Gene Simmons Guest Appearance Closes First Day of Visual Japan Summit
Kiss' Gene Simmons surprised the crowd at the Visual Japan Summit at the Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall by popping in to sing "Rock and Roll All Nite" during a jam session following X Japan's headline performance on Oct. 14.
The scene was surreal and gloriously chaotic: As confetti poured out over the audience, Simmons stood at the mic with his axe-shaped bass, surrounded by a colorful crew of musicians that had performed earlier in the day -- a group that included members of the bands Glay, Luna Sea, Psycho le Cému, By Sexual and Speed of Lights. (The last group sported full-on astronaut costumes.)
Most of the musicians clapped their hands and pumped their fists while singing the chorus loudly, and a few waved flags high in the air during the song, adding a celebratory tone to the proceedings.
In a nod of respect, Simmons did X Japan's trademark rallying cry ("We are!" "X!") before the song's performance started, while during "Rock and Roll All Nite" he counted off the cues in Japanese ("ichi, ni, san"). The respect was 100 percent mutual from the crowd on and offstage, especially from X Japan drummer and pianist Yoshiki: A die-hard Kiss fan, he recently told Rolling Stone that Alive II "changed my life. Then right after, I picked up a newspaper: Kiss is coming to Japan! 'Mom, I need to go see this!' So my mother is in a kimono, and my 5-year-old brother, and we went to see Kiss. My mom was eating sushi and Gene shows up spitting blood and fire and screaming. It blew me away."
The three-day Visual Japan Summit is a celebration of visual kei, a Japanese musical movement spawned in the '80s that's indebted to glam, hard rock and heavy metal, as well as the theatrical bent of acts such as Kiss, Motley Crue and Twisted Sister.
The day before his Visual Japan Summit appearance, Simmons was on hand for the opening of the Kiss Expo Tokyo 2016 in the Harajuku neighborhood. Billed as the "first-ever official Kiss exhibition supported by Kiss," the exhibit features memorabilia and artifacts culled from the band members' collections -- everything from instruments and costumes to tour ephemera and a Kiss-branded coffin.
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