March 11, 2008

As rock stars go, arriving 40 minutes late for your first Australian media call on your latest tour is not too bad, and can be forgiven when you walk in wearing full stage make-up and regalia.

Kiss are back in town for their new Australian tour and could not have been more accommodating or polite.

The band, celebrating its 35th year, is playing after the F1 Grand Prix on Sunday night and is promising value for money.

'Good economy or no economy, we have no intentions of stopping,' said frontman Paul Stanley.

'We gave up doing this for money a long time ago, we love it, but we still get paid.'

Like the good businessman that he is, Kiss co-founding member Gene Simmons had a shot at the opposition while promising a full-on ear-blasting concert, none of this coming out and strumming a guitar and calling it a show.

'Rock and roll is in a pathetic state,' he drawled.

'Bands think they can get up on stage and strum their guitars and then download it - it's useless and pathetic.

'We're sick and tired of seeing bands getting up on stage and not giving value for your buck.'

Stanley and Simmons, who were joined on the dais by guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, said they have been living out their dreams for the past 35 years.

'We not only want to live up to the legend (of Kiss) but we want to exceed it, and that's why we are here,' Stanley said.

But does Kiss ever get worried that they will lose touch with their audience, with influences like rap and rave music at the forefront of the Y generation.

'Kiss music is universal, ageless - we always find a new audience,' said Stanley.

'What we sing about is celebrating life, about enjoying yourself.

'We don't need to look for an audience - the audience finds us.'

The band members have other strings to their guitars besides playing music very loudly and pulling tight lycra on to ageing bodies.

Stanley is an artist of some repute and will auction off one of his early Kiss posters to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation at the grand prix ball.

Thayer is a handy golfer and sponsors his own tournament each year in Oregon in the US.

Simmons' talents are turned more towards TV, with his own Ossie Osbourne-type show Family Jewels, which follows on from his Rock School reality series.

Drummer Singer, on the other hand, will be in his element at the grand prix - he collects what he describes as 'American muscle cars'.

But Simmons is no slouch when it comes to motor racing, even though he says he 'drives like a grandmother'.

He has a marketing company which promotes the popular US IndyCar Series and aimed at sponsorship, merchandising and branding.