Gene Simmons In-Store For Kiss And Makeup In New York
Pure Rock Patroller
Monday, December 31, 2001 @ 11:19 AM
Gene Simmons In-Store At B
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“GENE, GENE, GENE” were the chants that were ringing throughout the busy Barnes & Nobles store on this Wednesday evening. Why??? Because Lord Gene Simmons (of seemingly everything) was doing his first of three in-stores (L.A. and Toronto are the other stops) for his newly released autobiography, Kiss and Makeup. Simmons had been in NY for more than a week doing a ton of promotion for the book and the Kiss box set while also attending the NY Heroes award ceremony.
The signing was due to run from 6-10pm, but Simmons said he would sign for every fan who purchased a book. I arrived on line around 2pm and met my friends Bill, Dave, and Mark and I would guess there were about 50 fans ahead of us. The line started on the block behind the store, as fans would be let in through the back entrance. While waiting on the long line (estimated attendance for this event was 500-1000 people) it seemed that everyone looked familiar from the Tower Records Kiss box set in-store a week earlier (and located only a few blocks away). Also, the first fan arrived at this signing at 2:30am!!!
Rules were as follows: Fans did not have to purchase a book at this store to guarantee an autograph, as the book had been released a week earlier. Two books can be signed per person, but no music or memorabilia. No posed photographs. And there will be an opportunity to purchase the book prior to entering the store (there was an alley setup by the back entrance to purchase the book). Originally, bracelets weren’t going to be given out, but that rule had changed as fans were slapped with a bracelet when getting on line (don’t know how many bracelets were handed out).
At 4pm the anticipation was starting to rise as fans were let into the store and as we were climbing the stairs we started the chants…GENE, GENE, GENE!!! Store employees thought we were on the crazy side every time we started the Gene chants. The setup in this huge store was a black table for the man to sign with a huge backdrop of the Kiss and Makeup book cover behind him. Also, NY rock radio station 104.3 had a setup, as they would be doing an interview with Simmons upon his arrival. Even with the photo rule I told my friend Mark that I was going for the photo and to please be on alert when I get Gene’s attention. It was getting close to 6pm and we were really getting psyched and kept the chants up…GENE, GENE, GENE.
At 6pm it happened….Gene Simmons made his entrance and the chants and cheering reached a fever high!!! Simmons was dressed in a black sweater and black blazer and was in a GREAT mood to sign. He did his posing with the book and conducted some interviews (including both local and national news stations) while prepping to meet the fans. The biggest high of the night came when it was announced that Gene would be posing for pics with fans and the store even had a person on hand to snap pics!
To try to deter fans from bringing memorabilia to the table the store had a bag check-in area before reaching the table. I was able to keep my bag away from the check-in point, as the Barnes security staff was on the “soft” side (i.e. you never had to fear being tackled like at a Virgin or Tower signing). But I have to say the Barnes staff was great and they really made the fans feel as though they met Gene (i.e. talked a bit, took a pic, etc.). Also, books were handed to a Barnes staff person at the table and were actually signed before you approached Simmons. Around 6:45pm I approached the table (while handing my camera to a Barnes employee) and encountered The God Of Thunder, The Doctor of Love, The Unholy War Machine Gene Simmons…
This had to be the best I’ve seen Gene at a function, as I couldn’t believe how friendly he was. Possibly the best Kiss signing I’ve attended.
Gene Simmons (looking at Jimmymetal): Give me something to sign!!!
Jimmymetal (grabbing Kerrang magazine out of bag): OK
Gene Simmons: Now that is a great cover!!! [Note: Issue from 3/99 features close-up of Gene’s face with tongue sticking out]
Jimmymetal: Gene, can you look over there and take a pic??? [A pic was snapped, but I sensed Gene wasn’t looking so I asked Barnes staff person to take it again.]
Jimmymetal: Gene, can you look at the camera again???
Gene Simmons: Sure.
Jimmymetal: Gene, I was in the audience when you were on The View yesterday and I couldn’t believe that 99% of the audience was women!
Gene Simmons: I know, wasn’t that something!
Jimmymetal: I think they loved you on that show.
Gene Simmons: I bet.
Barnes employee (to Jimmymetal): You have to go now.
My friend Mark (who hooked up The View connection) had the following chat with Gene while also nabbing a pic with him:
Mark: Gene, have you received any feedback from the other members about the book???
Gene: Yes, I spoke to both Ace and Peter recently to let them know that my book was coming out. They weren’t thrilled about it, but I wanted you the fans to know exactly what was going on backstage and what you were getting for your money.
At past KISS functions I’ve always found Gene to be a great signer and very friendly, but on this day he was really into hanging and talking with the fans and seemingly more so than at past events. And how did my friend Mark feel about this event??? “This had to be the best I’ve seen Gene at a function, as I couldn’t believe how friendly he was. Possibly the best Kiss signing I’ve attended.” On a personal note, I finally had a pic of Gene and myself that came out with both of us looking and smiling at the camera [Note: It seems hard to find pics that Gene smiles in with fans]. And until a hopeful next KISS signing comes around I want to conclude with this…GENE, GENE, GENE!!!