf Gardens when I led the
KISS army on stage.
GS: Yes you did.
T: You remember that?
GS: Oh yeah. But I just can't remember...
T: Oh, you remember Cherry though, right?
You gave a couple of phone calls to Thor at his house, looking for Cherry-
GS: I did?
You flew her to L.A!
T: You came to the show.
It's his ex-wife though, and actually Thor was so inspired by your new book...
T: The book's fantastic, the books fantastic, I am totally inspired by the book.
Do you remember what Thor can do here Gene?
T: Remember the steel bar?
The steel bar? (Nardwuar hands Thor a steel bar to bend between his teeth!)
T: You breath fire but you inspired me to bend steel. And to protect my
teeth I shall put a KISS t-shirt around it And the book has psyched me up
and it's got me pumped up.
Is this real steel? Check if this is real steel, Gene?
GS: Oh yeah, it really is. (Laughs)
T: (Breathing hard) LET'S ROCK ON! (Thor grunts, growls and yells as he
bends the steel)
GS: Wow he really is...
T: (more growling) ROCK! Around your neck man. (Thor wraps the bent steel
around Nardwuar's neck)
Thor, The Metal God here, with Gene Simmons.
GS: I gotta tell ya, it really is. Listen to this, listen to this (tapping
on steel) that (steel) really is the real stuff.
Gene, thanks so much for your time. It's so awesome that you're able to
visit us here in Canada and help Thor relive the past, he's really inspired
by your brand new book. I was curious, you speak like five different
GS: No, no. I dabble
Do you know what language group Hungarian is from?
GS: No, but I speak Hungarian.
The Finno-ugric language group.
GS: So you're saying it's related to the Finnish language?
Yes, it is.
GS: It's funny, I know a girl who speaks fluent Finnish and I speak
Hungarian but we can't understand a single word of each other.
Are you still afraid of shellfish?
GS: Not afraid of them but I certainly don't want to swallow them.
I thought that like, Paul Stanley would like, tie them to the mike stand
or something to scare you.
GD: That's true, I find them disgusting. I mean anything that has a eyeball
at the end of a tentacle and can look in the back of it's head with ten
legs or eight legs when you put it on its back and it moves around like a
dead cockroach, is not something I want to put in my mouth.
And lastly, Gene Simmons, what side should the KISS army fight on in
this current Middle East dispute?
GS: The side I say.
Well thanks so much for your time Gene Simmons. Keep on rockin' in the
free world and doot doola doot doo...
GS: Doo doo.