Gene Simmons has never shied away from theatrics--and his newly-announced solo box set is a testament to the power and excess of rock and roll.
The Gene Simmons Vault is absolutely what it claims to be: an actual safe (38 pounds!) including the deepest possible dive into the KISS bassist's personal archives, from his first songwriting efforts as a teenager in 1966 to recordings made last year. The set, three years in the making, promises 150 recordings over 10 discs, including "songs I've written, but have never been released...featuring notable rock and roll artists and of course, my bandmates from KISS." While no track list has been delivered, some of the featured collaborators Simmons has mentioned in the past include Bob Dylan, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and, most tantalizingly of all, Eddie and Alex Van Halen. (Simmons famously produced Van Halen's 1976 demo, and conscripted the brothers to play on several demos for the KISS album Love Gun in 1977.)
Now, a mammoth-tongued rocker known for wild costumes, platform shoes and spitting fire and/or blood on stage wouldn't just include a lot of music in that heavy safe. The discs in The Gene Simmons Vault will be packaged in a 12" x 12" commemorative book featuring more than 150 of Simmons' personal photos and 50,000 words of essays and full track-by-track notes. It also features a specially-designed action figure of Gene (dressed in black, sans KISS makeup), an oversize "In Gene We Trust" collectible medallion, and a unique gift hand-selected from Simmons' personal archive.
But it only gets wilder from there: the box set is available in three extremely personal, once-in-a-lifetime tiers:
- The Producer Experience includes an hour of studio time with Gene discussing the finer points of The Gene Simmons Vault, taking photos and signing autographs. Those who attend will receive executive producer credit on the set and are guaranteed a low-numbered edition of the set (within the first 500 copies). These events will take place from September to November across North and South America, Europe and Asia, as well as aboard the KISS Kruise in November.
- The Vault Experience brings fans together with Gene at special events across the globe throughout 2018, featuring a "Songs & Stories" playback session, Q&A, photo/video and autograph sessions, and your copy of the set personally delivered by Simmons himself.
- The Home Experience takes things up a few notches, offering a two-hour private party with Gene in your house--like, your actual home--for you and 25 friends, which will also feature the same amenities as the Vault Experience plus exclusive T-shirt and laminate gifts for attendees.
All experiences come with a gift pack including a signed golden ticket, T-shirt, download card featuring the track "Are You Ready" and a collectible laminate.
You will not be surprised to discover that these sets do not run cheap: Vault Experiences are $2,000 a ticket, with Producer and Home Experiences running a respective $25,000 and $50,000--quite possibly the most expensive box set ever. I want to make it very clear: if you or someone you know is going to add this to a music collection, we will enthusiastically publish your firsthand account. Just typing this story out has blown my mind multiple times, and I would love to live vicariously through your experience.
We'll offer more information on this set (including the possibility of a more mainstream consumer-friendly version) as it is available.