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Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss.

Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss.

KISS bassist Gene Simmons recently sat down with Rolling Stone and spoke abouty his involvement in recording demos with a young Van Halen 40 years ago.

Back in 1976, Simmons saw the band play live during their early days on the Sunset Strip and was so impressed by the four piece band that he put them up in a studio to record their first demo.

Simmons says: “I discovered the band. I saw them and signed them and flew them to New York and put them in Electric Lady Studios. They were signed to my company, Man of 1,000 Faces. I produced their 24-track demo — 15 songs — which I still own, and, oh, it has everything from the first record and also faster versions of ‘House of Pain’ and stuff. It’s a lot of cool stuff, but the band just doesn’t want it to come out — you know, the back and forth with [David Lee] Roth complicated matters.”

The demos didn’t really seem to garner any interest from KISS management, therefore they took a pass, and the band would go on to get signed by Warner Brothers. While those songs may not ever be officially released, Simmons says there are three other tracks he recorded with Eddie and Alex Van Halen in a different session. One of those songs was ‘Christine Sixteen.’

According to Simmons: “They did me a favor. We recorded three songs I had written. I was in Los Angeles between tours, and I called Alex and Ed: ‘Listen, I got three songs. I’m going in at 2AM. Do you want to come down and help me?’ Usually, I play the guitars and the drums to the extent I can and put down all the parts. But I wanted to do three songs instead of one. So we did ‘Christine Sixteen,’ and I put the keyboards on, everything else. And Ed did the solo to the rhythm guitar, bass, and Alex was on drums.”

Simmons went on to say that he hopes to release the songs as part of a solo box set. He wants to include 150 to 200 unreleased songs, including one with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on guitar.

He is currently in discussions with numerous companies about distributing the box set.