Kiss bassist Gene Simmons came to town on April 23. He showed up at six different 7-Elevens to sign autographs and promote a new energy drink called Frank’s.
A crowd of almost 100 waited for his first appearance on College Avenue. Everyone was told, “If you don’t buy a can of Frank’s, Gene will just say hi to you. If you want his autograph, buy some cans of Frank’s.”
A few people brought guitars to have signed (no basses…one was acoustic). One person had a Simmons mask; others had posters, albums, and CDs.
When Simmons arrived, a bunch of blonde women exited his Hummer limo. A spokesman yelled into a bullhorn, “If anyone wants to go into the limo with Gene before this starts, you can buy a case of Frank’s.” The can cost me $2.68. I was wondering what a case would cost.
A guy named Greg bought a case. He told me, “It cost $70, but I thought it would be worth it.” Greg took a guitar into the limo. He said Simmons took the guitar out of its case, played it, and asked if it was for him. It wasn’t; Greg asked Simmons if he’d like to invest in his company, Rock Star Guitars. Simmons told him, “I’m a receiver, not a giver.”
After a few minutes of small talk, Simmons asked Greg if he wanted him to sign the guitar. Greg said no and started to leave. Simmons then invited him to a party to be held later that night, saying, “Don’t bring a woman with you. You’ll be in the VIP area with me.”
When Greg got out of the car and photos were taken, the spokesman for Frank’s told him he wouldn’t be getting a VIP ticket.
A woman in front of me got Simmons’s autograph. He looked at her chest and said, “Wow, those are nice.”
I walked up and told Simmons, “I loved the movie Runaway. You should do more films.” He said, “I will be. Tonight, back at the hotel.”
I asked him to sign a CD and then I said, “My mom is insane. She insists your tongue is fake and that you had some kind of implant or extension. What can I tell her regarding that crazy notion?”
Simmons said, “What’s your mom’s name?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah,” he smiled and said, “I remember her.”
– Josh Board