January 13, 2010
By Sarah Tully

Gene Simmons swung his Axe Bass over his shoulder for a few moments. He then switched to the other side. Later, he dropped the bass down, holding a stance.

With each pose, the musician pursed his lips, mugging for the many cameras that bunched around him.

Simmons, the co-founder of Kiss, was the first celebrity to make an official appearance to the NAMM Show, a major music products convention that is expecting to draw more than 85,000 people to the Anaheim Convention Center. Simmons came to the media preview event to show off his Axe Bass guitar. The four-day show starts Thursday.

The bass guitarist appeared without his signature star-eyed makeup, but he still was there for show in his sunglasses, leather jacket and beige boots.

Simmons explained that he created the Axe Bass, which he has used for more than 30 years, for his fans who want them. For $5,000, fans can buy a special bass that Simmons will sign. Those buyers also can go to a sound check and backstage at a Kiss concert or special parties where Simmons appears. Less expensive version sell for about $600.

"The fans have been clamoring to get their own and you can get your own by going to," Simmons said, the first of many times he repeated his Web site address.

Simmons is a regular at NAMM, where he usually promotes products. He's looking forward to NAMM again this year.

"Wherever I go, trouble follows," Simmons said.