Gene Simmons

All posts tagged Gene Simmons

By Carl Begai

Folks can argue that the Sleep Is The Enemy album from 2006 put Canadian (former underground) rockers Danko Jones on the map. If that’s the case, Below The Belt gave the band free reign to choose when and where their three-man circus would touch down on that map. Released in May 2010, it yielded three singles and star-studded videos for each, support tours with Guns N’ Roses and Motörhead, international festival gigs, and headline tours across Europe. Frontman and namesake Danko Jones calls Below The Belt an album that had to be made in the wake of the disappointing – as far as he’s concerned – Never Too Loud record from 2008. And in the end, it laid the groundwork in a big way for their new platter Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.

“Below The Belt did really well for us on radio in Canada, the States and Europe, so I’m glad it had the legs; definitely more than Never Too Loud did. In hindsight Never Too Loud was a bit of a misstep for us, but I wouldn’t really take it back now that we’ve done Below The Belt and Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue because I like bands that have hills and valley to their discography. Living through Never Too Loud for those one-and-a-half years wasn’t torturous, but the outcome of the session was kind of annoying. I’d rather put Never Too Loud out again, but only as the demos. When we had those demos we were going into a world class studio with a world class producer (Nick Rasculinecz / Rush, Death Angel) thinking that was the album, but it didn’t turn out that way. I resisted saying anything when we were doing press because I couldn’t understand what people were hearing that I wasn’t. When we were finishing Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue I went back and listened to Never Too Loud, which was critically the worst received album we’ve done, and I wanted to make sure we weren’t at that level. I didn’t realize how sonically poor Never Too Loud was compared to the more recent two albums.” Continue Reading

By Carl Begai

I recently crossed Black N’ Blue frontman Jaime St. James off my interview bucket list.

No, he doesn’t have the high profile career, matching fame, or “legendary” status of Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford, but St. James is one of those voices from my formative metalhead years in the ’80s that never disappeared. And while I can’t say that I’ve listened to Black N’ Blue religiously since the days I had a full head of hair, I can lay claim knowing every word, vocal nuance, widdly guitar part, drum fill and additional noise found on the Nasty Nasty record. It was and is one of those things I can’t explain beyond the fact it was music that struck a chord with me and became part of my bloodstream. That they have a new album out all these years later on par with Nasty Nasty is nothing short of fantastic in my world.

St. James recently took time out to discuss the record, Hell Yeah, and the interview will appear on these pages soon. In the meantime an excerpt from the chat is available below, as I address something that’s been bugging me for over two decades…

In 1987 a new band called EZO – rumoured to have been discovered by KISS legend Gene Simmons – started popping up regularly on MuchMusic and MTV through their video for the song ‘Flashback Heart Attack’. This was followed by a second single, ‘Here It Comes’. Hailing from Japan, they played the glam metal part well, fitting into the hair-and-make-up ’80s scene running amok at the time as if they were born to it. Musically, however, they were different from their more-pose-for-your-buck peers, making EZO something definitely worth investigating for a youngling with preferences for Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Helloween. Continue Reading