Gene Simmons Dishes On His Vault Experience And Why He Wanted To Share It With Fans Now

There aren’t many artists that can boast 50 years of rock and roll success, but that’s just what Gene Simmons has done. The KISS frontman was in Boston over the weekend to show fans just how much they mean to him. We told you about it back in the fall, but the weekend finally came for The Demon to deliver his Vault Experience to Bostonians. Friday night, he played a private show for fans in Lynn and on Saturday morning, we met up with the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Famer at City Winery, who was in town hand delivering 38 pounds of the legendary bassist’s history to fans during an exclusive meet-and-greet.

From never-before-released songs (167 to be exact) and photos to stories and collectible items, each three-foot Vault is being personally delivered to fans this year by Simmons during his “Vault World Tour.” The $2,000 collection includes 10 discs, a leather-bound photo book, a Gene Simmons action figure, a gold medallion and a surprise item. The Vault Experience also includes a “Songs & Stories” segment where Simmons performs songs included in The Vault and provides background stories about the creative process behind the music.

Gene SimmonsPhoto Credit: Wills Communications

We caught up with Simmons on Saturday to discuss his Vault Collection, why he needed to do this for his fans and what he loves most about Boston.

What made you decide now was the time to share The Vault with fans?

It was an opportunity for fans to explore my career and all of the collectibles, including solo recordings in this limited edition vault collection. This is a very personal experience for me. With The Vault, I’ve created a 50-year time capsule from 1966 to 2016 that is really a soundtrack to my life. It is filled with songs I’ve written that had never been released until now. I didn’t want this to come out posthumously. That’s a funny word, isn’t it? I wanted to be able to celebrate it with fans while I am still here. It is a way of hand delivering the largest box set of all time to the fans who have made my life possible. It’s my way of saying thank you to my fans. It’s not available in stores. I’m going to be traveling around the world hand delivering it to the fans who buy it. I decided it was time to share another side with fans, a deeply personal one. The Vault includes tracks co-written with rock and roll legends like Bob Dylan, Joe Perry, Eddie and Alex Van Halen and of course, my bandmates from KISS. The best part? I will hand deliver your Vault at an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime, coming to a city near you.

How long did it take you to put this together?

I started putting it together about 10 years ago. I compiled the entire collection myself, which is why it is so personal for me. There is a book containing over 50,000 words and 160 pages of unseen photos from my personal collection as well as a track-by-track commentary on every song. I also hand selected a personal gift from me to you direct from my very own archive. I’m really proud of it.

Do you think that other artists will follow suit?

No, simply because there was so much work involved in putting The Vault together. It was a lot of work, but these songs have just been sitting up in the attic and I wanted to give the fans an opportunity to hear them. KISS isn’t going anywhere. We are still going strong and are going to be around until there is no hair left on my head (laughs).

Do you wish some of your favorite artists had done this for you as a fan?

Absolutely. It would have been great if Elvis tapped me on the back and said, ‘Here you go. Look what I put together for you.’ It’s a great opportunity for me to thank all of my fans. I am traveling the world to say thank you to them. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.

What do you enjoy most about Boston?

We were just in Lynn Friday night. I love Boston. It’s the birthplace of democracy. And like The Standells song, I love that dirty water; oh, Boston, you’re my home (starts singing the song).