With the new “Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection Vol. 1 1974-1977” lodged atop Billboard’s Top Music Video chart, Kiss’ Gene Simmons promises there’s more where that came from.
“We hope it’s going to be a 10-volume set,” Simmons tells Billboard.com. “Volume 2 is being worked on right now. I’m not allowed to talk too much about it, but [it will be released] in the next six months to eight months. We don’t want to wait. This is a lot of fun. People are enjoying this. We’re actually proud of it.”
The first “Kissology” features vintage concerts from San Francisco, Detroit, Tokyo, Houston and New York along with TV appearances, promotional videos and a documentary about Kiss Day in 1975 in Cadillac, Mich.
“Some of the stuff that tugs at my heart is the really, really early days,” Simmons notes, “the sort of innocence of it when you’re exuberant and happy to be alive. You don’t realize that the same band and the same guys would become dysfunctional, and that drugs and alcohol and egos and the rest of that would happen later on.”
Simmons says he and partner Paul Stanley have “jealously guarded hundreds and hundreds of hours of material — concerts, music videos, tapes, all kinds of background footage — that nobody’s ever seen” until the right opportunity to release it came along. “Kissology” is the result of a synergistic agreement with the new VH1 Classic Records imprint.
“Essentially they’re in the infomercial business,” Simmons explains, “because what they’re doing by putting product up there, videos and so on, is promoting material that people go out and buy. So we get a partner that’s in the broadcast business every day, and they get new programming on the air — and get to participate all the way down the line when the material is bought. It’s win-win.”
Besides the continuing “Kissology” series, Simmons and Kiss have a number of other projects on tap. A “Kiss Alive! 1975-2000” box set — featuring the group’s first three live albums and its unreleased Millennium concert — is due Nov. 21, and “Kiss: Lick It Up,” a box set from Kiss’ non-makeup years (1983-96), is coming in 2007. Details of a new Kiss Comics Group will be announced soon.
Simmons is also gearing up for the DVD release of the first season of his A&E reality show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” whose extras will include a pair of songs from “Monster,” a 150-song boxed set of solo demos and unreleased material — including collaborations with Bob Dylan, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and a fledgling Van Halen — due next year.
“I have literally hundreds of songs that have never been recorded by Kiss, but I’ve demoed them all,” Simmons says. “Some of the stuff is on four-track, where I played all the parts. Some are on 16, some are on 24, some are straight ahead into the boom box, with acoustic guitar. It’ll come out when the time feels right”