Mike Ragogna från The Affington Post gjorde en intervju med Gene Simmons, där de pratade om Guitar Hero, Ljudformat, KISS, Simmons Universal m.m. läs den här:
Mike Ragogna: Hey Gene, how are you?
Gene Simmons: I’m deliriously happy.
MR: Why didn’t you let your daughter keep her pony?
GS: There are Beverly Hills ordinances that I wasn’t aware of. You aren’t allowed to keep farm animals that poop bigger than a certain size. Do you believe that?
MR: (laughs) No, I can’t believe that.
GS: It’s actually true. Dog poop is a certain size, but once it gets past a certain size, supposedly, there are health hazards. So, we had to move the horse past Malibu.
MR: I’m sorry to hear that. Did the horse live happily ever after?
GS: Oh yeah, happier there than in Beverly Hills.
MR: Sweet. With regards to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, is it easy or hard for you to transform yourself from an everyday person into a savior of rock ‘n’ roll?
GS: When you dare dream the impossible dream, then you can unleash the inner rock star inside of you. We all had these kinds of notions when we were kids, especially guys. We all put towels around our necks and tried to fly through the air, or imagined we were Harry Potter if we’re young enough. We all want to sort of defy gravity and scale Mt. Olympus, and very few things enable you to do that. 3D takes you close, but your body is motionless while your mind takes you. When you sit in those Disney amusement park rides, you get King Kong coming at you, but you’re sitting still. This, for me, is a labor of love. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is like this full body experience, where you get to not just imagine what it feels like to be a rock star, but you become the rock star, if you will, within you. Because physically, you’re playing a guitar, you’re trying to keep up with this great music you’re hearing. Visually, you’re trying to keep up with what’s going on onstage, and there’s an evolution, kind of a metamorphosis; the musician becomes a demi-god. I saw a close to finished version of it and it rocks.
MR: Now, you held a press conference at Pop Sound Studios about your part in the game. Were people amazed at the end result?
GS: Yeah. People think, ”How does he have time to do this?” because tomorrow, I’m physically in Toronto, and today I’m in Los Angeles. Tomorrow, I’m playing onstage with KISS, and here I’m talking about Guitar Hero. But you know, life is short and you should make time for the things that you think are cool. I don’t know how else to put it, but Guitar Hero rocks.
MR: What KISS song is featured in the game?
GS: ”Love Gun.” Also you’ll be able to hear Offspring, Queen, and a whole slew of artists. But everything from A to Z is all rock–there’s not a rapper, there’s no cowboy hats…
MR: So, where is rock and roll heading?
GS: It’s going to depend on who’s going to carry the mantle. It’s like, ”Who’s going to wear the crown, and are you worth it?” It’s going to depend on that next fifteen-year old kid, guy or girl, in a garage. Do they have something to say and do they know how to say it? Can you spread your legs wide enough to hold that rock star, Jesus Christ pose?
MR: (laughs) I thought you were going elsewhere with that. What bands do you currently think are great rock bands?
GS: I like The Envy, which is about to come out with their first record on Simmons Universal (laughs). We believe in that band, and that’s going to happen big. I’m also a fan of The Muse. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re big in England and starting to make headway here–by the way, they’re in Guitar Hero. For those that don’t know, they’re sort of Queen-like and a combination of other things. There are a lot of really good new bands, but it’s going to depend on them and whether they’re willing to pick up the challenge and go where no band has gone before. That’s the only way they’re going to be able to make any mark.
MR: You mentioned Simmons Universal. You have a label coming through Universal, right?
MR: And what kind of acts are on it?
GS: It doesn’t matter, it’s just got to work. Mostly there has to be guitars in the band. I don’t want a synthesizer band. You can have a synth in the band, but it’s got to be driven by guitar. The heartbeat of all of it started a long time ago with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Unless you’re singing stuff that connects with the joys of life–good food, sexy people, living life to its fullest–then it’s just kind of dreary. I don’t want to do Seattle music. I’m actually happy to be alive.
MR: What are your thoughts on music video games in general, you know, like Guitar Hero?
GS: Well, I think Guitar Hero is head, hands, and feet above the rest simply because it allows you to kind of, not morph, but metamorph or evolve into the inner rock star in you. My favorite thing about it, though, is that it’s a full body experience. Your imagination goes, you hear the music that surrounds you, the visual surrounds you, and you become a part of it.
MR: Can the case be made that somebody who plays Guitar Hero might be inspired to pick up a guitar and learn how to play the actual instrument?
GS: The answer is yes. More importantly, it self empowers you, and you are in control of your own destiny. How many places in life do you get to do that?
MR: What are you listening to right now, what’s on your iPod?
GS: I don’t listen to iPod; I find it insulting because bands, and I’m in one, spend so much time and money making sure that it sounds great, and then you hear it through the asshole of a fly. It’s such an insulting way to do it. It’s like watching movies on your handheld devices, what a f**king insult to the movie makers, and the sound guys, and technicians who spend so much time lighting stuff so that their stuff can be squashed to the size of a potato chip. I use handheld devices for communication, not for looking at art or listening to music.
MR: Wasn’t that the same complaint when we moved from analog to digital, from records to CDs?
GS: Yeah, I don’t like it. Just because something is easier doesn’t mean it’s better. I also like leftover food as opposed to fresh food because the spaghetti gets to talk with the meatball, and it’s just more scrumptious. That’s what marination is, ”Oh, I just put some fresh wine on it.” I’ll say, ”No, let it soak, it’ll taste better.”
MR: Now, you’re no stranger to games. I remember you had one of the most popular pinball machines of all time.
GS: It is the most popular one of all time, the KISS Bally machine was the biggest.
MR: They came to you and asked you to be a part of Guitar Hero, right?
GS: Yes they did.
MR: What was your first reaction?
GS: First reaction was, ”Cool.” To be quite honest, they’re not going to be able to make me rich, it’s too late for that. So, the only reason for doing stuff is if you think it’s cool. I don’t know how to describe it other than saying Guitar Hero rocks.
MR: And it’s so involved, with all the different levels, pods, all that.
GS: There are one thousand variations, can you imagine? One thousand variations of where you can go, where you can wind up, and where you can fall flat on your face, and the musical choices and the physicality of it really makes it a full body experience.
MR: Gene, are you good at it?
GS: I’m horrible, that’s why I want to keep playing it. Before I whip it out, as the phrase goes, at a party or an event I want to be good at it. So, that’s why I’m getting one of the first ones that are coming out. We’re just doing the last vocal, and the PR campaign stuff, but I’m getting one of the first ones off the racks to quietly go over in a corner and practice. I can’t say, ”That’s me. That’s the voice. I’m the demigod.” ”Well, how do you play?” ”Umm, not so good.”
I can’t do that. I’ve got to win, got to be cool. That’s what I suggest to everybody: Get yours, and get your free Soundgarden album because the nice folks at Guitar Hero, believe it or not, are giving the whole album free, as an extra. I would go off, if I were you, and practice on your own, so, when you’re at a party and someone says, ”How did you get so good?” You can say, ”You know, some people are just born with it. Some people are just born rock stars.”
MR: KISS is on tour?
GS: We’ve been on tour for two-and-a-half years, pretty much, on and off.
MR: Are you working on a new KISS project?
GS: Oh, God, there are so many. Go into a 7-11 or a supermarket, or drive down the highways of America and you’ll see us.
MR: Okay. More specifically, is there a new album in the works?
GS: There will be, we just need time to breathe.
MR: Right. Now, we started out talking about something that happened on your show, Family Jewels. Are there any more seasons?
GS: Season six starts shooting next month. We’re the longest running reality series, we’re in eighty-four countries, (sings) and a partridge in a pear tree.
MR: (laughs) Nice. Is the show going to feature you playing Guitar Hero in any of the episodes?
GS: Am I going to feature Guitar Hero in our TV show?
GS: It depends, if they buy on, yes.
MR: (laughs) Leaving aside the iPod, what are you listening to, music-wise, right now?
GS: You know, I listen to more new music than almost anyone I know because I get one thousand demos, on average, per month. So, I really do listen to new music…in fact, newer music than the people who listen to music because I get it before it winds up on a label.
MR: Are you listening in the context of finding bands for Simmons Universal?
MR: Do you have a roster that’s already set?
GS: The Envy is our first act, but we’re closing in on three more. You can go to simmonsrecords.com and get the lowdown.
MR: KISS has been one of the biggest franchises of all time.
GS: No other music franchise touches it. We outsell The Beatles and Elvis put together.
MR: I know somebody interested in buying a KISS casket with the fireworks.
GS: The next generation of that is coming out. The first generation sold out, you can’t find them.
MR: (laughs) Yeah?
GS: The KISS condoms are coming back, too. The condoms were sold out as well. Did you ever notice that it says made in Jamaica? Oh, yours doesn’t roll out that far? See, that was a joke.
GS: That was a joke.
MR: (laughs) Yes, yes, and a fine one. You were on Shatner’s Raw Nerve, right?
GS: Yes, I did one.
MR: What was that like?
GS: Well, Bill asks people questions that are sometimes surprising, and he actually got me. He asked about my mother, and what the immigrant experience was like coming to America, and where I came from, and stuff that you usually don’t talk about in interviews.
MR: I was just curious about that.
GS: Trust me, I’m fascinating.
MR: You are, sir. I’ll say you were fascinating even as a sea monster in SpongeBob SquarePants.
GS: Yes, I did SpongeBob. We also did The Fairly OddParents one hour premier, KISS did two Family Guys, where KISS saves Santa Claus. I think I did Mrs. Claus. Anywhere, anytime, all places, all things for everybody.
MR: Once you’re a cartoon character, how do you go back?
GS: Well, I also created My Dad The Rock Star, which was on Nickelodeon, and around the world for twenty-six episodes. How do you go back? You try to be all things to everybody.
MR: It’s clear you’ve got acting chops. Where did they come from?
GS: I have no clue. I think there must be a loose screw someplace because the tendency for most people is to throw up when they get up onstage because they get judged. I think I’d throw up if I wasn’t on stage and I wasn’t getting judged.
MR: Which takes us to what advice do you have for new artists?
GS: There’s no advice you can give because every artist is unique. There’s no paint-by-numbers road to success, and no ten easy steps to follow that will make you succeed. First, it will start with you, and what you’ve got. Then, the other three are the right thing, at the right place, at the right time.