Gene Simmons says he once put the kibosh on what would have been one of the most monstrous monster mega-groups of the 1980s — a version of KISS with guitar god Eddie Van Halen playing lead to Paul Stanley's rhythm guitar work. Simmons says he didn't think the addition of Van Halen guitarist Van Halen was a "fit."
But Eddie Van Halen remembers only that he doesn't remember any of this story, one which Gene Simmons has spun before.
This time, Simmons told the tale to Rolling Stone magazine, saying that Eddie Van Halen approached him in the early 1980s, around the time original KISS lead guitarist Ace Frehley was leaving the band. That would have been 1982.
That was a tumultuous era for KISS, one in which by Gene Simmons' own admission, he and other band members became preoccupied with careers outside the band that made them wealthy and famous.
"I just wanted to be appreciated outside of KISS," the 64-year-old, Israeli-born Simmons told the magazine, saying that being a member of the supergroup known for its kabuki-style makeup and lavishly theatrical live performances caused him to feel as if he were "a girl with huge t***."
"All anyone talks about is the makeup, or 'Let me see your tongue.' Sometimes you want to say, 'Can't you just focus your eyes up here so that we can have a conversation?'" Gene Simmons explained.
According to Gene Simmons, Eddie Van Halen was going through difficulties with his own band at the time, due to his inability to co-exist with Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth.
"He was so unhappy about how he and Roth were — or weren't — getting along. He couldn't stand him. And drugs were rampant," said Simmons.
At a lunch in New York, Van Halen told Gene Simmons of his troubles with Roth.
"Eddie said, 'I want to join KISS. I don't want to fight anymore with Roth. I'm sick and tired of it,'" said Gene Simmons. "But I told him, 'Eddie, there's not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You're not going to be happy in Kiss.' I talked him out of it. It didn't fit."
As for Van Halen, now 59, he has heard the story before — but says either it isn't true or it's just been blotted out of his memory by whatever substances he was abusing at the time.
"They might have just asked me in passing, and I just kind of laughed it off, probably," sad Eddie Van Halen of the Gene Simmons tale. "If it happened, I'm sure I would have remembered."