GENE SIMMONS: KISS 'Raised The Level Of What A Fan Can Expect On That Stage For Their Hard-Earned Money'

June 11, 2022

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons was interviewed by Planet Rock's Wyatt backstage at this weekend's Download festival in the United Kingdom, and in true Gene style, he covered everything from body hair to retirement, Liam Gallagher to fan tattoos, and why KISS isn't for everyone.

Speaking about KISS's decision to call it quits at the end of the band's ongoing "End Of The Road" farewell tour, Gene said: "It's been coming up for a few years now. And I can wax poetic and prolific about all kinds of things but underneath this veneer is this sort of, 'It's gotta end sometime.' You want to respect the fans enough to know when to get off that stage. And it's gonna be sad, and it's gonna be happy. Sad that you have to leave something that you love so much, but really happy and proud for, 'Look what we did.' We raised the level of what a fan can expect on that stage for their hard-earned money. There's no question about that. So if you see wrestling and there's pyro or Sir Paul McCartney, one of my heroes — anybody that's putting stuff in their shows. I mean, where do you think they got that from? MUNGO JERRY?"

KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"End Of The Road" was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but is now expected to last through early 2023.

KISS's current lineup consists of original members Simmons and Paul Stanley (guitar, vocals),alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).

Formed in 1973 by Stanley, Simmons, Peter Criss (drums) and Ace Frehley (guitar),KISS staged its first "farewell" tour in 2000, the last to feature the group's original lineup.

In its 49-year career, KISS has accumulated 23 gold and platinum albums — more than any other U.S. band.

Last month, Gene told SPIN about his post-KISS plans: "Well, we have [the rock-inspired restaurant] Rock & Brews, which is becoming more successful — and quite a few other businesses, which has no relation to sticking my tongue out. And at some point, after the band stops touring, I may go out with the GENE SIMMONS BAND. Did about 50 shows. It's a lot of fun, a totally different experience. It's like being in the RAMONES or U2 or something. You put on sneakers and a t-shirt, and that's all the work. So your heart doesn't have to go 'boom, boom, boom, boom,' like it's going to thump out of your chest, like at KISS shows. If you are a blues artist, you can do that until you're in your mid-80s, the way B.B. King did at 88. Are you kidding me? Me walking around on stage with dragon boots and all that, even past 75, I can't imagine it. The physical wear and tear, your heart just is not going to be able to take it. I defy these guys half my age to get into my outfit, see how long you'll last on stage."

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