Kiss's Simmons blames media for ruining surprise
TORONTO - Kiss frontman Gene Simmons insists -- strongly -- that his fans in Oshawa, Ont., weren't being snubbed or overlooked when the band charted its upcoming North American tour.
The band had no intentions of going back on its agreement to give Oshawa a special show, to reward the city's fans for winning a contest on the official Kiss website.
Kiss had a surprise in mind for Oshawa all along, but the media crashed the party and ruined the idea, Simmons said Wednesday during a testy interview with The Canadian Press.
"I'm really pissed off at the media for creating this nonsense," a sharp-tongued Simmons said.
"Now the story's going to come out as a kind of, 'Gene is complaining about the media' (story) -- you're God damn right I am."
Earlier this year, Kiss asked fans to go to their website and vote for their hometown to be included in the band's next big tour, with the promise of a concert for the leading vote-getter.
Oshawa finished first among all cities, but when the dates for the "Kiss Alive 35" tour were announced this week, the city was left off the list, without explanation.
When asked to respond to the apparent snub, the band's management said the city was skipped for logistical reasons but promised Oshawa would get something special in the future.
Fans and politicians in Oshawa were outraged that they were skipped over, and the backlash eventually forced the band to announce it would play a show in the city after all on Oct. 7.
A concert, and a special event to launch the release of the band's new album, had been planned all along, but the media ruined the surprise for Oshawa by prematurely forcing the band to make the announcement, Simmons said.
The band clearly hinted that Oshawa would get its rightful due, he added, and suggested members of the media acted like petulant children by insisting to know all the details right away.
"We'll tell you when we're ready, not when you're ready, that's not how you do things," Simmons said.
"You have a birthday coming up and you want to know, 'What's my birthday present?' (No), settle down, take a pill, relax. We'll let you know what it is -- not when you want. It's show business."
He said the media didn't seek out reaction from Kiss before running their stories about an apparent Oshawa snub, although messages left by The Canadian Press with the band's management on Tuesday were not returned.
Many Kiss fans in Oshawa were up in arms over the lack of an announced date in their hometown but Simmons said they too should have trusted the band wouldn't let them down.
"Respectfully, the fans aren't qualified to understand how things are done ... (they) don't know how things work," he said.
"Since we're playing Toronto right down the street from Oshawa (the two cities are about a 45-minute drive apart on Highway 401) we didn't want Toronto to compete with Oshawa."
Oshawa Mayor John Gray was diplomatic in suggesting that the media coverage of the band's apparent no-show in the city was fair, but he's also just satisfied with the happy ending.
"The Kiss organization is fulfilling their commitments, the media recognized that Oshawa was a victim -- and they performed their role quite responsibly -- and I think at the end of the day it's a win for everyone," he said.
"I think (Kiss) applied logic to it and said, 'Look, we better find a way to do this concert' and I think that's exactly what they're doing."
Simmons assured Oshawa's Kiss fans that far from being disrespected, they're in for something special.
"Because of who and what Oshawa is -- which is near and dear to our hearts because (they) won the No. 1 spot above and beyond New York, L.A., Toronto, Vancouver -- we wanted to do a huge campaign and literally premiere 'Sonic Boom,' our new album, Oct. 7 in Oshawa," he said.
"(Oshawa) will get the full high-octane, high-energy show ... this is going to be a two-and-a-half hour sweat-filled show, huge fireworks displays, the biggest screen you ever saw, brand new outfits, and almost every song that we can physically play during that time."
London, Ont., Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver have also been scheduled for concert dates on this tour, and Simmons hinted, begrudgingly, that other Canadian cities may be included on a second leg.
"We're coming back and playing again and yes, there'll be another leg," he said.
"But not when you want us to talk about it, it's when we want to talk about it."