Early Van Halen demos are ‘cool’ says Simmons

Kiss mainman Gene Simmons has recalled his work with Van Halen in 1976.

Simmons saw the fledgling band on the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, prior to the group signing a record deal in the mid-70s. He went on to produce a demo for Eddie Van Halen and co. And the bassist says while the material features “a lot of cool stuff” Van Halen don’t want it to see the light of day.

Simmons tells Rolling Stone: “I discovered the band. I saw them, signed them, flew them to New York and put them in Electric Lady Studios.

“They were signed to my company, Man Of 1000 Faces. I produced their 24-track demo – 15 songs – which I still own. It has everything from the first record and also faster versions of House Of Pain. It’s a lot of cool stuff, but the band just doesn’t want it to come out. The back and forth with David Lee Roth complicated matters.”

Simmons reports he also recruited Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen to record some demos which would eventually end up as Kiss tracks.

He continues: “We recorded three songs I had written. I was in Los Angeles between tours, and I called Alex and Ed and said: ‘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 hopes to include these tracks in a solo box set at some point in the future. “It was originally going to be called Monster, but we decided to call the 2012 Kiss studio record Monster, so it may be called Alter Ego,” he adds. “We’ll include 150-200 songs that were never released. I’ve got one called Mongoloid Man with Joe Perry on guitar.”

The Kiss bassist will appear at this year’s TeamRock Heavy Con event which runs from September 30 to October 2 at London’s Excel.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.