January 28, 2011
Calling Dr. Love: Dallas Giving Key to City to Kiss' Gene Simmons

By Linda Jones

DALLAS -- Kiss bassist Gene Simmons is legendary for his musical talent and for the tongue wagging, fire breathing and blood spitting of his alter ego, the Demon.

But when the rocker and reality show celebrity comes to Dallas today to be honored by city officials, it will be for activities that are more in keeping with his other nickname: Dr. Love.

On Wednesday, during Super Bowl week, Simmons will be showing his love and continued support for American troops by throwing a fundraising party for them at Centennial Hall in Fair Park. As a show of appreciation, Dallas officials will toss him a key to the city.

"We all know that Mr. Simmons is a talented artist and a famous rock star," said Dallas City Councilman Steve Salazar, who will make the presentation during a ceremony at 4 p.m. today at Dallas City Hall. "But the key is to honor his humanitarian work in supporting our men and women, many of [whom] have been wounded."

Simmons, who is on a speaking and performing tour in Canada, will fly in to Dallas for a day to receive the award. He will return next week to host the event along with his longtime partner, Shannon Tweed. The couple will host more than 500 Texas soldiers from Fort Hood at the Aces & Angels Salute to the Troops on Wednesday. Proceeds of the party will support the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The party will be filmed for viewers of Simmons' A&E TV show, "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels."

This is the fifth year that Simmons is hosting the event, which has generated millions of dollars to support wounded troops, according to Michael Eakman, executive producer of the annual event.

Eakman said he spoke with Dallas city officials about exploring a way to honor Simmons, and they came up with offering him a key to the city.

"His commitment and passion to the troops is more than lip service," he said.