Rocker Gene Simmons once talked Eddie Van Halen out of joining Kiss by insisting the guitar great would be miserable as Ace Frehley's replacement. The bass player tells Guitar World magazine that Van Halen came close to leaving his namesake band and joining KISS in the early 1980s following a series of spats with frontman David Lee Roth.
Simmons recalls, "He was so unhappy about how he and Roth were - or weren't - getting along. He couldn't stand him. And drugs were rampant."
The guitarist invited Simmons out for dinner in New York to sound him out about the possibility of him becoming a member of KISS, but the Detroit Rock City hitmaker told Van Halen his band wasn't big enough for the both of them - and singer Paul Stanley.
Simmons says, "I told him, 'Eddie, there's not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You're not going to be happy in Kiss'. I talked him out of it. It didn't fit."
Instead, Vinnie Vincent, who joined the rock icons for their dinner date, signed on as KISS' new guitarist.
Kiss star Gene Simmons has revealed that he and Paul Stanley turned their backs on the chance to perform at the upcoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony after learning museum bosses only wanted to honour the original members of the group. The bass player tells Entertainment Weekly Radio that he and Stanley spoke to former bandmates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss after learning they had been inducted at last, and the foursome had agreed that they would all accept the honour, but the current KISS line-up, featuring Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, would perform at the Barclays Center ceremony in New York on 10 April (14).
But then Hall of Fame officials made it clear they only wanted the original line-up onstage.
Simmons says, "Paul and I got on the phone and called Ace and Peter: 'Hey, congratulations. It was an honour to stand alongside you then and we’ll be proud to stand alongside of you at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to accept the award'. And they were gracious and happy... and we went off our separate ways (sic).
"And then we found out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will only be honouring the original line-up, with Ace, Peter, Paul and myself, and we said, ‘Oh, OK then, we won’t be playing there. We’ll just accept the award. Thank you very much'. And they go, 'What are you talking about?’ and I said, ‘Well, you have a group like the Eagles, who continue to be our contemporaries... and every member that has even been in the Eagles has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but you’re only gonna honour the first line-up that was together for seven years? We’ve been around 40 years!'
"Tommy and Eric have been in the band 20 years - two and a half times longer than Ace and Peter. You’re going to slap them in the face and we’re supposed to get... get up onstage and do it? No, that’s not going to happen."
He adds, "Imagine you’re being invited to be inducted at an award ceremony and you get to bring only the first person you ever went out with in your life. The one, your beloved right now? She can’t come, or he can’t come. They get to stay home, they don’t get honoured'... That’s not going to fly."
KISS will be inducted alongside Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt and Hall & Oates, among the Class of 2014.
Kiss stars Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are hoping to create a brand new sports anthem for their Arena Football League team L.A. Kiss. The duo, who have heavily invested in the new sports franchise, unveiled the team's uniforms and cheerleaders at a launch in Anaheim, California on Monday (10Mar14), and singer Stanley revealed his latest venture had inspired a songwriting surge.
He says, "We are planning to come up with something that will be the battle cry; something that will represent not only the team, but will represent the fans. We want the fans to have a song, or a melody or a battle cry that they can participate in... We can’t win without those people."
The L.A. Kiss will play all home games at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The team will be coached by sports veteran Bob McMillen.
KISS are also planning to perform a special concert at the arena for fans of the team.
Kiss bandmates Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are expanding their Rock & Brews restaurant brand after announcing plans to open new diners in Kansas and Oklahoma. The rock icons opened their first Rock & Brews in Los Angeles last year (13), and they currently have three restaurants, including one at LAX airport's Terminal 5, and locations in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Paia on Maui.
New Rock & Brews restaurants are in development in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and Texas, and Stanley and Simmons have signed a franchise agreement for five new sites, with the first set to open Overland Park in Kansas in May (14).
The KISS stars will officially launch the new restaurant on 29 May (14) with a luncheon for wounded warriors and war veterans.
Rockers Kiss have pulled the plug on a performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in April (14), because the original bandmates can't find a way to work together. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons reportedly cannot agree on which line-up should perform during the 10 April (14) ceremony in New York City, and so they've opted not to play at all.
The news comes just days after frontman Stanley revealed he is unimpressed with the band's upcoming induction - because he believes Hall of Fame executives voted the rockers in "begrudgingly".
The singer and his bandmates are part of the Class of 2014 being inducted into the Ohio music mecca in April (14), but he insists he isn't exactly celebrating - because KISS should already be there.
He told Classic Rock magazine, "It (induction) was done begrudgingly and because it had become absolutely ludicrous that they were choosing to ignore us... Was it an honour to be nominated? No. It means a lot to the fans and I understand it because it's validation for them. So, for that reason, I accept graciously and accept on their behalf, (but) my feelings and my ambivalence about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hasn't changed any."
He also warned fans not to expect a performance onstage at the ceremony, especially one that includes original members Peter Kriss and Ace Frehley.
He states, "Honestly, I have no plans at the moment to do anything, and that includes playing with Ace and Peter or anyone else. My plan at the moment is to go and accept the award. Anything else, we'll see how it unfolds or unravels."
Guitarist Frehley had previously expressed an interest in performing at the ceremony, but he stated he refuses to be an add-on to the current KISS line-up.
And now it appears that problem has cost KISS a performance slot.
Announcing the decision not to play on the band's website on Sunday (23Feb14), Stanley and Simmons write: "It's an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.
"Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of Kiss and give credit to all members, including longtime present members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, and additionally Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr all who have made this band what it is, regardless of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame's point of view.
"Although Kiss has moved forward far longer without them, Ace and Peter are at the very foundation of what we have built and this would all be impossible had they not been a part of it in the beginning.
"It is over 13 years since the original lineup has played together in makeup and we believe the memory of those times would not be enhanced. To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up, and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame."
Frehley pre-empted the announcement on Friday night (21Feb14) when he called into Eddie Trunk's syndicated radio show, and revealed Simmons and Stanley had rejected reunion plans with the original four members for the induction ceremony.
He said, "They just shot down any type of reunion with us. It's very frustrating. It's what the fans wanted, it's what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wanted, and it's not gonna happen. You don't want to do something for the fans after 40 years of them supporting you?"
Kiss rocker Gene Simmons is heading back to reality TV for a new show about his efforts to build an arena football team in Los Angeles. The bass player and his bandmate Paul Stanley became owners of new sporting franchise Los Angeles KISS last year (13) and now Simmons' first attempt at running a team is to be captured on camera for U.S. cable network AMC.
The untitled series will be the rock star's first reality TV show since Gene Simmons Family Jewels ended after seven seasons.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
There is a certain level of enjoyment you are guaranteed when signing on for a movie that boasts a cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. And that's the precise level of enjoyment you'll get from The Monuments Men — that bare minimum smirk factor inherent the idea that your favorite stars are getting to play together. In FDR-era army helmets, no less. But what we also get from the film is an aura of smug self-confidence from project captain Clooney, who seems all too ready to take for granted that we're perfectly satisfied peering into his backyard clubhouse.
So assured is the director/co-writer that we're happy to be in on the game that there doesn't seem to be any effort taken to refine the product for the benefit of a viewing audience. An introductory speech from art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets up the premise straight away: the Nazis are stealing and destroying all of Europe's paintings and sculptures, and by gum we need to stop them! The concept doesn't complicate from there, save for a batting back and forth of the throughline question about whether the preservation of these pieces is "really worth it." Stokes rallies his own Ocean's Seven on a fine arts rescue mission, instigating an old fashioned go-get-'em-boys montage where we learn everything we need to know about the band mates in question: Damon has a wife, Goodman has gumption, Murray doesn't smile, Bob Balaban is uppity, and Jean Dujardin is French.
The closest thing to a character in The Monuments Men comes in the form of Hugh Bonneville, a recovering alcoholic whose motivation to take on the dangerous mission is planted in a festering desire to absolve himself of a lifetime of f**king up. When we're away from Bonneville, the weight disspears, as does most of the joy. Without identifiable characters, even master funnymen like Goodman, Murray, and Balaban don't have much to offer... especially since the movie's jokes feel like first draft placeholders born on a tired night.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
But wait a minute, is this even supposed to be a comedy? After all, it's about World War II. And no matter what Alexandre Desplat's impossibly merry score would have you believe (coupled with The Lego Movie, this opening weekend might be responsible for more musical jubilance than any other since the days of "Make 'Em Laugh!"), warfare, genocide, and desecration of international culture all make for some pretty heavy material. But The Monuments Men's drama is just as fatigued as its humor, clumsily piecing together a collection of mini missions wherein the stakes, somehow, never seem to jump. We're dragged through military bases, battered towns, and salt mines by Clooney and the gang — occasionally jumping over to France to watch Damon work his least effective magic in years on an uptight Cate Blanchett, who holds the key to the scruffy American's mission but doesn't quite trust him... until, for no apparent reason, she suddenly does. We never feel like any of these people matter, not even to each other, so we never really feel like their adventures do.
The Monuments Men doesn't have much of a challenge ahead of it. Its heroes are movie stars, its bad guys are Nazis, and its message is one that nobody's going to refute: art is important — a maxim it pounds home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, through countless scenes of men staring in awe at the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. And in this easy endeavor, Clooney decides to coast. How could it possibly go wrong? Just grab hold of the fellas, toss 'em in the trenches, and let the laughs and danger write themselves. "This is what they came to see," Monuments Men insists. "Just us guys havin' a ball." But we never feel in on the game, and it isn't one that looks like that much fun anyhow.
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In just about every one of Kevin Hart's scenes in Ride Along, there's a joke that is just aching to find its way out of the diminutive, rascally comic actor. Hart is a small-scale physical comedian — of the same ilk as Jack Black — who puts nuclear-degree energy into his facial contortions, anatomical outbursts, and the delivery of every gag in general. If only he had material that was crafted with the same energy.
Unfortunately, nothing else about Ride Along seems at all "hard at work." Not the script, which pads a lifeless story with lazy comedy, and certainly not his screen partner Ice Cube, whose only stage direction seems to be "frown, and be taller than Kevin Hart." So lifeless is Ice Cube that even his machismo-obsessed straight man bit doesn't really work. Instead of the virile and intimidating "bad cop," he comes off as a disapproving middle aged dad without much to show for his own life.
But the script pairs the wily, overzealous high school security guard and video game junkie Ben (Hart) with no-nonsense lawman James (Ice Cube) on the titular ride along, with the scrappy cop-wannabe hoping to prove to the force veteran that he's good enough to marry the latter's younger sister. In earnest, he's not. Ben never puts any respectable effort into learning the tools of the trade, insisting on employing his amateur style and controlling the radio despite his proclamations that he wants, and deserves, James' trust. And James is no saint either — he's irresponsible on crime scenes, violent with perps, and disgruntled to the point of being unable to work with anybody else on the force. These are not good police officers... of course, you'll say, this is a comedy. But where are the laughs, then?
They're not absent entirely, you just have to look for them. In a movie so focused with big, broad humor, it's the smaller comedy that actually lands best. Hart's background mutterings and fumblings, his emoticon-laden texts to girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter, whose only stage direction seems to be "smile, and never wear a full outfit of clothing"), and a bizarre repetition of the word "weird" from supporting player John Leguizamo. All good for unexpected chuckles, while jokes like Hart facing off with a pre-teen or being blown backwards into a brick wall after firing a large gun are all lazy, familiar, and flat.
Structurally, the script is a mess. Ride Along spends far too much time on set up — we get it, Hart and his soon-to-be-brother-in-law Ice Cube don't get along — and far too much time on wrap-up — there's a gigantic, dramatic warehouse shootout that, in any other movie, would be the climax, but there's plenty more to go after that — without any cohesive middle to make the movie feel like... a movie.
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Hart, who leaps at every comic opportunity like a kangaroo (wallaby would be more appropriate), is suited just right for a buddy cop comedy, but he needs something fresh with which to work — a real character, an interesting story, actually funny jokes. Even just one of these would be fine!
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Rockers Kiss played a surprise gig for unsuspecting fans at the former home of iconic New York music venue Cbgb to kick off designer John Varvatos' Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. The veteran musicians recently took over the punk mecca, which has been turned into a boutique for the acclaimed designer, and performed Rock & Roll All Nite and C'mon and Love Me in full make-up for style fans who were simply told to turn up for a secret "intimate performance".
In a video short posted online, bassist Gene Simmons and singer/guitarist Paul Stanley prepare for the intimate show in front of just 200 fans.
Stanley says, "Any time somebody suits up... whether it's for battle, you're getting ready to go to a war of sorts.
"You want to win. This is my battle gear; this is my war paint. I go up there to have a great time, but I'm dead serious, with all guns loaded and a six-string guitar that can kill."
Simmons adds, "I probably have a loose screw someplace in my head. Otherwise I wouldn't be wearing more make-up and high heels than your mommy. Boy, do I look good!"
Last Saturday (11Jan14), KISS turned heads at Varvatos' show during Milan Fashion Week in Italy by walking the runway in sharp designer suits.
In April (14), KISS will be back in the Big Apple for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The rockers will be part of the museum's Class of 2014.
Veteran rockers Kiss donned their iconic band make-up and sharp suits to walk the runway for designer John Varvatos at a fashion show in Italy. The group, led by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, made an unannounced appearance during Varvatos' menswear show at Milan Fashion Week on Saturday night (11Jan14).
KISS have shot a new advertising campaign for Varvatos, and frontman Stanley admits they are all big fans of the designer's work, saying, "John Varvatos is a good friend who does rock 'n' roll clothes. His new campaign is based around KISS. Beautiful style does not depend on fashion - fashion is temporary and is about creating a market to sell clothes. Style is timeless.
"If you look at the rock stars of the Sixties and Seventies, they weren't dressed by designers. They went to thrift shops, they went to the Salvation Army."