Friday, February 13, 2009

I Was Made for Lecturing You: Gene Simmons Appears at The Basement

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 6:53 PM

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To make a short story shorter, I found myself at The Basement this afternoon attending the "Leadership in Music" conference. The guest speaker was supposed to be Motown founder Berry Gordy. Mr. Gordy unfortunately canceled, and Gene Simmons--the P.T. Barnum of rock--was commissioned as a last-minute replacement. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I've always found that listening to Mr. Simmons' imperious musings on how he reinvented marketing and commerce in the music industry to be one of life's small pleasures. Few people are as impressed by themselves as this man. It's not everyday that you come across someone with a hubris so palpable. Don't take that the wrong way, I'm sure Gene wouldn't. In his case it's quite an endearing quality.

So I was more than happy to sit in Grimey's Basement (which feels quite different in the sober light of day) among 50 or so suits, whose collective stench was oddly akin to that of a 747's fuselage, and listen to "Dr. Love" provide the "historical perspective" on the current state of the music industry. The moderator of the Simmons lecture was AMG writer Tom Roland. Roland, however, hardly got a word in. In fact, by the end of each answer, you'd forget what the question even was. For that reason I'm just going to include some choice quotes--taken completely out of context from each one of Simmons' long-winded orations. They range from ridiculous to ridiculously absurd. Did I learn anything? No. Was I entertained? Sure. Take a look after the jump!

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In response to Question No. 1:

"I'd like to strip."

"People listen with their eyes."

"America doesn't pat itself on the back enough."

"Rock stars are the modern-day Prometheus."

"If you think you're special, you'll be an asshole like me."

On Trace Adkins' voice: "The voice of God."

"Old media is dead."

"Media is free."

"You must look at 360 deals."

"Canada is the next England."

"Ireland, there's nothing there!"

"I speak four languages."

"What's happened to The Who since 'CSI' is astounding."

"...rapped to death over here or rocked to death over there...."

"I forgot the question."

Question No. 2:

"You can buy the Kiss toothbrush that plays 'Rock and Roll all Night' in your mouth."

"I'm the ogre."

"Do the stuff you're supposed to do."

"Don't do the stuff you're supposed to do."

"The more nice you are to people the (pause) just works."

"Love the bosses"

"I can't climb Mt. Olympus...Yes you can!"

"I wish a lot of artists would watch Joel Osteen."

"Did I answer your question?"

Question No. 3:

"Record companies should be involved in all facets of your career."

"You have to have money."

Question No. 4:

"I'm not following"

Question No. 5:

"Jesus loves you if you have one hit record."

"The next Hank Sr. is out there."

"There is a band. They're called AC/DC."

"I have never written a good song....that's Shakespearean."

"...even the girls I've slept with..."

"I know I'm rambling here."

Question No. 6:

"Semantics are everything, and I'm not anti-semantic."

"Most rockers are idiots."

"Let's not pick Barbara Streisand."

"Hot dog I really saw as a warm canine".

"I will torture a band until they get their name right."

"Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, both drug addicts..."

"Tupac is out there."

Question No. 7:

"I couldn't wear Paul Stanley's makeup."

"I won't do MySpace. It's nonsense."

"Try the veal."

Question No. 8:

On Kiss' stage show: "Everything levitates."

"Let's just set off a popcorn fart."

Question No. 9:

"Peter Criss thinks he wrote 'Beth.'"

"Drums are not a musical instrument."

"I've never gotten drunk or high. That's why I have a good memory."

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