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Gene Simmons reveals the musical nature of the beast...

25th November 2017

andy rawll
Words and Pictures: Andy Rawll

gene simmons

Not since Howard Carter unlocked the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley Of Kings has such a vault of priceless historical treasures been revealed to the world. Well, at least that's what they'd like you to think.

The Demon Of Wall Street was in town this week to promote his latest investment opportunity. Laying claim to be the largest box set of all time, the Gene Simmons vault weighs-in at a monstrous 17 kilos and is delivered in a flight case the size of a small fridge, adorned with reinforcing bolts and a combination lock.

Despite the eye-watering price-tag, this is a lovingly curated archive of a fifty year plus musical endeavour that has taken Simmons years to produce from his extensive archive of demos, private recordings and personal memorabilia. The demon genome, if you will. "I collect me," he declared.

gene simmons

Charting his musical puberty from the clumsy high-school psyche-pop of 'My Uncle Is A Raft' through adult collaborations, such as the Bob Dylan co-write 'Laughing When You Want To Cry' and impromptu late-night demos of eventual Kiss staples, like 'Christine Sixteen', recorded as a power trio with the Van Halen brothers, this is a fascinating collection to sate the Kiss kompletist.

Particularly notable is the quality of the recordings and performances, that despite the limited production values such as the Beatlesque 'Always Near You' on which he played every instrument. Gene's vocals are surprising strong, characterful and melodic, for example on 'Juliet'. Ironically, this was co-written with renowned singer, vocal coach and the lizard-tongued Ken Tamplin.

Given the extent of the package, what better guide than Simmons himself and for well over an hour, he was disarming, charming, witty and engaging and the utter antithesis of the alpha, love-gun strutting God Of Thunder. He even strummed his guitar and sang live and seemed genuinely delighted to share the results of what has been a longstanding labour of love.

gene simmons
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The session finished with an extended Q&A, for which he was candid and good-humoured, revealing an appreciation of the music of Radiohead, classic songwriting, such as Charlie Chaplin's 'Smile' and the Beatles' 'Across The Universe' and Paul McCartney and Ray Davies as dream collaborators.

In terms of the $2,000 price tag for the standard Vault Experience, if people are willing to pay that much, then for them it must be worth it and Simmons is an astute enough businessman to discern the potential market price for something that is a pretty awesome collector's item.

In perspective, it's half the price of the recently announced David Bowie fine art package, 'Richochet 1983', which includes a large-format book of fine-art quality photos, but no significant new musical content, save a Nile Rogers remix on coloured vinyl. By comparison, Gene's Vault includes not only a detailed and lavishly illustrated book, but also eleven CDs and over 150 tracks.

Full details of the different ways you can acquire The Vault are available at, including the world-wide schedule of associated meet-and-greet events in 2018, including a London date on 17th March 2018.

gene simmons

Vault Experience includes:
Gene Meet & Greet: You and a guest will spend one-on-one time with Gene in your area
'Songs & Stories' Playback Session and Q&A: You and a guest will attend an intimate Vault preview
Gene photo/video/autograph session
Gene hand delivers your limited-edition personalized Vault
Vault Pre-Pack: Signed Golden Ticket, T-Shirt, Download Card (with 'Are You Ready'), And laminate

Your numbered, limited-edition Vault Includes:
150 never-released-before songs written and performed by Simmons, and featuring notable rock'n'roll artists including members of Kiss past and present, packaged in a massive 12" x 12" x 1.5" (thick) cloth-bound with embossed gold foil commemorative book featuring dozens of never-seen-before images of Simmons over his fifty year career
Limited-edition collectibles including a Gene Simmons businessman action figure and an 'In Gene We Trust' oversized coin
A one-of-a-kind, hand-selected original piece of memorabilia from Gene's personal collection

gene simmons

Exclusive track listing and notes on the songs for disk 1 of upcoming Gene's mega-boxed set...

The box set reportedly contains over one-hundred-and-fifty previously unreleased tracks.


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