Fresh Air’s Terry Gross Interviewing Kiss’ Gene Simmons

**I feel it’s in the best interest of full disclosure that I admit I have a radio crush on Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.**

I was a Kiss fan for about six week and it was probably because I was going to see them live on their second or third reunion tour (featuring all four original members, especially the horribly drugged out Ace Frehley). I got it out of my system pretty quickly after seeing them live – like going to a circus which is only fun for a few moments. Since then, I think Kiss is pretty stupid. Their songs have no depth; they sing about partying (which is funny because Gene Simmons doesn’t drink or do drugs), screwing over women, being screwed over by women, sex, and cold gin (which is funny, once again, because Simmons abstains from intoxicating substances).

In 2006 (I’m fairly certain this is the correct year) Terry Gross, host of the NPR show Fresh Air, interview Gene Simmons and he proved to be not only a conceited jackass but actually not that intelligent. Yes, he’s rich but so is Sarah Palin, proving that rich people aren’t necessarily smart. There are a few questions Gross asks which demonstrates she isn’t too familiar with Kiss, and Simmons calls her out for this, but overall Kiss’ bassist/vocalist proves he’s an egotistical sexist with delusions of grandeur.

Seriously, have you ever listened to Kiss? I mean, really listened to Kiss – their lyrics, their riffs, and so forth? They’re a pretty terrible band. Sure, Ace Frehley’s a solid guitarist and Paul Stanley has the typical rock vocals down but their lyrics are trite and their songs aren’t anything incredible. There are countless other heavy rock bands from the ‘70s (Mountain, Budgie, T. Rex, Black Sabbath) who were more inventive and played better. It’s because of their vaudeville antics that they’re so popular and rich. I will give credit where it’s due and admit Kiss’ stage show is a spectacle, which Simmons says “for two hours [will make] you forget about the traffic jam, and the fact that your girlfriend is whining, or whatever else is going on in your life, and for two hours we give you escapism.” It’s really a sight to behold and there’s really nothing else in the world of rock and roll like it. However, just because they’re the Star Wars of rock doesn’t mean it has any substance. After all, the gladiatorial games in ancient Rome made people forget about their troubles and distractions like professional wrestling, football, and so forth do the same job today – what does that say about the validity of the spectacle?

Below is the interview. Judge for yourself whether Gross is bad at her job (which is what some of the comments on Youtube say) or whether Simmons is a douche (I side with the latter).

4 responses to “Fresh Air’s Terry Gross Interviewing Kiss’ Gene Simmons

  1. Simmons hosted a Channel 4 show a few years back called Rock School. He inexplicably turned up at some Christian boarding school and tried to teach these snotty little kids about the core concepts of ‘rock’, and mould them into a legitimate band.

    Not only was this show predictably shite, it really showcased what a twat Gene Simmons is. I must have been about 14/15 when it was on, but even I was picking out every righteous reinforcement of the cliches he’d helped put in place. It was like he was vicariously living his life again through these poor kids.

    One of the kids went on to garner some mainstream acknowledgement. He appeared on some panel shows and released a single or two. It was generic pop-punk garbage. Making it very clear that Simmons’ attempts to teach about the essence of rock were a massive failure.

    I saw him on MTV Cribs once too. What a massive dickhead. Ha.

    Its infection may have spread over to the US, but if not then have a look, I’m sure it will amuse you.

  2. I saw some of Rock School on VH1 a while back but didn’t keep with it. Honestly, it looked pretty stupid and I really don’t have any interest in Gene Simmons, Kiss, or, for that matter, VH1 (aside from Celebrity Fit Club, which is a guilty pleasure and a hoot). I’ve always thought Simmons was an arrogant bitch but after hearing this interview with Terry Gross, whose voice I have a crush on, I have even less respect for the man. It’s probably in negative territory at this point.

    I can’t deny that Kiss’ first record (it’s self titled) has a good ‘70s rock sound but the songs are still pretty inane. Nothing to Lose is a cool stoner rock jam and Strutter has a good guitar line but that’s all before they were playing arenas and Simmons had slept with over 4,000 women. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll listen to this record anymore; it means it’s less produced than Kiss’ later stuff which is just party rock garbage written for moronic men and their dumb girlfriends – in that order.

    What’s really frightening about Kiss, and by association Simmons’ ego, is that the man thinks of the group as a brand and not a band. Simmons thinks being a Kiss fan is an ideology and that’s bothersome on many levels. I won’t go into the whole reason but when you can order a Kiss coffin for $4,500 there’s something wrong with America’s brand of capitalism.

    In short: Fuck Gene Simmons and fuck Kiss. =)

  3. Growing up in Astoria ( Peter Criss ) NYC during the seventies and actually seeing these guys live at a few school yards was enjoyable and entertaining. Gene Simmons drank his own kool aid. He actually takes himself seriously ?? He is arrogant, mentally bankrupt and functions in his own bizzaro universe. Proven by how he treats his bandmates. Tooite Fileds on the Mike Douglas show way back in 1974 ( or there abouts ) nailed it when she said, ” Your makeup can’t hide your hook . ” He should have been humbled, but like any ego maniac, he fell deeper into his own pile of crap.

    • I think I said it in my post but in case I didn’t I’ll say it here: I like the first Kiss record. Yes, the lyrics are moronic but there’s something about that early ‘70s riff heavy rock. The guitars are heavy and contain that trademark fuzz sound that makes all those bands great. Mountain, Budgie, Leaf hound, early ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and others like them have a distinct sound which bands nowadays try to emulate – sometimes successfully, sometimes dismally. However, that is their only good record; everything else is slick garbage made for suburban teens filled with angst.

      I agree with you that Simmons is a douche and drinks his own Kool-Aid. After listening to this interview I loathe him even more. I’ll admit Gross didn’t do her homework (the whole fishnet stocking thing) but it doesn’t allow for his behavior.

      Also, his familiarity with philosophy, which he claims he’s knowledgeable about, is lacking. He seems like the kind of person who’ll quote something intelligent incorrectly, get called on it, and ridicule anybody who’s smart. What a jerk.

      Thanks for reading. =)

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