December 21, 2009
KISS band members visit Boys and Girls Club in Monrovia

By Nathan McIntire

Children at the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills discovered Monday that the Demon and the Catman aren't nearly as imposing without their makeup.

Gene Simmons and Eric Singer, also known respectively as the Demon and the Catman of the legendary rock band KISS, visited the club and signed autographs while imploring the kids to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Though the lead singer and drummer of KISS didn't wear their patented white and black make-up, Simmons did oblige repeated requests to show his infamously long, slithering tongue.

"I would stick my tongue out, but look how dirty the floor is," Simmons told one child before relenting.

Simmons, who says he's never done drugs or taken a sip of alcohol, told the children that original band members Simmons said the main reason for the visit was to inspire young people.

"Everybody should go out of their way to do something nice for young people," Simmons said. "They can wind up being great, or they can wind up robbing a 7-11. We just wanted to show up and show them somebody cares."

Keelan Ellis, 17, of Azusa said he is also a long-time fan and plans to cover KISS songs with his band.

"My first talent show I dressed up as (KISS guitarist) Paul Stanley," Ellis said.

A representative from Disney gave away about 100 KISS T-Shirts as well as hundreds of DVDs and memorabilia to the children.

Bob Monk, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills, said he was impressed with the positive message the band members brought to the kids.

"While they may look a little frightening on stage, they're really kind to the core," Monk said.