If Gene Simmons could go back in time to any KISS career highlight, it would be their debut gig at the Academy of Music in New York City, he told Piers Morgan. This is what Simmons remembered about that day: “I’d start at the beginning.” The first time we ever performed on stage, we were fourth on the bill on New Year’s Eve 1973 in New York City.
My heart was racing like nothing you’d ever seen before because you have to realize what it’s like to come from the loins of the people, you know, come up on the streets, and see these god-like individuals on stage having the time of their lives. Plumbers are adored, but even the Pope does not get underwear tossed in his face. He might, but I’m going to get in trouble, but this incredible lifestyle, and I was never the most attractive guy and all that, but as soon as you start playing the guitar and, of course, thrusting out my huge oral appendage, boom!”
Gene recalled their industry debut on New Year’s Eve 1973, when they shared the stage with Iggy Pop and Blue yster Cult. Simmons even admitted to Dean Delray of ‘Let There Be Talk’ that it was the first time he accidently set fire to his hair on stage: “So, we’re doing the first show (with the fire-breathing segment).” On a genuine concert stage, we’re fourth on the bill. It was New Year’s Eve, Blue Oyster Cult was headlining, Iggy Pop was opening, another band called Teenage Lust – a New York band – and we were opening. It was a month before the first record was released. Nobody had any idea who we were. So we go outside.
The third song we’re doing is ‘Firehouse.’ It’s time to let loose. I immediately catch fire. “The audience erupts.” Simmons has been living the rock star lifestyle since that performance, as he explained to Morgan: “It’s ridiculous. How would you like to have more admiration and more money than you know what to do with? Oh, I forgot you were Piers Morgan; you get that all the time.” Watch Gene Simmons’ interview with Piers Morgan and listen to his chat with Dean Delray from ‘Let There Be Talk’ below.