I’ve just arrived at my hotel room in Cleveland, Ohio after one of the most unforgettable and incredible days of my life – literally. This day was all about emotion, Love, dreams, youth, and the endless power of the mind and spirit… Who would have ever thought that these would be the conclusions that arose after coming back from a KISS show?
For those of you who don’t know, KISS is the band that I grew up on during my teens. The old-school rock and roll, electric guitar songs drove me to a state of mind without me even knowing about it, to the extent that when I look back at myself from a much more mature perspective, I can literally see how powerful of an influence KISS had had upon me in my life. It may seem kind of lame that I would say such a thing, however there are things in life that simply cannot be explained. The power that Rock N Roll has is beyond anything that I can explain in words, but what I can say, is that it’s about Living, and Loving, and being amazing and vibrant throughout every living breath and moment. KISS gave me the energy of Life, the rebellion, and the lyrics that spoke about being the best, winning, and telling everyone in the world to go to hell when I had to fulfill the dreams that I’ve been running after. The lyrics never had negativity in them. The ideas conveyed were always about celebrating life, and the music that went with it injected the positive fiery matter that became the soundtrack of my youth.
This day however was overwhelming beyond anything that I could ever dream about – but come to think of it… I dreamed about it for years! And the fact that it became a reality is not necessarily due to fault of my own, but the culmination of people’s good will, my good will, and a commitment to never give up until I get my mission done successfully. What was my mission? Here we go.
3 weeks after I had been wounded, and due to the KISS poster that I had hanging on the wall in front of my hospital bed, word got out that I was a diehard KISS fan. While my body was crushed, and my mind fogged by the curtain of morphine I suddenly received an unexpected video of my childhood idol, Gene Simmons, looking into a camera and sending me his personal blessing. While laying nearly motionless and overwhelmed, I remember myself making a clear mental note that I will one day make contact with Gene Simmons, and thank him for his kind deed which to me, meant so much. A year or two had passed and Gene Simmons opened up a record label (SIMMONS RECORDS) seeking new acts. It seemed like a heaven-sent message that I should reconnect and get signed with my band SIREN on to his label. We produced an extremely expensive music video in which Gene is kidnapped by terrorists, and the song which we wrote by the name of “WAKE UP,” was tailored to kick Gene’s ass (watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjS8QWo5eCw).
The music video was a success and now I had to get it to him. I pulled every single string that I had (which are a lot!) to try to get to Gene; I spoke with his personal assistant, with his producer, with people from his TV production crew, sent the video to KISS’s former lead guitarist, and even had coffee with his brother in Tel Aviv! However no matter what I did, I could not penetrate into Gene’s inner circle and get it to him. I always told myself that there is no way on earth that I will rest until I know for sure that he saw the video. It was time for drastic measures and upon being in the US I booked a flight to Los Angeles, to a conference that Gene was to be the keynote speaker of. My great friend and cameraman ET (his real name is Itamar) and I bluffed press passes to get in, and simply ambushed Gene. He was surprised to see, remembering what he had done for me, and as I handed him the CD with warm remarks, he began to badger me about the many reasons why there is no chance that I will ever make it in the music biz. I didn’t take it personally because being a diehard fan of his, I knew that there was a great chance that he would do that; thats just how he is…
With all of the action and emotion going on, and of course his quite “uninviting” remarks, I never got around to showing him the music video! Leaving that event, everyone whom I told the story to told me that (excuse me) he is an A-hole and that I shouldn’t care at all about him. The mission however of showing the video to him was still incomplete, and while maintaining high hopes and a positive attitude, there was still a journey to be made until he would see it.
We began the day today by arriving at the beautiful venue at Cuhoga Falls. The amazing Mike Belkin whom I had just met the day before, a long time producer of huge events, a man of values, philanthropist, and much more importantly, an extraordinarily kind and modest man, took us back stage where we received ALL ACCESS BACKSTAGE PASSES. We waited a while outside of the venue’s offices when KISS’s field producer came by and told us to wait a moment while he went to go get Gene. 5 minutes later, Gene walks through the door and straight up to me to shake my hand and say hello. He is a huge guy, tall, intimidating, and yet awkwardly charming. Being that I read his books, and heard countless interviews about him, I know him pretty much inside and out; expecting to soon be hit by his clever “smart ass” attitude. This time however, I wasn’t going to let him slip between the cracks like the first time that I met him. This time I came prepared (as always) with SIREN CDs that had my contact information clearly placed on the front of the CD. I also decided to exercise my Israeli hutzpah and to speak to him as directly as I could in order to finally find closure. I told Gene that the last time we met, he made me a promise to listen to my music, which I doubted that he had done. I told him briefly about bluffing the passes, the ambush, and that this time I was here in order to make sure that there were no misunderstandings. I gave him my SIREN CD, took out my laptop, which was prepared to show him the music video to our song WAKE UP (which he stars in). Gene stood and watched the whole clip for the whole duration of the song from start to finish. He seemed interested, asked who the singer was, how much it costed to make the music-video, and I gave him some background about the band while he was watching. When it ended, we spoke some more, and went on to take some pictures. Gene even began to hum the chorus of the song! After the photos, we politely parted as we were going to see him a gain later.
We went further backstage to an area where we waited in an empty tent with other hardcore KISS fans until the whole band came out without make up to play us a 20 minute acoustic jam session, accepting to play whatever songs that we tried to throw at them. There were no more than 30 people in the tent, and the atmosphere was intimate, and extremely funny. I was sitting right in front my my childhood heroes watching them play their acoustic guitars, and even getting a compliment from Paul Stanley (the front man) who had heard me sing in the past, that I am a great singer (this is my Blog so I can brag all I want!). The setting was truly magical and afterwards, Paul and Gene signed one of my SIREN CDs; which I can safely say would not have existed without them both. After the band said goodbye to go put on their makeup, we wobbled over to the catering area in disbelief, eating with the backstage crew with wide eyes and an unexplainable excitement. After the band had finished putting on their makeup, they came back out to the fans with their costumes, 8 inch high heels, makeup and full blown legendary KISS aura. Every fan got to take a picture with them and once we were all finished, we made our way outside the amphitheater to see the Hottest Band in the World from row 15. The night was spectacular, unforgettable, and overwhelming on every level possible.
I was finally able to get Gene to see the video, meet the band, and see a KISS show while I was at it! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! The amazing thing is, that I would always tell my partner, Yoad, that I will not rest until I see with my own eyes that Gene saw the music video… and guess what? I literally saw it with my own eyes, that Gene Simmons stood and looked through the whole thing with his own eyes. Just another dream come true – they always do some way, at some time. As long you never give up, always believe in it even if its a wild dream, and constantly keep it in your thoughts, it WILL happen.