GENE SIMMONS SAYS "KISS IS BIGGER NOW THAN IT'S EVER BEEN"
Recently WESH.com conducted an interview with KISS's Gene Simmons. Few excerpts are follows:
On the impact KISS still has on the world:
"Well actually KISS is bigger now than it's ever been. We're in 2,000 department stores with KISS fragrances and hair products. We have the KISS coffeehouse franchise in Myrtle Beach coming to New York and Chicago, the KISS CGI movie is already in the works with one of the studios. That will be a $210 million motion picture."
On the things KISS wouldn't be affiliated with:
"Crack, that's not a good one. Cigarettes, nothing to do with cigarettes. As far as I'm concerned, the rest should be a KISS world, and you should all be paying for the privilege of living here."
On KISS' former partnership with NASCAR:
"NASCAR came to KISS to brand one of their cars, actually, a few of them. We had a terrific three-, four-year relationship, but I am happy and proud to say that the Simmons Abramson marketing venture works with the Indy Racing League. Indy cars, they're the fastest cars on earth and in the nicest way with a tip of the hat to NASCAR, they'll leave them in the dust."
On the fact that it's been 10 years since they played in Orlando:
"We've all been busy, although this summer, KISS will be performing three outdoor shows of 50,000 in Wisconsin or places like that just because we want to. There's nothing left to prove to anybody and to be quite frank, we're not playing the game — we do what we want to do and when we're ready, we'll go back out on a full tour. There will be more tours."
On his "unmarried" partner of 23 years, Shannon Tweed:
"She should be teaching all the rest of you women how to stop torturing your guys," he said. 'Get out of the way when he's watching TV, don’t step in front of the TV set when he's dipping chips and watching the ball game. At this moment, all the millions of people, especially the guys who are listening go, 'Yeah, that's right!' None of us go shopping with you and get in the way, when you see a sale.'"
MIKE TRAMP SAYS HE HAS NO DESIRE TO PURSUE A MORE MODERN SOUND WITH WHITE LION
WHITE LION vocalist Mike Tramp recently answered several fan questions via his official web site. Read on:
Q: We have been blessed with the box set "Songs I Left Behind" and the WHITE LION and FREAK OF NATURE DVDs, but was interested to know if in the near future you have any intention to release a Mike Tramp DVD featuring your solo material?
Mike Tramp: Yes, it's almost finished, and so is my next solo album. It's just that at the moment I am doing WHITE LION.
Q: My wife and I are huge fans of "More to Life Than This". With one of the most moving songs we have ever heard being "The Good, the Sad and the Ugly". We were wondering if you were willing to share with us the inspiration behind this song?
Mike Tramp: It's only song I have ever written where each verse and chorus doesn't have anything to do with the previous one, except it's from the same person's heart. A song about eternal love, sadness and betrayal.
Q: I am just curious if you aware of the duo called PRUSSIAN BLUE who sing songs of hate, extreme nationalism and white power. On their 2005 album "Fragment of the Future" they recorded version of WHITE LION's "Road to Valhalla". What is your thought on this?
Mike Tramp: Yes, I did hear that, thought it was quite funny. I am the kind of person who really doesn't get upset about what people chose to sing, write and speak about. I am too strong in my own beliefs and nothing's going to change that.
Q: On the recent "Rocking The World" tour you visited a few countries that rock bands often don't visit frequently. Eg. Turkey, Greece and Indonesia. Do you plan on visiting any other "different" countries on any upcoming tours. Eg. There have been requests from Syria, Peru, Singapore, Scotland and Ireland.
Mike Tramp: We play any place where we get an offer that will afford us going there.
Q: As we are aware, you are currently working on the new WHITE LION album with the new band. Bands like EUROPE, STRYPER, WINGER have brought out new albums in recent years that have had a very modern sound. Are you willing to give us an insight into what kind of sound you are shooting for with the new WHITE LION album? A modern progression from "Main Attraction", or more in the "Pride" vein??
Mike Tramp: If I am to continue with WHITE LION. Then I want the band to sound like WHITE LION, I have no wish to depart from that or try to go modern. And none of the bands you mentioned has succeeded with that.
Q: What is the meaning behind the rebel flag in the album cover of "Rocking The USA"? Here in Georgia, it stands for either history or hatred. I definetely do not see anything wrong with freedom of expression for history's sake, I'm all for it, having displayed the Georgia flag which contains a rebel flag myself and on my vehicle. But you being originally from Denmark, what is your meaning behind the album's symbol?
Mike Tramp: Fair question. No doubt you can track the flag back to some pretty serious and ugly times. At the same time, the flag in modern day has also become the visual of rebellion within the system and when rock bands or bikers, etc use the flag that's their little way of saying "We're not going with your rules." Yes, I am from Denmark, not the south, but like I said it's used everywhere around the world, and to WHITE LION today it means we're not following the rules, the Lion is breaking free from the cage. Hope that is good enough for you.
Q: Who has done all your tattoo work? Have you been incredibly selective with who you let loose on your skin, or have you had a variety of people?
Mike Tramp: I had the shoulder to elbow done by Kari Barba in Anaheim, CA. and the elbow to wrist by Filip Leu in Lausanne, Switzerland (that guy is the shit). My back is by Henning at Royal Tattoo Helsingore, Denmark. My legs are by Craig at Vic Market Tattoo, Melbourne, Australia.
Q: What are your thoughts knowing that these days there are a whole generation of us older WHITE LION's fans children who are not yet even teenagers who say that WHITE LION is their favourite band?
Mike Tramp: It's great, but at the same time it's how I feel about the bands I grew up with. None have surpassed them.
Q: How do you approach your songwriting? Do you develop lyrics first, music, or a combination of the two? Are you more concerned with your lyrics conveying a picture or story or are you more concerned with rhythm and flow?
Mike Tramp: Every time I pick up my guitar to run through some songs, I end up writing a song. I never do anything planned, it either comes to me within 10 to 20 minutes or it doesn't. I'll start by singing something along with the guitar establishing the melody, then as I settle on what I want. I start playing around with what kind of story fits the song. In all of the songs I have written only a single one had the lyrics done first, and I really don't like writing that way.
Q: On the "My Story" section of your website, you say that... "To play rock 'n' roll and to be rock 'n' roll, you must pay your dues. Don't jump the line, don't take the easy way, the pioneers didn't and you shouldn't either." What did you mean by this? How does a person "jump the line" as a musician? Does this refer to "American Idol"-style fame, or to something else?
Mike Tramp: You got it mate. Not only referring the "American Idol", but all those who get famous before they have ever played a show. I will bet you than none of them will have any legacy, the same goes with a lot bands today. They will make a mark on the radio for a short period but the band won't last to leave something behind that anyone will remember for long. It's all going too fast these days.
Q: Now that I'm older and have kids, all of the WHITE LION songs seem to affect me in a different way, and I interpret a lot of them to be filled with spirtual references of some sort. And to this end, I was wondering where, if anywhere, you stood on religion?
Mike Tramp: That's a big issue with me. Not because I am religious, but because of how religion is used today as an excuse for just about anything, but most of all by killing because a book told me so or what have you. I will never preach religion on anyone, and if anyone does it to me, I am vicious. Go pray where I don't have to see it, talk to your God where I don't have to listen. It's your right and freedom to do what you want and to follow who you want to follow. Just don't ask me to do the same. God bless you.
Q: Who would you consider to have been the most influential lead vocalist(s) on your career/the ones you admire the most? From both a vocal ability point of view and the ability to "own the stage."
Mike Tramp: No question! The late and great Freddie Mercury from QUEEN.
JOHN 5 "ROB ZOMBIE IS BY FAR THE BEST BAND I HAVE EVER BEEN IN"
Recently The Rock Squad conducted an interview with former MARILYN MANSON and current ROB ZOMBIE guitarist John 5. Few excerpts are follows:
The Rock Squad: So John, people know what they are going to get with you on a MANSON album or a ZOMBIE album, but what can they expect when they pick up one of your instrumental albums?
John 5: Well, of course it is completely instrumental, and it is a real journey, because there are so many different styles on these records. I don't want to just play one style. It has really worked out well, because I have been doing this or three albums now and they sell really well. I am kind of surprised. They are pretty out of the ordinary. Of course there is a lot of heavy music on there, but there is also some country stuff. Just some good guitar playing and good picking. I am just doing it for the guitar players and for people that just love music. It has really been doing well for me. I am so proud of it.
The Rock Squad: When you were writing for the latest solo record, were you on the road, or did you take some time off to work on it?
John 5: Because it is all guitar instrumental stuff, there are no lyrics, I am always writing. Every day. Even now, I am just planning for the next record, and things like that. There is always something going on. I am always just writing, writing writing. I just wrote for the SCORPIONS, LYNYRD SKYNYRD and so I am also writing for other people too. With the instrumental stuff, I never stop.
The Rock Squad: What was it like to play with David Lee Roth?
John 5: David Lee Roth… When I was a kid, I wanted to be Eddie Van Halen. I wanted to be married to Valerie Bertinelli, and I wanted to play with David Lee Roth and that was all I wanted in life. If someone had asked, "What do you want in life?" definitely it would be to play with David Lee Roth. I just reached out to his manager and I knew everything there was to know about VAN HALEN, writing riffs and guitar parts that Dave would like. I showed them some songs, and they liked them. He told me to come on down to the house, and we hung out and made a record. It was something that I will cherish forever. He was my god, you know? And I did it. It was a true pleasure, and I am still very good friends with Dave and I am pretty good friends with Eddie too. It worked out really good for me.
The Rock Squad: Rob Zombie. How did it all come about? How are you enjoying it?
John 5: Rob Zombie is by far the best band I have ever been in. It is a bunch of guys in the coolest working atmosphere ever. I would not leave this band for anything. It is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I am as happy as can be. I do not really have any complaints, we just love touring together and making records with each other and we recorded our last tour as a live record. We will also be having a live DVD come out, which is something different that Rob has never done before. Everybody is very excited about all of that. Rob has been working on the "Halloween" movie right now, which is why I have had time to work on the instrumental album. So I am really excited about it. I am so happy to be in the band. I think Rob is really happy too, because I am so excited. I want to be there. I think he really likes that, having someone that really appreciates being there.