Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simmons And His Family Jewels Sparkle In View Royal

 By Kathryn Burnham, Times Colonist

After four decades of meeting screaming fans at concerts and autograph signings, Gene Simmons says "it's this or staying home, twiddling my thumbs and watching I Love Lucy re-runs - which one would you pick?"

The Kiss bassist and star of A&E's Gene Simmons Family Jewels was accompanied by his partner Shannon Tweed, daughter Sophie and son Nick, for a meet and greet outside View Royal Casino Saturday.

"You know we aren't doing anything, we are just going to stand here and talk. We're not performing. You know that, right?" Nick told the crowd of screaming fans. "Then hi, nice to see you. Why are you here?"

The event was a family affair, with many parents accompanied by their children, who are fans of the show.

Landon Shaw was there to have his photo taken with the Simmons family, but used his 15 seconds on stage to play a few chords for the rock star.

Simmons stole the moment, however, when he reached around 11-year-old Landon's shoulders to strum the boy's electric guitar. "It is a milestone he will remember forever," said Landon's mother, Tiina.

Landon plays one Kiss song, I Was Made for Lovin' You, as part of a busking set he does downtown.

His parents are fans of the band, and "now we pass on the tradition," said his father, Ken Shaw. They also share a love for Simmons's TV show.

Money and fame is one side of the story, but the family portrayed through six seasons is just like many others. Sophie said her father is extremely strict.

"There's zero tolerance for drinking or partying or things like that. They encourage us to go out with our friends, but they encourage us to not be idiots."

Simmons said: "I think the TV show is good for all of us. It is certainly good for me, because it gives me a chance to watch myself and realize that my perception of myself isn't accurate. Sometimes I can be short, arrogant, selfish."

Asked about rumours that he proposes to Tweed in an upcoming episode of the show, Simmons said: "For the record, I have never been married. I have desperately loved Shannon for 28 years, and we have two great kids." kburnham@timescolonist.com