Think what you will of Kiss bassist-turned-marketing guru Gene Simmons, but the man has proven over the years that he can make a decent tune – aided as he was by Paul Stanley’s voice or Ace Frehley’s licks.
He’s also shown an unending willingness to wade into the tackiest of depths in his search for the next buck, from his attempt to trademark naked carwashes for college girls, or his bastardisation of the ‘devil horns’ symbol, to these beauties:
So it’s no surprise that his own musical output hit similar levels of lame at various points in his solo career, and hey, even Leonard Cohen’s batting average took a hit with ‘Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On’.
But my god Gene, you really butchered this one.
As Godfathers of rave culture and electronic luminaries, The Prodigy weren’t exactly hanging out for the sort of exposure granted by having one of their two #1 singles dragged kicking and screaming back into the studio in 2014 for a by-the-numbers retread, even with Dave Navarro making a guest appearance.
And while the track’s appearance on Simmons’ second and final solo studio LP, Asshole, was bad enough, it’s the one-man cringe compilation of a video clip that really completes the effect.
Check out Gene Simmons’ ‘Firestarter’:
An abomination even by 2004 standards, it features all the low-riders, scantily-clad dancing girls and fluffy pimp coats we’d neither expected nor demanded from the former Demon, making Kid Rock look almost restrained by comparison.
As Gene rolls his head back into his skull, poles out his tongue and shakes his head from side to side, before shoving a poor woman’s face towards his groin with the self-satisfied grin of a man who’s 100% confident he’s just made the greatest video clip of all time, it’s hard not to feel a little sad for everyone involved.
While he recently explained that if he were President he’d send drug addicts to “work camps”, we’re just left wondering what punishment we’d deal out to Gene himself for letting this out into the world if we were in power.
Thankfully, he and his band had built up plenty of goodwill with music fans over the years, and a misstep like this one is just a blip on the radar. So, to wash away the taste and smell of that little gem, let’s look back to the comfort of some classic-era KISS with a little ‘Burn Bitch Burn’.
“When love rears its head, I wanna get on your case. Ooh baby, wanna put my log in your fireplace.”