July 04, 2013
Classic rock band KISS celebrates the kickoff of its Canadian tour promoting new album Monster with an appearance at its KISS Army Depot pop-up store at Vancouver’s Tom Lee Music

By Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun

“You wanted it, you got it.”

That is classic Gene Simmons: Make the fans believe that it’s all for them, and they will keep coming. More importantly, they will shell out the big bucks to get the latest from their favourite rock gods.

The fans came in droves to Tom Lee Music in downtown Vancouver to meet their idols — appearing in full makeup and leather gear — and scoop up some of the merch the band had to offer at its KISS Army Depot pop-up store, one of many that have appeared across the country ahead of the band’s Canadian tour promoting 20th studio album Monster and kicking off in Victoria Friday night.

The tour hits Rogers Arena in Vancouver Saturday.

LEGO sets, action figures, posters and even sets of replica boots will be on display and up for grabs at Tom Lee until Sunday, but the band also made sure to point out its generosity at a press conference held Thursday at noon.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was in attendance to receive a $10,000 cheque donated to Sophie Tweed-Simmons’ charitable endeavour Sophie’s Place, which she set up with Watts to help youth in the Surrey area.

“Sophie has always been committed to helping young people,” Simmons said, with a hint of pride, during the press conference. “Sophie’s Place is a place where kids with dysfunction — verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse — can go and be among other young people with no pressure. It helps thousands of abused kids every year.”

Tweed-Simmons, Simmons and Canadian model and Playboy playmate Shannon Tweed’s daughter, was also slated to sing at the home opener of the B.C. Lions Thursday night at BC Place.

Tweed-Simmons and her brother Nick were both fixtures of Simmons’ Family Jewels reality television show, which showed the inner workings of the Simmons household.

“You would like to think your kids are a reflection of you,” Simmons told The Vancouver Sun in an interview following the press conference. “But I couldn’t hold a candle to our kids. They are phenomenal. I wanted to say I had nothing to do with the B.C. Lions game (on Thursday) or how she got herself on X Factor or when she sang with The Tenors in Dallas — a song that she wrote. I had nothing to do with that. You try to help your kids, but both of them are go-getters and I marvel at them.”

Stanley pointed out in the interview that the band will also be donating money to a charity in Toronto named About Face, which helps kids with facial deformations. Stanley has microtia, a condition where one of his ears wasn’t fully formed at birth.

Though part of the profits from the pop-up stores across the country will go to charity, Simmons did not want to get bogged down with numbers.

“What we’re really doing is raising awareness,” he said. “If we didn’t give a penny, it would still be a good thing.”