Ryan Ermey | Kiplinger
Even if you don’t know Gene Simmons’s music, chances are you know his face—the one he’s trademarked, anyway. The Kiss cofounder and bassist has established a personal brand that encompasses everything from his band’s thousands of licensed products to his co-ownership of an Arena Football League team called the LA Kiss.
Simmons’s latest venture is a money book titled Me, Inc. (Dey Street Books, $27). In it, he explains his branding strategy, a message sure to resonate with anyone looking for a job in today’s market. The philosophy in a nutshell: Never forget that marketing yourself is every bit as important as what you bring to the table. “If a vacuum cleaner salesman rings at your front door, he will be selling himself first. The vacuum cleaner is secondary,” Simmons writes.
The ambitious book covers other money topics, too, including investing, saving and home buying. Simmons says he set out to write an abridged version of all the money advice you never learned in school. “They don’t teach you how to pay taxes, earn a living and invest,” he says. “They teach you Columbus discovered America in 1492. Great. I’m prepared for life now.”
But the book addresses these subjects mostly with familiar financial platitudes. Simmons tells you to live within your means and riffs on Poor Richard’s Almanack (two pennies saved is one penny earned post-tax). Don’t expect more than the Cliff’s Notes version of personal finance. When Simmons does go into detail, he occasionally appears a little out of his depth. Sure, you shouldn’t buy a house you can’t afford, but if everyone waited to amass a net worth four times the value of the home they want to buy, as Simmons recommends, it would spell the end of homeownership as we know it. His idea of a diversified investment portfolio quickly devolves from stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average to penny stocks.
With Me, Inc., Simmons offers a glimpse into the financial mind of a rock legend. But don’t quit your (many) day jobs, Gene. Leave financial advice to the pros.
Matt Wardlaw | Ultimate Classic Rock
Thirty years ago this month, Bruce Kulick became the newest guitarist in Kiss. What would ultimately become an exciting 12-year ride with the group started off with some specific marching orders from Paul Stanley that Kulick really took to heart.
“Paul told me that he wanted me to play competitively with everybody that’s out there now,” Kulick tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “Alright, it’s 1984, well that means Van Halen has been famous for four or five years right? I don’t need to mention all the other bands that started to get out there with guitar players that are a lot more flashy than what a typical ‘70s guitar player would be. He wanted me to be able to do it all, and I know he had the right guy. I got what he meant. If the song meant do the finger tapping, do the whammy bar, go! Do it! If it meant just lay back and hold that one note, do that.
“So I really think it worked and it was a healthy 12 years for me and [there was] respect for me from those guys because I did have a lot of versatility as a player,” Kulick adds, “and I could adjust to both — respecting the past and working with the band to be wherever that next step was where they were going. Because you know every band has that evolution, and I feel like I was the right guitarist for that.”
Kulick had also taken notes on the guitarists who came before him. He factored that into his approach, as well. “I had respect for Mark St. John, even though I knew where he came from, what his musical vocabulary was and the players that he loved and listened to — and I was very shocked they chose him,” Kulick says. “Because he was into Alan Holdsworth, a brilliant guitar player. He was into John McLaughlin. He was into these more very fusion-jazz shredders, that I was like, ‘That’s not Kiss!’
“You know, just like you know that Steve Vai could certainly play anything any Kiss guitar player ever played. The guy is like an alien on the guitar. Would he work in Kiss? Of course not. It’s not needed. That kind of ability isn’t really the right match. Was he right for David Lee Roth? Yeah. He can add a twist — since who did David Lee Roth just play with not that long ago? Eddie Van Halen. So everything that a Vai can do, would it work in Kiss? No way. Gene [Simmons] likes to tell that [story] when Eddie was disgruntled with the band and he was unhappy with David and he goes, ‘I wanna be in your band!’ [Laughs.] You know what I mean? Come on. Yeah, he could kick ass on Kiss songs.
“You know, he was absolutely my hero for the flashy side of what I needed to bring to Kiss when they were looking for that, because Eddie, his vibrato and his approach to melodic guitar playing, it’s completely taken on a high-octane level from Eric Clapton,” Kulick says. “You hear it in his vibrato and his choice of notes. He forged a very unique kind of hot rod, super-charged, California, Pasadena, rock and roll style of guitar playing. But if he had never heard Eric Clapton, I don’t even know what Eddie would sound like, you know what I mean? But because in the same way that I could relate to Eddie, I could hear the Jimmy Page, I could hear that he listened to [Jimi] Hendrix, I could hear it in his choices.
“Because, you know, there’s only so many notes in a scale, and how many notes a guitar player can play,” Kulick says. “But the guitar’s a very unique instrument with so much nuance on how you bend the string, how you pull down, how you pick it. If you want to play behind the nut like Jimmy Page, if you want to whammy bar it — whatever. I knew what Ace [Frehley] was about, even though I think he was an extremely unique player — which is why I’m kind of relieved that I didn’t have to really mimic him. He had a certain kind of approach that I could kind of do my way but I didn’t have to imitate it exactly.”
Bruce Kulick ultimately played on five studio albums during his time with Kiss, but we wanted to focus in on the beginnings of his personal “Kisstory.” Here’s Part 1 of our talk …
Read More: 30 Years Later, Bruce Kulick Looks Back On Joining Kiss – Exclusive Interview | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/bruce-kulick-interview-part-one-2014/?trackback=tsmclip
I start 2015 by looking back at 2014. 2014 is marked as the year that I was lucky enough to meet the entire original and current lineup of KISS. I’m beyond lucky, I hope 2015 treats me this well…
Matthew Wilkening | Ultimate Classic Rock
Kiss and Momorio Clover Z have unveiled a 50-second video featuring what appears to be part of their upcoming collaborative single ‘Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina,’ which is due to be released on Jan. 28.
The highly colorful video blends animation with scenes of the Japanese girl group seemingly preparing for battle against their much larger and even more ornately dressed American counterparts. Unless Gene Simmons‘ voice has changed dramatically since the last time we saw Kiss in concert, Momorio Clover Z is handling all the vocals on this clip.
The song is one of two that Kiss frontman Paul Stanley co-wrote for this collaboration. The second, ‘SAMURAI SON,’ will appear on the ‘Kiss Version’ of the single’s two CD releases. Momorio Clover Z will also be opening for Kiss at their March 3 show at the Tokyo Dome, part of the band’s extended 2015 trek through Japan, South America and Europe.
Artisan News Service
Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley has had a big 2014 with a tour and a new album Space Invader, and he talked with Artisan News about his guitar style and the technique that sets him apart from other players.
In 1976, Ibanez approached Kiss frontman Paul Stanley to collaborate on a signature guitar that would become the instrument with which he would be forever associated.
Now, for the first time since 1996, Paul and Ibanez have reunited to re-issue three exciting new versions of the original Paul Stanley Signature Model.
“Renewing my collaboration with Ibanez feels like going home to where it all started,” Stanley said. “The guitars we created remain iconic and we will celebrate them and more as we move forward into our future together.”
“We’re very excited to be partnering again with Paul Stanley,” said Ibanez Artist Relations Manager Mike Taft. “It’s been an amazing year for Paul and the band, including the release of his best-selling autobiography, the band’s long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the ongoing world tour to commemorate their 40th anniversary together.
“I couldn’t think of a better time for Paul to reunite with Ibanez. Along with their distinctive styling, these historic instruments have proven themselves on albums and in concert worldwide, where their sound has made them sought after by guitarists for decades.”
Stay tuned for more details soon!
Dave Lifton | 1037 The Loon
In 1974, 10 years before he joined Kiss, Bruce Kulick was in a band with two friends, and now the music they made is about to get a wider release. You can check out the teaser video for the project above.
Kulick first issued the six songs by KKB — named after Kulick, Mike Katz and Guy Bois — in 2008 in a limited numbered run of 1,000 CDs. As he explained on his Facebook page, “Since then, Mike Katz, our singer and principal writer, found the original multitrack tapes we recorded in 1974. We discussed writing a new song and updating the mixes, with a vision of squeezing every bit of fidelity and spirit out of the performances. In early 2015, KKB will be released with a brand new song that will blow your mind, along with remixed versions of the original six songs and some more recently unearthed material as well. It was a long time ago, but the tracks still sound remarkably current.”
A few years after recording this music, Kulick joined Meat Loaf‘s touring band in support of ‘Bat Out of Hell.’ That was followed by a few years in Blackjack, Michael Bolton’s group before the singer became an adult-contemporary heartthrob. Kulick then spent more than a decade in Kiss, and since 2001 has been playing guitar in Grand Funk Railroad.
“Little did we realize life would never afford us the opportunity to do more with what we created,” Kulick said.
Kiss have announced plans to perform their 1975 gold-selling album ‘Alive!’ in full during next year’s Kiss Kruise.
The ‘Kruise’ takes place between October 30 and November 3 and sails between Miami and Jamaica.
As Gigwise reports, plans for the set have now been announced via the band’s website.
The statement reads, “The time has come to take on your next mission which will surely be the most epic adventure the high seas have ever seen – the Kiss Kruise V! We’re going back to the golden age when Kiss rose to prominence, taking the world by storm. What better way to celebrate the rise of these rock legends than to watch Kiss perform the very live album that launched them into greatness 40 years ago? Get ready to rock out to Kiss playing their first gold album Alive! in its entirety.”
This is the fifth year that the Gene Simmons-fronted band have run the cruise, which will also see performances from an as-yet-unannounced supporting bill.
Prices start from £548 for a two-berth cabin.
Meanwhile, the band recently announced that they were to collaborate with Japanese pop group Momoiro Clover Z.
The band will perform on the Japanese five piece’s single ‘Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina’, which is due to be released worldwide in January, with an alternate version also due to be included on Kiss’ forthcoming ‘Best Of Kiss 40′ compilation.
Rocker Gene Simmons has credited a fear of disappointing his mother with steering him away from drugs and alcohol.
The Kiss frontman insists he has never been drunk or gotten high because he always worried about his mom’s reaction.
He tells U.S. talk show host Wendy Williams, “My mother is actually my biggest inspiration. At 14 years of age she was in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and I’m an only child. Our father left us when I was about six or seven years old. I would never break her heart.”
However, Simmons admits he found other ways to indulge after deciding to stay away from drugs and booze his whole life, although his days as a ladies’ man are now firmly behind him, because he only has eyes for his wife, Shannon Tweed.
He continues, “I’ve been a jacka** most of my life… I have been self-absorbed all of my life, self-centered, arrogant, selfish and full of myself and it took the angel that walked into my life, Shannon…
“Part of the parcel of being a jacka** and not growing up to be a man is not realizing that the dream woman of your life was always there and it took 29 years for this jacka** to grow up and realize I have everything…”
Dave Lifton | Ultimate Classic Rock
Throughout the history of the animated series ‘Family Guy,’ Peter Griffin’s love of Kiss has often been worked into the plots. Now, the group has become a part of the show’s smartphone game, ‘Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff.’
“Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!” says the update’s description in Apple’s App Store. “’Tis the season of giving, unless you’re Peter Griffin,” For him, it’s the season of p—ing off the Giant Chicken and ruining Christmas. Lois and Santa need your help delivering a successful holiday season by decorating the town and making gifts.”
‘Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff’ allows fans to go on a variety of storylines that use the game’s characters and setting in the fictional town of Quahog, RI. It is available for both Apple and Google-powered devices. The game is free to download, but there are opportunities for in-app purchases. You can learn more at the game’s website.
KISS frontman Paul Stanley says that the band’s tumultuous “Farewell Tour“ in 2000 was nothing more than an attempt by the group to “put KISS out of its misery” after years of ego clashes and disagreements over songwriting credits between the band’s original members.
In 1996, the original KISS foursome regrouped and embarked on a massively successful world tour, which lasted a little over a year. Less than two years later, Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley made plans to the studio to record “Psycho Circus”, their first full studio album together since 1977′s “Love Gun”. (Peter was replaced by “ghost” drummer Anton Fig on all but one track on 1979′s “Dynasty”.) The results, however, fell far short of expectations, with Criss only playing drums on one song and Frehley appearing on two tracks.
“‘Psycho Circus’ was such a nightmare to make that it kind of turned me off to the whole idea of making another album,” Stanley said during a <a “href=”http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=593&pid” =473241″=”" target=”_blank”>recent appearance on “Talk Is Jericho“, the podcast of Chris Jericho, the world champion pro wrestler, actor, New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band FOZZY. “But then at some point I thought, I don’t want that to be our last album. It’s not a good memory. Although ‘Psycho Circus’ has turned out to be a great song; it’s terrific.
“Everything was wrong [during the making of 'Psycho Circus'].”
He continued: “The problem that I have is that people say, ‘Why don’t you stop bashing Ace?’ or ‘Why don’t you stop bashing Peter?’ And I go, ‘Well, if you ask the same questions, I have to give you the same answer.’ The answer’s not gonna change. Don’t ask the question, because the truth is the truth. It’s not a matter of wanting to bash somebody. I have to tell it the way it is.
Talk is Jericho
Original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley recently spoke to VH1 about how his fascination with sci-fi and astronomy formed his alter ego, Spaceman; having something to prove when creating his 1978 solo album; and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame controversy. You can watch the chat in three parts below.
After weeks of bad-mouthing each other in the press, the four original members of KISS were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello, with all four — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss — delivering warm, nostalgic and even sweet-natured speeches that put aside the simmering tensions for at least 12 minutes.
KISS did not perform — the Hall Of Fame wanted the original quartet only to play, while Simmons and Stanley insisted on the current lineup — which also includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer — performing as well. In the end nobody won that battle.
“The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was a great experience for me,” Frehley told VH1. “We could have been inducted fifteen years earlier, but we finally got inducted this year, in April. I know there was a little controversy going on preceding the event. Originally we were asked to perform, and at the last minute Paul and Gene decided that they didn’t wanna perform with me and Peter. Me and Peter were up for it. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was insisting that only the four original members perform. Paul and Gene opted not to do it. After forty years, they couldn’t give the fans fifteen minutes. Go figure. I think they’re gonna regret that decision.”
During a recent interview with KNPR News, Stanley was asked why he declined to perform with Criss and Frehley at the band’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. “It’s a tough question to answer, but there’s so much involved in it,” he replied. “Firstly, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame wanted nothing to do with us; they begrudgingly let us in. And my sense was that we were going to be a dog-and-pony show. They wanted to have the original guys play in the band, and all of us in makeup, and, quite honestly, I think it would have done the band a disservice. That lineup has not been together for 14 years, and physically, perhaps, wouldn’t have looked that great, and musically, undoubtedly, probably, would have sounded a bit suspect. So, to have people watch it on television and identify that as KISS because there’s four guys in makeup would not send a great signal to the people who are not following the band in its current permutation, or what it is today.”
For Pete Townshend, the whole Kiss thing couldn’t be more foreign. And not just because Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Co. wear such outlandish outfits. They simply have no connection to the UK stomping grounds that spawned the Who, he says.
“One thing that Kiss are absolutely, unquestionably not — in any sense, whatsoever — is European or English,” Townshend says, in a newly posted talk with Hazy Rock. “They are straight out of Creem magazine meets Las Vegas. Or New Orleans, even. There is a bit of New Orleans in it, a very American, kind of Mardi Gras thing. They couldn’t have happened here. They could maybe have happened in Berlin — in which case their music wouldn’t have been like their music. They would have looked like they looked, but they would have made different kind of music. They’re a very American phenomenon.”
That said, Pete Townshend admits that the on-stage garb baffled him, at least to begin with.