Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random Rock Star Moment #13: Gene Simmons

The following is the transcript from an online conversation between Umlaut and Tour Manager Doug (TMD).

TMD sent the following Internet anecdote to UMLAUT: Subject: Elephant's Memory - Touching Story

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from
college. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so Mbembe approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a
large thorn deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn out with
his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its
face, stared at him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty
years later he was walking through a zoo with his teenaged son.

As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned
and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and lifted its front foot off the ground then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk a round one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

UMLAUT: It's funny 'cause the elephant kills him.

TMD: That's why I sent it to you.

UMLAUT: It's funny when animals kill people.

TMD: Ted Nugent agrees.

UMLAUT: Now THAT would be FUNNY. Especially if it was an albino buffalo.

[At this point the conversation turned to Gene Simmons...]

TMD: I threw him out of a dressing room once. Didn't know who it was, obviously. His back was to me.

My band was on stage in about a half hour, I walked into the dressing room and in my usual soft demure fashion said "Everybody who isn't in the band needs to get out, they're on soon and need to get ready."

He had his back to me talking to the guitar player. He instantly said something about how he better go, shook hands with the guitar player and the 2 other band guys, wished them good luck and left. I never saw his face, as I was dealing with the 2 nobodies in the room who didn't acknowledge my request with any movement at all.

When everybody was out the guitar player said "Man, you just threw Gene Simmons out of his own dressing room". The show was at the old Ritz in NYC, smaller than the Warfield if I remember correctly, and once we were done playing we needed to vacate our dressing room for KISS to use. I think my reply was something to the effect of "Somebody had to do it".

A similar thing happened with Michael Stipe in Atlanta once. Same result. I like it when big time Rock Stars appreciate the hardworking crew guys.

UMLAUT: THAT'S a great story... What band were you with?

TMD:The band was called Dirty Looks. Their Cool From The Wire album is actually pretty good in an AC/DC clone sort of way. The date was Aug 12th or 13th, 1988. We opened both nights. It was probably the first one.

UMLAUT: Random Rock Star Moment #13: Gene Simmons coming up. Were you supporting KISS?

TMD: Just for those 2 shows. Somebody else was supposed to, LA Guns or somebody, but their drummer broke his leg or something.

We had done a festival in New Hampshire on July 4th with KISS, Balaam & the Angel, Dirty Looks, Mantas, TH Wreckage. The biggest cheer that Dirty Looks got was when Gene walked across the far back of the stage during their set.

Legend has it that TMD and Umlaut met at a Krokus show circa 1982. TMD roams The Earth enabling Rock Stars to be Rock Stars. Umlaut lives vicariously through TMD's Lock 'N Loll lifestyle and wants to write his memoirs.

Click HERE for more trivia on TMD.

Click HERE for more trivia on Umlaut.

KISS trading cards courtesy of the Umlaut Archives.