Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gene Simmons on the 70's Van Halen Demos He Produced

It's absolutely NO secret to fans of Van Halen that right before the band got signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1978 they were discovered by Kiss front man/bassist Gene Simmons, who helped them record and produce a demo.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone Simmons goes into detail on the story of how it came to happen and how unfortunately the demos will never see the light of day, saying:

“I discovered the band. I saw them, signed them, flew them to New York and put them in Electric Lady Studios. They were signed to my company, Man Of 1000 Faces. I produced their 24-track demo – 15 songs – which I still own. It has everything from the first record and also faster versions of House Of Pain. It's a lot of cool stuff, but the band just doesn't want it to come out. The back and forth with David Lee Roth complicated matters.”

Eddie and Alex Van Halen apparently were also brought on by Simmons to help record some Kiss demos around that time too. On the matter, Simmons says:

"We recorded three songs I had written. I was in Los Angeles between tours, and I called Alex and Ed and said: ‘Listen, I got three songs. I'm going in at 2am. Do you want to come down and help me?' Usually, I play the guitars and the drums to the extent I can and put down all the parts. But I wanted to do three songs instead of one. So we did Christine Sixteen and I put the keyboards on, everything else. And Ed did the solo to the rhythm guitar, bass, and Alex was on drums.”

Simmons says that he wants to put these demos in a solo box set at somewhere down the line, saying:

“It was originally going to be called Monster, but we decided to call the 2012 Kiss studio record Monster, so it may be called Alter Ego. We'll include 150-200 songs that were never released. I've got one called Mongoloid Man with Joe Perry on guitar.”

I would DEFINITELY love to hear those old Gene Simmons produced demos, but I guess the Van Halen brothers have to be all uptight and weird about it. I don't see what the harm in it is, considering the fans would love to hear them and they are a huge part of the band's history. Maybe they don't want an unrefined product being out on the market for everyone to hear? Regardless, it's a bit beyond me why they wouldn't make as much money off those as possible.

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