GENE SIMMONS On KISS's Final Shows: 'You've Gotta Have The Dignity And Pride To Know When It's Time To Call It Quits'
June 4, 2023
During an appearance earlier today (Sunday, June 4) on Australia's "The Sunday Project", KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons discussed the band's decision to end its career with two back-to-back shows at Madison Square Garden in New York in early December. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, look, at a certain point Mother Nature takes over no matter what your plans are. And at a certain time you've gotta have the dignity and pride but also the love and admiration of your fans to know when it's time to call it quits. We've all seen boxers that stay in the ring too long, and we've all seen bands that stay on the stage too long. So, I'm still looking pretty damn good. But that's not the point. The point is the physical nature of what we do is gonna limit how long we do it. And we remember, we introduce ourselves with 'You wanted the best. You got the best. The hottest band in the world.' I don't wanna be in one of those bands where the fans just say, 'Oh, you should have seen them back in 1804 when they were really rocking.' Right here, right now, either be a champion or get off the stage. So we're gonna quit while the quitting's good, while we're on top. And gratefully, I don't know how to verbalize what an amazing journey it's been, and it's only due to the fans. Without them, I'd be asking the next person in line if they'd like some fries with that. Don't kid yourself."
KISS's final runs of shows will kick off this September and now include stops in Crandon, Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Cleveland, Ohio before wrapping up with a massive concert in the city where it all began for KISS. New York City has been a part of the band's ethos and storyline for more than four decades, so they felt it fitting to culminate an iconic Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame-worthy career on stage at New York's famed Madison Square Garden.
KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"End Of The Road" was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but has since been extended to late 2023. The trek was announced in September 2018 following a KISS performance of the band's classic song "Detroit Rock City" on "America's Got Talent".
When the Madison Square Garden concerts were first announced in early March, KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley told "The Howard Stern Show": "December 1st and 2nd is Madison Square Garden. Those are the last two shows of the band. We're finishing up where we started.
"Some people have kind of snickered and said, 'This 'End Of The Road' tour has gone on for years.' Yeah, we lost two and a half years to COVID," Paul explained. "We would have been done already. Yeah, this is the end.
"When you come to see the show, it's awesome," he added. "It's the most high-tech show out there, and yet it's clearly a kick-ass rock and roll show. It's not Vegas; it's not something that loses its balls, so to speak. It's everything KISS, just amped up and ramped up."
When host Howard Stern brought up the fact that Simmons had previously said he will shed tears at KISS's final gig, the 73-year-old bassist/vocalist said: "Oh, I'm sure. I kid around a lot about 'men don't do that.' I'm sure I'm gonna cry like a nine-year-old girl whose foot's being stepped on.
"KISS was born on 23rd street. It's only taken us 50 years to go play the final shows 10 blocks away on 33rd street, which is Madison Square Garden," he added.
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