Gene Simmons Plays Van Halen Demo Track at a Rare Stripped Down Show

Gene Simmons Band at Potowatimi Casino Rock & Brews
Terrence Exile

The KISS Army was once again reunited and treated to a rare performance from the blood-spitting frontman Gene Simmons‘ solo project, The Gene Simmons Band, at the now shy of one-year-old Rock & Brews restaurant inside Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, WI that he co-owns with the other frontman Paul Stanley.

The band played mostly KISS songs and a few tracks from Simmons’ solo career. However, fans were treated to a very special performance of the Van Halen song “House of Pain.” While this may seem like a random cover, Simmons actually has a connection to the song. He produced a demo version of “House of Pain” for Van Halen back in 1976. The band reworked the song and ended up recording it almost a decade later in 1984 on their sixth studio album.

Simmons once said about the hit song, “The original version of ‘House of Pain’ is like a locomotive that doesn’t stop, and your jaw would drop. The ‘House of Pain’ that’s been recorded by them is tame compared to what this is. You’ll be shocked. And mostly it’s live in the studio.”

At the show on July 3, Simmons and his band played the demo version and it marked the very first time he ever performed the song in concert. In addition to playing the Van Halen cover, the band played versions of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” and Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown.”

While KISS has retired from touring, Simmons and his band are heading out on a European tour this summer plus they will be playing a show in New York in August. What do you think of Simmons’ version of “House of Pain?” Let us know in the comments!

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February 2024

"Long live rock," we like to say, but how did it come to life? Revisit the memorable moments, music and movies that made teens go beat crazy back in the 1950s.

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