The boys are playing but they just can’t find the sound.
KISS fans—I mean die-hard high-rankers in the KISS ARMY—are a very forgiving lot, and there’s something to be said for a band that can generate generations of such zealous fans that will defend every dicey step from, say, Music From The Elder to KISS Rock And Brews restaurant to fake stand-ins for Peter and Ace. These hardcores will think nothing of paying a thousand dollar ticket to go on a KISS Kruise, or spending $2000 for a 38-pound box set of Gene Simmons solo tracks (insert Gene Simmons voiceover: “Now available at Gene Simmons Vault Dot Com.”)
Some of these fans recently ordered the said Gene Simmons Vault Experience boxset, paying the premium to have the set (or sets) hand-delivered by Gene himself. This in-person meet-and-greet/hangout, according to Simmons’ website costs $50,000. We are assuming that the video recording posted below would have cost some fan or fans the full asking price, unless there was some sort of deal negotiated—but we all know what a shrewd businessman Mr. Simmons is.
The KISS fans assembled here got, what would ostensibly be a very special treat—an acoustic jam session with both Gene and (estranged KISS member) Ace Frehley. Unfortunately, what is actually on display here is the worst guitar dick-around imaginable. Picture those dudes you knew from your dorm in college who would get together to fart around on acoustic guitars but they could never actually get in the same key or play an entire song together and it would just annoy the piss out of everyone—except those 2 dudes are almost 70 (and used to be in the hottest band in the world.)
Quite simply, Gene and Ace can’t get their shit together on this—at all. Well, Gene has his shit together a bit more because he’s been a performing musician non-stop for over 40 years—Ace, on the other hand, seems to have a rough go of it. Part of this could be blamed on the fact that the instrument and amp provided could not give him the sustain offered by distortion. Watching this video, you’d never guess these guys had EVER played in a band together. The pair attempts to fumble their way through some Who, Stones, and Beatles covers in addition to fucking up their own songs. To say that this is merely “bad” is an understatement. It’s a straight-up embarrassment, but something tells me the fans gathered for this did not mind one bit. KISS fans, like I said, are very forgiving. The fans probably did, at the very least, enjoy the cordial rapport between Gene and Ace—somewhat surprising given the fact that Gene has said a lot of un-nice things about Ace in print over the years.
Gene has said in interviews throughout KISS’ career that his mission was to provide the best show imaginable to his fans and to give them their money’s worth. And, certainly, KISS in their heyday always did that. But one must wonder if the idea of mortality is catching up with Mr. Simmons and he’s realizing that his chances for one last great cash-grab are dwindling. Because the performance in this video is certainly not worth $50,000.
You be the judge. What price would you put on THIS?:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
KISS 1975 vs KISS in 2015: Do they owe it to their fans to remain ‘cool’?