Danny Ross | Forbes
You’re never quite sure which Gene Simmons you’re going to get. In any given moment he can excoriate you, charm you or pitch you on his latest merchandise. It makes for an exhausting — but hopefully worthwhile — conversation.
On this particular occasion, Simmons was wheeling out (literally) the Vault Experience, a collector’s set that he’ll hand-deliver to fans. Simmons has made the media rounds plenty of times over the decades, so I aimed to ask him unique questions about the indie artist experience. Here’s our conversation:
Danny Ross: You famously said, “Rock is dead.” Did you mean that artistic integrity is dead in the millennial generation?
Gene Simmons: No. There’s more talent than ever before. But there aren’t trains moving because the railroad tracks have been eaten away by the fans. Fans have decided not to pay for downloading and file sharing. If there’s a grocery store, and you grab milk and eggs without paying for them, how long will the farmer, the trucker and the grocer stay open?
Ross: But do you think file sharing is the only thing responsible for the downfall of the industry?
Simmons: Yes. Legislation is far behind. It’s like someone coming into your home and taking your stuff. Washington understands invention and patents, but copyright they’re oblivious to.
Ross: How does an emerging artist succeed in today’s music environment?
Simmons: My heart goes out to them because it’s almost impossible. There’s a handful of YouTube stars, but you don’t see the hundreds of thousands of carcasses that are littered, the failures. So you see one kid with 30 million followers, but you don’t see the other people who have never made it. Whereas when there was a record industry, you could have hundreds of bands with platinum records.
Darren Paltrowitz | San Diego Union-Tribune
Gene Simmons has made headlines with the unveiling of his Gene Simmons Vault. Arguably the largest box set ever released by a musician, the Vault weighs around 40 pounds and features 150 previously unreleased recordings from the KISS co-founder. Simmons has further made things interesting by agreeing to hand deliver a Vault to anyone willing to pay $2,000; the most expensive Gene Simmons Vault package includes the option of hosting Simmons at your home – alongside 25 other people – for two hours for $50,000.
Beyond his musical successes, Simmons is also one of the founders of the casual eatery Rock & Brews. Founded in 2012 along with KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley, Rock & Brews now has 17 restaurants around the United States and Mexico. The music-friendly establishment also has a casino in the works. Aside from Rock & Brews, Simmons is rumored to have a line of beverages in the works.
On behalf of The Daily Meal, I had the pleasure of asking Simmons some food-related questions in-person at The London Hotel.
The Daily Meal: Where did the idea for Rock & Brews come from?
Gene Simmons: The idea for Rock & Brews came from a gentleman named Dave Furano, who is the brother of Dell Furano. He has been our licensing and merchandising guy for various companies and eventually settling on Epic Rights. They do us, Barbra Streisand, AC/DC, merchandising. It was his brother who came from the same world who had an idea about an eatery that combines classic rock and roll. I will tell you we are only a few years old, but there are already two at Rock & Brews in LAX, two at Cabo, Hawaii and more spread across America. We even broke ground on Rock & Brews Casino Resort in Oklahoma and there are more coming.
That was my next question, about the casino…
Oh that’s coming. Not only that but our casino at the largest Indian casino resort, the San Manuel Tribe… We have the Rock & Brews Casino Resort within the San Manuel Casino resort, so it’s all going gangbusters.
And of course, if you are just tuning in late, find out all the latest and the greatest on the largest box set of all time. I mean this is badass, I am so proud of this and I’ve got to mention there are secret drawers where you press, it opens up and there are personal items that I put in there. These box sets are another animal all together. It doesn’t look like one, it doesn’t move like one. It’s much heavier, it’s much bigger, it’s just everything I have ever dreamed of so I am proud of it.
At Rock & Brews, do you have a favorite item on the menu?
Yeah, my downfall is sweets, unfortunately. I’ve got to watch my girlish figure, so I’m just eating protein, no carbs. But my favorite thing, they call them beignets or bread pudding. Continue reading
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