Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rock News Artist Of The Year #2: GENE SIMMONS

As part of the 2011 hennemusic Rock News Awards – recognizing the biggest rock news stories and artists of the year - hennemusic is counting down the Top 10 rock news artists of the year.

The Top 10 are determined by music fans: numbers are based on the combined total page views of the top 50 hennemusic rock news stories of the past twelve months.

Rock News Artist Of The Year #03 – GUNS N’ ROSES
Rock News Artist Of The Year #04 – STEVEN TYLER
Rock News Artist Of The Year #05 – GARY MOORE
Rock News Artist Of The Year #06 – JOURNEY
Rock News Artist Of The Year #07 – MOTLEY CRUE
Rock News Artist Of The Year #08 – METALLICA
Rock News Artist Of The Year #09 – JAMES DURBIN
Rock News Artist Of The Year #10 – PEARL JAM

Rock News Artist Of The Year #2 – GENE SIMMONS

Gene Simmons had a bit of wild ride in 2011.

The KISS bassist made more headlines this year for his televised personal life than for his music.

Gene’s “happily unmarried” mantra was not only tested, but broken, as a wedding ring slipped on his finger in October, but only because he found time to squeeze it in between business meetings, speaking engagements and KISS duties.

That’s not meant to sound like a dig, that’s the reality in Gene’s alleged reality series; he’s built his own reputation and myth on it.

Gene’s TV program captures these moments on a regular basis, and it was the show – well, make that Shannon Tweed - who put him on notice in front of the world for it.

Before the spring season of programs began, Gene and Shannon went out on the promo trail to plug it, appearing together in media sessions.

A June 13 interview on The Today Show started the ball rolling downhill towards Gene, with Shannon ambushing him on live television.

When asked about their 28-year relationship, Tweed responded “the last two were a bitch,” adding the relationship “has pretty much unraveled.”

Gene’s conditioned response in situations when he’s uncomfortable on camera is to try to change the subject and make bad jokes, eventually finding himself pleading for assistance, speechless – or both. While outwardly portraying himself as smooth-talking ladies man, Gene’s lost once he, and everyone else in the room, knows he’s busted.

Given Gene’s constant need for self-promotion, it was hard to tell if The Today Show appearance was real or not. Staged? Could have been. Watch the video evidence for yourself here.

Later that same day, the couple were on The Joy Behar Show and things escalated with another ambush by Shannon, as she flipped him off, told him to “f**k off” and, eventually, walked off the set during the program. Gene was left to beg for Tweed’s return, which didn’t happen. What set Shannon off was more bad jokes from Gene about his cheating (which he’s admitted), something he’s never really been called out on camera for before.

The Behar incident made TMZ-like headlines, capturing enough fans attention to be the #3 hennemusic Rock News Story Of The Year – watch the video and more here.

There’s an old saying about a woman scorned, and Shannon’s motives were pretty clear in these national, network TV interviews: bust Gene’s balls while, seemingly, trying to buy herself some time to figure out what was next for the couple (cue The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” ).

On June 14, the night the new season premiered, Simmons went on Twitter to unload about his family issues during the program while offering a virtual play-by-play of the proceedings; read about the events here.

Simmons’ Twitter comments revealed much about the man’s motives in life: money first, everything else second.

The summer episodes included an emotional family trip to Israel, Gene’s first visit to his home city in more than 50 years. With Shannon’s help, Simmons met relatives he didn’t know he had, and then faced his biggest demon as he visited his father’s grave.

It became apparent that Gene was driven by fame and fortune as fallout from his parent’s divorce (Gene was 5 at the time); he was determined to prove his value to the world as man, unable to earn that approval from his absent father, who passed in 2002.

Gene spent most of the summer shows reluctantly sitting in a therapist’s office, trying to avoid having to work through his father abandonment issues, which contributed to his fear of commitment, and marriage as a concept.

The July season finale was a cliffhanger, with Gene on bended knee proposing to Shannon.

Looks like the ball-busting worked. But was it too late in this soap opera? Did Shannon really want to get married because she’d beaten Gene up, in front of the world, for his years of infidelity?

The fine line between reality shows and real life often gets blurred.

A sloppy mess of a promotion for the fall season followed, with Gene and Shannon’s wedding taking place before the cliffhanger premiere episode went to air. A&E looked foolish continuing the charade of running promos that teased (insulted) viewers about whether or not Shannon would say yes, when the headline-making ceremony was already done and over with.

The wedding day did look perfect on tv, the couple was obviously very happy, and even the presence of TV cameras on site couldn’t take that away from them.

It’s hard to tell, for sure, if the world will see a kinder, gentler and more self-aware Gene because of the process he’s gone through in the past six months.

As Gene himself indicated to Shannon, the wedding was staged to fit into a small gap in his business schedule, and if that timing couldn’t be accommodated, it would have had to wait until sometime in 2012. Less than two weeks later, Gene left for the first KISS Kruise and it seemed like business as usual.

Old habits die hard.