KISS Rocker Sees His Cartoon to DVD15 Aug, 2005 By: Brendan Howard
“I'm that guy who wears more makeup than your mommy everyday. I also stick my tongue out a lot.”
Five points for guessing the guy who said that is Gene Simmons, the heavily made-up bass player of KISS. Five-hundred points for being able to guess Simmons is explaining himself to young fans in an interview on a DVD for a cartoon. His cartoon. It's a strange world.
My Dad the Rockstar Vol. 1: Dad's Debut (DVD $16.98) streets Sept. 20 (prebook Aug. 16) from Funimation.
It turns out, though, that Simmons loves cartoons — “everything from Looney Tunes' Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones, all the way to Disney” — and he pitched it to the folks at production company Nelvana in the first place.
The inspiration for the cartoon came when his son, at age 9 or 10, had to bring something to class to explain what his dad did for a living. He brought a poster of the elder Simmons in full black-and-white KISS regalia, spewing fire and spitting blood.
His son told the class, “That's my dad, the rock star.”
The animated show has appeared on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, and follows Willy Zilla, a mild-mannered 12-year-old kid with an annoying older sister, a hippie-dippie mom and a painted-face, long-tongued rock dad named Rock Zilla.
Sounds like Simmons would relate to Rock Zilla, right?
“I relate to Willy,” Simmons said. “All men have a connection to who or what they were at 12 years old. Men are in touch with the boy inside of them. Any girl'll tell you.”
Sadly, though, neither Simmons' work on the cartoon nor his cachet as a famous rocker win him points with his son or his daughter.
“They think I'm a dork, and that's it,” he said. “That's part of the price of becoming a dad. I try. I tell them I'm in a rock band, I'm not a plumber, but I still say corny things, like 23-Skidoo.”
With the success of “My Dad the Rockstar,” Simmons has ventured further into TV. He's pitching eight new shows, and others are already on the air or upcoming. Among them are Oxygen's “Mr. Romance,” recently renewed for a second season, and the reality shows “Gene Simmons' Rock School” and “Gene Simmons' Family Jewels.”
“I'm very clear about the fact that I've got a charmed life,” he said. “I also feel like a rat who knows the maze too well. I know the KISS maze too well. The exciting thing about TV is, gee, I can do other stuff.”