1985 was a year in fashion – Kiss fashion at least – that bassist Gene Simmons would very much like to forget. Even he has admitted that – after they took the make-up off in 1983 – he was lost on stage for some time. I can also recall him as saying he looked like ‘Phyllis Diller’s sister’ or similar. As you can gather from other Kiss-related posts, I was a massive fan. But that did not mean they were not to be scrutinised – something which many devout Kiss disciples cannot do. Simmons looked ridiculous in the mid-80’s – a faceless rock musician. For the previous ten years you knew he was in Kiss…just by looking at his costume and make-up – but then he did indeed lose his way. On the 1983 World Tour he could’ve been a member of Krokus, Accept, Demon, Cloven Hoof or (insert band name here) ! His image improved with the tiger-themed Animalize album and tour. They all looked kinda cool – leather and animal skin worked well for them. But lurking around the corner was 1985 – which meant the ‘Asylum’ Album and Tour….a downright fashion nightmare. The Rockbrat has two images here to highlight just how ridiculous big Gene looked. Let’s focus first at this live tour pic I found in my collection. After Animalize, guitarist Bruce Kulick – like Simmons – was also dressed by a blind man – at least until the 1990 Hot In The Shade Tour (anyone remember his ‘BK’ shirt or that black and white striped nuclear thing he used to wear ? Hilarious – I ain’t never seen Lemmy prancing about like that. Stanley is off the Rockbrat radar for this post (knee-pads were the HM style back then) – though I was always unsure what those bicycle reflectors on his guitar strap were all about ! If he was aiming at starting some kind of revolutionary guitar accessory it bombed ! But back to Geno – Firstly, where on earth did he get that blue sequined dressing gown ? Put that back in Liberace’s wardrobe will ya ? A long way from the bloody leather-and-studded-bat-winged- demon me thinks ! And are those tough-looking long white gloves made of silk ? Oh I geddit – this was ‘dress as a drag queen night ? Simmons looks horrendous and it really is pot-luck to know if he was wigged-up or not in these images – or anytime in the 80’s. You see after he had the locks cut off for his ‘Runaway’ film role – he actually wore a wig on stage ! A rug ! It too looked silly – but listen up – I can recall Stanley telling a BBC interviewer on the 1984 UK Tour (in reference to the film Spinal Tap) – for fans to ‘take it with a Lorry-full of salt’. Get real ! This stuff is funny as all hell ! Maybe I’ll do a post on that dead black cat Paul had on his head during his fairly recent ‘Live To Win’ Tour….”here kitty, kitty, kitty” ! To make matters worse for Simmons – his whole stage act had vanished along with his make-up. Stalking around the stage all sinister and demon-like when you are dressed like Pricilla doesn’t work. Let’s not forget he used to persist with that annoying high-kicking schtick as well. Dave Lee Roth…sure – Paul Stanley…why not. But Simmons ? Again, that stage nonsense is about as daft as if Malcolm Young did it…which he wouldn’t – cos he does not have to – ever. Funnily enough – (or not so) I had a Kiss buddy at the time that flew out from Australia to see Kiss on this tour – in November of 1985. Thinking back, I was damn envious but in hindsight, he saw them on one of their worst tours ever. Debate me if you will, but Asylum is one helluva weak effort – and I believe this tour had some half-empty concert halls which reflected that – on a tour which apparently ended earlier than scheduled. As fate would have it, the openers on the bill were Black n Blue featuring current Kiss imposter Tommy Thayer. By the reckoning of the Rockbrat – it would be seven years in the future when Simmons would grow a goatee, dressed in black leather and skulls, and look the coolest he had since the make-up days. He would probably agree with me. Next !!