February 23, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SIMMONS RECORDS/SANCTUARY MUSIC GROUP SET FOR ITS DEBUT RELEASE OF GENE SIMMONS' NEW SOLO ALBUM ENTITLED ASSHOLE ON JUNE 8
New York, N.Y. SIMMONS RECORDS/Sanctuary Music Group is pleased to announce the release of the highly anticipated solo album from GENE SIMMONS entitled, ASSHOLE, on June 8. This release will mark the second solo album from the God Of Thunder since his self-titled platinum solo album in 1978.
GENE SIMMONS, co-founding member of KISS, America's No.1 Gold Record Champions Of All Time (RIAA - Group Category),has rock and rolled all night and partied every day for over 30 years and is nowhere near hanging up his platform boots. The band recently proudly released its KISS SYMPHONY - ALIVE IV on the KISS Records/Sanctuary Music Group imprint. The double-platinum DVD debuted at No.1. KISS has broken box office attendance records set by Elvis Presley and the Beatles and is the juggernaut of the licensing merchandising world, with over 2,000 KISS toys and games -- from KISS Visa Cards, KISS comic books and KISS Caskets!!! Not one to rest on his laurels, the next GENE SIMMONS epoch continues, stronger than ever.
Produced by SIMMONS, this forward thinking, genre splitting effort, is an ambitious musical tour-de force through SIMMONS' psyche, revealing yet another side to the multi-talented artist. Doing a solo record is important because I write so many different kinds of songs. I literally have hundreds of songs that are demoed up that arent right for KISS, and some songs that werent used on KISS records I still like, like Carnival Of Souls and Sweet & Dirty. In assembling the album, I went and reviewed over a hundred songs that I had lying around, and then it was by process of elimination I determined what would go on the record. But at the end of the day, above and beyond style, I had to like the songs. stated SIMMONS.
Like his 1978 self-titled solo album, ASSHOLE is a model of versatility, drawing together an eclectic swath of styles including hard rock, blues, thrash, neo-psychedelia, Beatlesque pop, rap, prog-rock and even power ballads. My taste is eclectic and all over the place. I love all kinds of artists, from Patsy Cline to the Beatles, Motown to Hoobastank. As for the records stylistic diversity, Im a child of The Beatles. They created this sort of hybrid white version of American music. They could do it all-- Little Richard, country, pop, soul, psychedelia. They had no rules. That had a major effect on me and that influence comes through on the record. SIMMONS said.
Transcending genres and confounding expectations, ASSHOLE resounds with a surprise at every turn. Like the artists self-titled solo effort, a number of musical luminaries join in on the fun. BOB DYLAN and GENE co-wrote the album's Waiting For The Morning Light. FRANK ZAPPA and GENE share co-writing credit on Black Tongue and the ZAPPA Family, DWEEZIL, AHMET, MOON, GAIL and FRANK ZAPPA himself sing and play guitar on the song . Other guests featured on the album include DAVE NAVARRO, ex-KISS members BRUCE KULICK and ERIC SINGER, new SIMMONS RECORDS/Sanctuary Music Group signing BAG, as well as GENE's longtime live in SHANNON TWEED and their two children, SOPHIE and NICHOLAS.
Track listing is as follows (order subject to change):
2. Carnival of Souls
3. If I Had A Gun
5. Waiting For The Morning Light
6. Whatever Turns You On
7. Sweet & Dirty Love
10. Now That You're Gone
11. Black Tongue
12. I Dream A Thousand Dreams
Drawing together over three decades of record making, ASSHOLE is a grand, and swaggering portrait of SIMMONS in the 21st Century, a brave musical statement from a man unafraid of pushing the envelope and exploring new boundaries.
ASSHOLE, the debut release on the new SIMMONS RECORDS/Sanctuary Music Group imprint, is the confident work of an artist comfortable in his own skin, an artist who still wields the wicked power to shock, titillate and surprise his followers.
GENE SIMMONS, is a founding member of KISS, America's Number 1 Gold Record Champions Of All Time (RIAA - Group Category). KISS has rock and rolled all night and partied every day for over 30 years and is nowhere near hanging up its platform boots. It continues, stronger than ever. The band recently proudly released its KISS SYMPHONY - ALIVE IV on the KISS Records/Sanctuary Music Group imprint. The double platinum DVD debuted at No.1. KISS has broken box office attendance records set by Elvis Presley and the Beatles and is the juggernaut of the licensing merchandising world, with over 2,000 KISS toys and games -- from KISS Visa Cards, KISS comic books and KISS Kaskets!!! Gene Simmons is larger than life. He's The Demon of Rock
the God Of Thunder
ASSHOLE, is a forward thinking, genre splitting effort, straddling cerebral and primal urges. It's an ambitious musical tour-de force through SIMMONS' psyche, displaying yet another side to the multi-talented artist. Doing a solo record is important because I write so many different kinds of songs. I literally have hundreds of songs that are demoed up that arent right for KISS, and some songs that werent used on KISS records I still like, like Carnival Of Souls and Sweet & Dirty. In assembling the album, I went and reviewed over a hundred songs that I had lying around, and then it was by process of elimination I determined what would go on the record. But at the end of the day, above and beyond style, I had to like the songs. stated SIMMONS.
Transcending genres and confounding expectations, ASSHOLE resounds with a surprise at every turn. Like his 1978 self-titled solo album, ASSHOLE is a model of versatility, drawing together an eclectic swath of styles including hard rock, blues, thrash, neo-psychedelia, Beatlesque pop, rap, prog-rock and even torch ballads. My taste is eclectic and all over the place. I love all kinds of artists, from Patsy Cline to the Beatles, Motown to Hoobastank. As for the records stylistic diversity, Im a child of The Beatles. They created this sort of hybrid white version of American music. They could do it all-- Little Richard, country, pop, soul, psychedelia. They had no rules. That had a major effect on me and that influence comes through on the record. Secretly, the most extreme alternative person is gonna put on an ABBA record when nobody is looking. Everybody has eclectic taste, its just that sometimes people are afraid to admit to it. SIMMONS said.
Produced by SIMMONS, whose previous credits included such acts as Van Halen (GENE discovered the band and produced their demo tape), EZO, Doro Pesch, Keel and executive producing acts such as Silent Rage, and Gypsy Rose that appeared on the SIMMONS RECORDS/RCA banner.
Like the artists self-titled 1978 solo effort, a number of musical luminaries join in on the fun. Bob Dylan and GENE co-wrote the album's Waiting For The Morning Light. Frank Zappa and GENE share co-writing credit on Black Tongue and the Zappa Family, Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon, Gail and Frank Zappa himself sing and play guitar on the song . The album also includes Dave Navarro, ex-KISS members Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, new SIMMONS RECORDS/Sanctuary Music Group signing BAG, as well as GENE's live in Shannon Tweed and their two children, Sophie and Nicholas."
With its finger-pointing chorus leveling the charge, "how does it feel to be a real asshole", "Asshole", perfectly sets the stage for the musical mayhem to follow. "Asshole" is a strikingly modern, hard hitting cut that will unquestionably sound great on radio airwaves. It was someone saying you were an asshole, but then adding "maybe I'm an asshole too...just like you, SIMMONS said. Weve all been assholes.
Long-time fans will revel in the tribal driven "Carnival Of Souls", a swirling neo-psychedelic gem branded with a fiery metallic edge; think the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix in the 21st Century with Marshall amps cranked to ten. The lascivious shuffle, "Sweet & Dirty" and the dark, brooding metal feast, "Weapons" (perhaps the only rock song to feature the word "E Pluribus Unum" in the chorus)" superbly deliver the required daily dose of hard rock fireworks.
"Beautiful" is another standout track. Over the gentle strains of a toy piano, SIMMONS intones the opening verse, "Hey put on those fake eyelashes, wax away the old mustache", which is later married to a gorgeous, life affirming chorus, "you're somebody beautiful, look at yourself, you're somebody beautiful, like nobody else." SIMMONS stated, The song was written by Nina Singh and Mark Addison from the band Kitty Gordon. This was one of those story songs, the lyrics killed me. It had this kind of pan-sexual, Lola (The Kinks) flavor to it, and also a kind of pathos. Hes a poor guy, whos six foot four in his six-inch heels, a cupid tattoo behind his ear, spends all his money on silicone honey, those lyrics are just classic.
Another lyrically provocative track is "If I Had A Gun." The song's infectious singalong chorus belies its controversial lyrical content--"If I had a gun, I'd have me some fun, I'd shoot everyone who pisses me off today? So don't piss me off today." BAG, whos the first new artist on SIMMONS RECORDS, wrote that. I reshaped the song a bit and also added the bridge. "I was struck by the poignancy of "look at me with my makeup messed, I'm so ugly, I've never been kissed". We all feel that way, sometimes," SIMMONS said.
On the melancholy piano driven track, Waiting For The Morning Light, SIMMONS lets down his guard momentarily. The song is an unlikely collaboration with the legendary Bob Dylan. SIMMONS reveals how the two icons came together. I picked up the phone and said, Bob, weve only run into each once or twice socially. Ive always admired you and it would mean the world to me to write a song with you. And he said, Sure. He came over, we sat down with acoustic guitars and Bob started playing some chord changes. I immediately started humming this melody. At the end of the day I didnt know what we had but I recorded the whole thing. A few weeks went by, I had the arrangement down, I went into the studio with Tommy Thayer and two other guys and demoed it. All I had were nonsensical lyrics. Bob came down to check it out in the overdubbing stages. He liked it a lot. It had a kind of Traveling Wilburys sound to it. Then I ran into Bob when we were on tour. I told him, I have this track, please write the lyrics so we can finish it. And every time hed say, (imitates Dylans voice), No Mr. KISS, you write it. I said, I cant write the lyrics. Youre Bob Dylan, the preeminent lyricist! So finally when the solo record came nearer and nearer I literally wrote the lyrics as the track was being recorded.
The record also showcases SIMMONS' powerful interpretation of The Prodigy's 1996 hit, "Firestarter." "It's our own take on it," attests SIMMONS. "It was produced by The Overseer, who is a very cool English guy and it was done with the latest modern technology. Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction was kind enough to stick some guitars on it. The main difference between my version and the one by the Prodigy is the vocals and some of Dave's guitar work. It's strong stuff."
Like a fly on the wall at a boisterous musical house party, the loose and funky, "Whatever Turns You On (Turns Me On)", ups the ante, laying down a mighty groove. Singing background is Miss Shannon Tweed, and her mother, Louise and a friend of theirs, reveals SIMMONS. I wanted to use real background singers. I didnt want it to sound too slick. It has that kind of good timey sound to it.
One of the albums most memorable tracks, "Black Tongue" deftly reconfigures a previously unreleased Frank Zappa guitar riff and transforms it into a gargantuan aural beast. It's a trippy psychedelic freakout that would make the late rock icon proud. SIMMONS explained, Ive always admired Frank Zappa. He invited me over to his house right before he unfortunately passed away. We had a real heart to heart. He said some very kind things to me and showed me his library of tapes, things that had never been released. After his death it struck me that a lot of material wasnt going to see the light of day. So I called up his wife, Gayle Zappa. I told her about my album and said, Are there any bits of songs that Frank never finished. I would be honored to write a brand new song around a theme of some kind. His son, Dweezil, got involved early on and he played me about ten different pieces. I was immediately struck by this piece, its a sample of Frank talking (Alright kids, heres a real rock and roll song) and then the descending riff is the basis of the song, which was ironically called Black Tongue. Almost the entire Zappa family, Gayle, Dweezil, Ahmet and Moon and I sang the background vocals on the chorus. Dweezil found some guitar solo bits that his father had done and was able to extract that. So the song actually has some lead guitar playing by Frank as well as talking in the song.
Like "Black Tongue," the experimental "Dog" sounds like nothing SIMMONS has ever recorded. This quirky, mind-expanding excursion juxtaposes the sound of a canine howling in heat with a tongue-in-cheek spoken interlude that exclaims, "what a big tongue you've got, the better to eat you with my dear."
Boasting SIMMONS most impassioned vocal, the Beatlesque Now That Youre Gone reveals the artist at his most vulnerable, the songs touching bridge addresses his pain of the loss of his father. (You left us when I was much too young, and I was your only son, But you left me anyway, and now my heart aches just begun, and now youre gone, and Im all alone.)
Closing the album is the record's biggest surprise, the romantic torch ballad, "I Dream A 1,000 Dreams". The song's lush orchestration, and twangy C&W pedal steel stylings bring to mind vintage k.d.lang and SIMMONS demonstrates his remarkable versatility and range by singing the song beautifully. It's the only song I've ever written that came to me at one: lyric and melody. I initially thought I had heard it before, but I couldn't figure out where. Was it an old Patsy Cline song? All I remember was being at my kitchen table in the middle of the night, with my scratch pad and my little tape recorder. Humming and writing. The whole song came in 15 minutes. I was stunned," revealed SIMMONS.
Drawing together over three decades of record making, ASSHOLE is a grand, and swaggering portrait of SIMMONS in the 21st Century, a brave musical statement from a man unafraid of pressing the envelope and exploring new boundaries. SIMMONS stated, Critics be damned, this is me in 2004. In some ways this album connects with my first solo record because Ive never been afraid of doing all different types of music. Its the next chapter in GENE SIMMONS songs.
ASSHOLE Release date 6/8/04
TRACK BY TRACK:
"Asshole" (Frank Tostrup)
"I was getting demos for SIMMONS RECORDS by the thousands. But I heard a cd by a Norwegian band called Shirleys Temple and one song in particular, ASSHOLE blew me away. I contacted Frank Tostrup, the writer and asked if I could buy the track, because I loved their take of the song. I rearranged some of the lyrics and the arrangement, sang all the backgrounds and breaking up as I was singing the lyrics. One of my favorite songs."
"Weapons" (Gene Simmons)
Weapons was written and recorded before we went off to Iraq. After President Bush started talking about weapons of mass destruction over and over again it became the cliché. I always thought the phrase weapons of mass destruction had that vulgar display of power sound to it. Lyrically I took the unholy point of view which is hell is what you make it and this notion that we think were just here poking sharp sticks at each other, maybe theres a grand jester whos playing on the cosmic chess board. Ive always been fascinated by a big shadowy all powerful figure, whether its Beezlebub or the Devil whose always been here. And the lyrics talk about that. (recites lyrics) Youre guilty til youre proven innocent. What you see is what you get. I bring you the weapons of mass destruction. Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer played on Weapons. They played on my original demo too. I took off some of Bruces bed guitar, and replayed some of the guitar because I thought I had a sloppier, greasier way of doing it.
"Carnival Of Souls" (Gene Simmons/Scott Van Zen)
It was recorded by KISS for Psycho Circus but we never used it. I always liked it so I re-recorded it. I ripped off the heavy instrumental part from the band, Love and their song, 7 & 7. The melody is reminiscent. Carnival Of Souls is a commentary on this crazy world that we live in. The chorus is sung by myself, my son, Nick, his friend Chris Parrish and his father, Steve. That song was recorded by myself on bass, Ritchie Kotzen on guitar and a drum machine.
"If I Had A Gun" (Bag/Gene Simmons)
Bag wrote that. He flew down and started playing me his new stuff. I heard If I Had A Gun in its original version. Bag played all the instruments. It was recorded in his living room.
"Sweet & Dirty"(Gene Simmons)
I originally wrote Sweet & Dirty back in 1977. It was called Jelly Roll. I rewrote the song a few times and KISS recorded a version of it for the Psycho Circus album. I still liked the tune. I called up Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, and as a trio we cut the song in one day.
"Waiting For The Morning Light" (Gene Simmons/Bob Dylan)
To have the honor of writing a song with BOB DYLAN, can barely be put into
words. On a whim, I called Bob and asked him if he wanted to write a toon together. He came over to my house and within an hour, strummed a chordal pattern that stuck with me. I went off and wrote the melody and lyric and voila: Waiting For The Morning Light. The track was cut in the living room of a new artist on SIMMONS RECORDS named Bag. He basically took my demo and arranged it. Theres nothing on there besides keyboards, keyboard bass and sampled drums. Theres not a guitar lick on the whole thing. Those piano melody lines were things that I came up with. It reminded me of a version of a melody I heard while I was growing up, a song called Black Orpheus and also, Laras Theme from Doctor Zhivago and funnily enough the theme song from the tv series, Lassie.
"Beautiful" (Nina Singh/Mark Addison)
That was written by Nina Sigh and Mark Addison from the band Kitty Gordon. This was one of those story songs, the lyrics killed me. When the chorus hit it blew me away. I fooled around with the vocal turnarounds on the song, which is all Beatles (sings background vocals to Help!).
"Whatever Turns You On (Turns Me On)" (Dave Williams/Gene Simmons)
"When I first told people on my web site, GENESIMMONS.COM to send in demos, I received close to 5,000 demos. "Whatever Turns You On" came to me as one of those demos." It didnt have that title. I contacted Dave Williams, the lead singer of the band who wrote it. I called him, told him I was interested in the track, and changed it around a little, changed the title, it was my chorus idea and I rewrote some of the lyrics. The musical track is Dave and his band. Singing background is Miss Shannon Tweed, and her mother, Louise and a friend of theirs. I wanted to use real background singers. I didnt want it to sound too slick. It has that kind of good timey sound to it.
"Firestarter" (Liam Howlett)
"The idea for me to cover 'Firestarter' came from my partner at
Sanctuary, Merck (Mercuriadas). It was an interesting notion. 'Firestarter' really has more to do with me, about whom I am and what I mean. Nothing more than it's a chance to do something different and I'm all about that."
"Dog" (Bag/Gene Simmons)
Dog was mostly written by Bag. It was recorded in bags living room. Bag played all of the instruments. Hes also singing harmonies on the song. Bag also sings the Warren Zevon sounding Werewolves Of London vocal part. I wanted to make the song longer and remembered the Sam The Sham and The Pharoahs song, Little Red Riding Hood. Thats where I came up with the howling part in the beginning. In that song it struck me as the wolf talking to the little girl, it was very sexual. So I did that spoken word interlude, what a big tongue you got, the better to eat you with, my dear. I was chuckling most of the way through.
"Black Tongue" (Gene Simmons/Frank Zappa)
I played bass, and sang lead, Dweezil Zappa played lead guitar. "The Zappa family sang the choruses with me and Frank Zappa spoke and played some lead guitar licks on the original piece of music. Dweezil included the guitar bits into the song. I wrote the lyric in the studio."
Now That Youre Gone(Gene Simmons/Bob Kulick)
That song was written by me and Bob Kulick, Bruce Kulick's brother in 1977. Interestingly enough, before Bruce joined KISS, Bob had actually auditioned to be in the original lineup, right before Ace walked in and got the job. The bridge to the song came to me as I was busy overdubbing in the studio. My father had just passed away two years before that and the lyrics in the bridge talk about my feelings about his dying. Theyre real words. Singing on that song is my daughter, Sophie and two of her friends from school. I wanted kids to be singing on the chorus, its kinda like Pink Floyd did on The Wall album. I played bass on it. Jeff Diehl, a guy from Indiana, did the rest. He sent me a tape of what Garth Brooks or the Beatles would sound like doing KISS songs. I heard this, loved it, asked if he wanted to try a track. By phone I told him how I wanted it to sound. Think of it as Im Houston and theres a lot of satellites orbiting and I had to keep track of all of them. This record was put together in a very bizarre way with a lot of different people, and tracks being cut in a lot of different places with different musicians.
"I Dream a 1,000 Dreams" (Gene Simmons)
I demoed it and sent off a version to Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. The original version was much more of a country song. I gave Bag the ideas I wanted on the song and he translated it musically. Bag did all the keyboard stuff and we brought in a pedal steel guitar player. I did all the vocals and I didn't know how I was going to end the last song on my album, when I remembered my solo record from 1978. I recorded Disney's WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR, one of my favorite songs of all time. It ended with a falsetto high note. I didn't think about it at first, but after I heard my vocal on 1,000 DREAMS, I noticed the end had an eerie connection to WISH UPON A STAR."