Gene Simmons is proud of what he told Eddie Van Halen when the guitarist begged to replace Ace Frehley in Kiss.
And although he was always convinced a line-up featuring Eddie and brother Alex wouldn’t have lasted long enough to make an album, they still recorded a demo session together.
The glam-rock demon was instrumental in making Van Halen a big-name act after seeing them as a support band and vowing to sign them after two songs. He oversaw the recording of their first demo and says he even bought singer David Lee Roth his first pair of high-heel boots.
Simmons says events unfolded in 1982 when Kiss had sacked guitarist Frehley
. Van Halen appeared in the band’s studio, where they were working on new material, and played the main theme from future hit single "Jump
" on a synth.
Speaking on Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx's radio show, Simmons says: "I say, ‘Eddie, what’s this?" "Oh, that’s the next record." "Really? I’m hearing it before guitars?" "No, there’s no guitars – that’s it." "Oh, okay".
"So I take him to lunch across the street and he actually tells me: "I want to join Kiss. I can’t take Roth – he’s driving me nuts. We’re not getting along. I’ve got this sound in my head that I want Van Halen to do, and Roth doesn’t want to do it, and we’re just getting to a point where he’s believing his own hype."
"I remember feeling proud of what I said. I said: "Don’t do it. Stay with the band you started. There’s no role for you – you’re too big. You cast too much of a shadow to be the guitar player in Kiss".
"And he went back and he was miserable for the next 20 or 30 years. But it would never have worked. Not even close".
Nevertheless, a three-track recording exists featuring Simmons and the Van Halen brothers. "I’ve got Alex and Eddie on "Christine Sixteen", "Love For Sale" and "Tunnel Of Love," says the bassist. "But it wasn’t a natural fit".
Thanks for the report to Classicrockmagazine.com.