SOURCE E! Online by Josh Grossberg
What better way to learn about Rock 'n' Roll than from one of its legends, Gene Simmons?
The KISS demon has signed on to star in six episodes of VH1's Rock School, a reality series inspired by the hit movie, School of Rock, according to Daily Variety.
Only, instead of Jack Black instructing classically trained kiddies, the music net has tapped the fire-spewing, tongue-wagging bass player of the world's most outrageous glam band to offer up lessons in everything from how to don the monster makeup to presumably playing such KISS gems as "Lick It Up," "Calling Dr. Love" and "Rock and Roll All Night."
VH1 is teaming with Britain's RDF Media, the creators of ABC's Wife Swap and Spike TV's I Hate My Job, to produce Rock School for U.S. viewers. The company just finished shooting a British version of the series starring Simmons for the U.K.'s Channel 4 and has already ordered two additional installments.
For the American version, RDF and VH1 will tweak those episodes and include additional music and footage of KISS performing from past MTV specials.
Joe Houlihan, RDF's president of U.S. operations, said Simmons immediately sparked to the idea, especially since before forming KISS in 1972 and becoming a '70s rock icon and darling of groupies, he taught sixth graders in Spanish Harlem.
"Gene was genuinely interested in transforming the troupe of pre-teens into a rough-round-the-edges rock band," Joe Houlihan, RDF's president of U.S. operations, told Variety.
Added Houlihan: "We've been kicking this idea around for a few years. With the Jack Black film becoming a big hit, we feel like the timing couldn't be better."
For Simmons, the show is yet another opportunity to soften his own image from the brash rock 'n' roll playboy he's been tagged in the tabloids to a sort of professor of rock--something along the lines of Ozzy Osbourne rebranding himself America's favorite dysfunctional dad in MTV's The Osbournes. The musician has already appeared as a guest judge on American Idol and turned up recently on The Apprentice.
Rock School's opening session will reportedly find Simmons teaching his pupils the art of the grand entrance as he pulls up to an English boarding school in a limousine, drawing indifferent reactions from the kids who found him to be "arrogant" and "middle-aged."
"The cultural byplay between this American rock star and these plum English kids is really quite funny," added VH1 executive vice president Michael Hirschorn.
Talk about an education.
No word whether Simmons' fellow KISS mates Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, or Peter Criss might be making any cameos.
VH1 is expected to debut Rock School in late spring or early summer.
This isn't the first time Simmons and company have tried to appeal to the kiddies. Aside from producing their own comic book series in the '70s and starring in a 1978 made-for-TV movie where they battle an evil scientist, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, the arena rockers also appeared in a cartoon short that was screened ahead of Nickelodeon's 1997 feature, Good Burger. Two years later, Kiss played themselves in Detroit Rock City, a feature-length teen comedy inspired by their classic hit of the same name.Posted by MK Magazine at April 8, 2005 09:05 PM