GENE SIMMONS Spins His Favourite Tunes On BBC Radio 2's I Love It Loud Rock Show
June 11, 2015, 3 years ago
KISS founding member and business guru Gene Simmons spins his favourite tunes from the likes of AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper in a taped program on BBC Radio 2. Check it out at this location.
Since emerging from the glam rock scene in New York in 1974, KISS has gone on to sell out stadiums and millions of albums around the world. KISS are legendary for their pyrotechnics and theatrical stage show. Gene Simmons, bassist and founding member, is known for his extraordinary tongue, his tireless work ethic, and his savvy business mind. Not to mention his love of the ladies. But in this series, he joins Radio 2 to share his passion for Classic Rock, which he credits the UK with creating.
"When I was a kid and I turned on the radio - sure we had American R'n'B and we had the American versions of Rock and Roll - but it wasn't until I heard The Beatles, and then the Stones, and then Led Zeppelin and on and on and on that I feel in love deeply with this thing we call rock. America created rock and roll, but it was the UK that gave the world rock - classic rock. Guitars, amplifiers turned up to 11 - yes glorious 11. Louder is better. Bigger is better. You're girlfriend has been lying to you all these years - size does matter."
Some of the music he plays comes from bands that inspired KISS, but most are from bands he discovered or invited to tour with KISS - bands like Rush, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and Van Halen.
Later in the series he tells stories of unlikely collaborations with iconic figures like Bob Dylan (whom he wrote a song with) and Lou Reed who worked with KISS on a concept album 'Music From the Elder'(1981).
Gene also plays music from bands he produced over the years like Wendy O Williams covers of KISS songs performed by Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder, and surprisingly, country superstar Garth Brooks.
"I'm flattered that BBC Radio 2 has given me the chance to play the music that I love dearly, that I continue to play over and over again, that I introduce young people to. I'll never forget when my son, Nick, first heard 'Boys Are Back In Town' by Thin Lizzy, he went, 'What's that?'And then I played him Queen, and goes, 'What's that?', and that music continues to attracts new ears generation after generation which is why its Classic - Classic Rock."
KISS recently posted another KISStory lesson on their official Facebook page, looking back to May 13th, 1976 when the band played their first ever UK show at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. The sold out show a (over 2500 people) was the beginning of KISS' first European tour.
In addition to shows in England, KISS performed in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Germany where the Scorpions were the opening act. KISS wrapped up the tour with a final show on June 6th at Ontmoetingscentrum in Harelbeke, Belgium.
Simmons recalls KISS' first visit to England:
"On the way over to our first English tour, I was struck by the notion that this was the Land Of The Beatles. To me, the English Kings and Queens never meant anything. I have always looked at it as an archaic and rather silly posturing about past glories. But as cultural oddities, I suppose it had its own innocence.
Still, I was nervous to set foot on Holy Ground. We got off the jet in full makeup and the fotogs were waiting for us. We came through customs and jumped on street cars at the airport for photo ops. I was aware it was drizzly and grey. I was hoping that would change in the next few days to sunshine. It didn't.
We had a female chaperone/record company person with us. And, she showed us the sites. I thought the least I could do was return the favor. I did.
We visited the Palace and posed with street Bobbies (the English police) and were soon to hit the stage in front of an English audience. Would they like us? Truth was, we never thought much about it. We had a job to do and that was to punish the audience. They had, for too long, stood still for sub par live bands.
It was our job to show them that there was at least one band who had the balls to introduce themselves with: YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST...THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE LAND, KISS."
The setlist for the Manchester show was as follows:
"Hotter Than Hell" "Firehouse" "She" "Nothin' To Lose" "Shout It Out Loud" "100,000 Years" "Black Diamond" "Detroit Rock City" "Rock And Roll All Nite" "Let Me Go, Rock And Roll"
Below is some great footage from the British TV show So It Goes covering KISS while they were touring Europe for the first time in 1976: