KISS’ Gene Simmons to Ted Poley: "You owe me $18."
Ted Poley of Danger Danger & CC Banana.
Press Release from Split Screen Entertainment:
Danger Danger frontman Ted Poley recently spoke with SplitScreen Entertainment about his first encounters with Kiss legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Whereas his meeting with Gene ended up costing him a few bucks, his encounter with Paul provided the inspiration for the new song "Ted Poley," as featured on the newly released tribute album "KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent." A parody of "Unholy" by Vincent and Simmons, the song has been reworked by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana as a good-natured roast of the veteran rock singer. What follows is a personal account of the original inspiration for the track, as told in Ted Poley‘s own words.
UNHOLY TED POLEY
by Ted Poley
I am what I am because of Kiss.
At age 14, Kiss changed my life.
They weren’t just a rock band. They were larger-than-life gods.
They didn’t just appear onstage. When they arrived, things fucking exploded.
These four guys, dressed in the most amazing costumes, would create a fantasy inside Madison Square Garden. There would be smoke and fire and bombs and blood spitting galore.
Before Kiss there were The Allman Brothers and The Bee Gees. Yes, there was even Deep Purple and The Beatles. And you can bet that I knew every word to every song. But when I heard Kiss play the opening notes of "Detroit Rock City" — DADADADA, DADADADA, DADADADADADADADADADA, BOOM! — and I saw the whole stage blow up… that’s when I made up my mind.
That’s when I knew what I wanted to do.
All of a sudden, everything made sense. That’s why I’d been put here. This was to be my destiny. The Bee Gees no longer did it for me. I had been officially Konverted.
When the original Kiss mania was happening, I was a kid growing up in the 1970s. I remember I would always draw pictures of the band members, their stage, their equipment and of course, the pyro. Even though no one would ever see Kiss without their makeup, I would dream about meeting them and getting to talk to them. Drawing and daydreaming about Kiss got me through many a boring math class and I’m sure there’s still at least one Kiss logo intricately carved into an old wooden desktop at good ol’ Ramsey High in NJ.
Anyway, by now you probably get the idea that Kiss was a very important part of my life while growing up. So naturally, after many years of hard work, practice and a little bit of luck, it was a dream come true to make it into the big leagues and receive the supreme reward of opening for Kiss! Which brings us to the story of how I met Paul Stanley for the first time.
Actually, shortly before I’d met Paul, I’d had a brief yet memorable encounter with Gene Simmons. Okay, so now you get two stories for the price of one!
In 1992, Danger Danger was very hot on the MTV video countdown, a fact that helped land us the opening slot on the UK leg of Kiss’ Revenge Tour. The very first night, we’d put on a kick-ass, over-the-top show, during which I’d even tossed 3 towels out into the crowd! Immediately after our performance, I ran offstage in my arena-playing, hyper-psyched state of mind, not quite looking where I was going. Let’s face it, it didn’t really matter because I had just opened for Kiss!
The next thing I knew, my head was bumping into something hard yet slightly fuzzy. I looked up to find Gene Simmons grinning back at me from above! As it turns out, I had just smashed face-first into his lower chest area, which tells you just how tall the guy is (or how short I am, if you prefer).
Upon looking down, Gene’s first words to me were, "That was a really great show. You owe me $18."
Gene is a nice guy but he can be very intimidating and he loves to scare people. I wasn’t quite sure what to say to him in response, so I said nothing at all. Gene must have noticed the puzzled look on my face because he repeated himself.
"You owe me $18."
He then continued, "You tossed out 3 towels. Those towels cost $6 each. Those were my towels and I want you to pay for them. Personally. Not your tour manager. You."
I was in shock.
I felt ashamed.
One of my gods was punishing me!
Gene waited in that very spot until I went into my wallet, pulled out my last $20 (my only $20) and paid him for the towels. While pocketing my per diem food money, he smiled at me and said, "Feel free to keep tossing out as many towels as you can afford to pay for yourself."
I immediately got the point: I was the new kid in town and I shouldn’t be trying to steal the show. A valuable lesson learned for the low cost of only $18.
Though I had already been nervous about meeting the members of Kiss before my encounter with Gene, by now I was absolutely terrified! I was so scared that not only couldn’t I bring myself to speak to them, I couldn’t even look them in the eyes when they came near me. Whenever someone from Kiss was around, I would simply put my head down and keep on walking.
One day after the Danger Danger set, I was heading back to my dressing room where the rest of the band was already waiting for me. Yet to my horror, there at the other end of that long, white cinderblock arena hallway was the one and only Paul Stanley! There he stood, my ultimate hero, the Starchild himself, wearing his black Paul Stanley cowboy hat and looking just as cool as ice. And he was walking in my direction.
I knew at this point that it was inevitable. This was it. Our paths were going to cross. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it would leap right out of my mouth. This was my big chance, the moment I’d waited for since I’d carved my first Kiss logo into that first math desk.
"In 10 seconds," I thought to myself. "In 10 seconds, I am going to speak to Paul Stanley."
"In 10 seconds."
And then, just as Paul walked past me… nothing.
My mind had gone blank. Not one word came out of my mouth. In the blink of an eye, I’d become Helen Fucking Keller! Instead of saying hello, I’d put my head down and kept right on walking. I had just blown my big moment to say something to Paul Stanley. I had shamed myself and my bandmates, none of whom had met Kiss yet (and all of whom had probably just seen the whole thing go down). Completely crushed and disappointed in myself, I continued to make my way toward the dressing room… when all of a sudden, the corridor became filled with The Voice.
It was loud.
It was unmistakable.
It was Paul Stanley.
My hero. My idol. My very reason for being in that hallway in the first place. And he was saying my name.
Actually, he was singing my name.
And he was singing it to the tune of "Unholy."
I’d heard it.
My band had heard it.
And yet for a moment, I still didn’t believe it. Not until Steve West said loudly, "Yeah, he knows you!" At which point everyone laughed, including Paul! I then turned around to see him smiling at me, his hand outstretched to shake mine. Paul Fucking Stanley. The coolest guy on the planet. And he knew I was too shy to say hello.
He had been watching the show, and I still don’t know how or why, but he knew my name.
And he sang it.
I’d finally gotten my chance to say hello to Paul, and now my life was complete.
So even though I never made millions of dollars in the music business (well, not that I got to keep for myself, anyway), I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything in the world. I suppose once all is said and done, the costs involved break down as follows:
Three Gene Simmons towels: $18.
Suing Sony several years later: a few million bucks.
Paul Stanley singing my name at the top of his lungs: PRICELESS.
Over the years, I’ve encountered Paul a few times at various Kiss concerts and even though he hasn’t sung my name since then, I still get a thrill every time he greets me with a warm, "Hi, Ted." So to make a short story just a little bit longer, the new parody of "Unholy" began when Paul Stanley sang my name in a backstage hallway, although it took my buddy C.C. Banana to write the lyrics and make it all happen.
I hope everyone enjoys the "fruits" of his labor.
C.C. Banana adds: "Immediately after I heard Ted’s story, I knew I had to write the song parody! Even though he is known for being a fairly levelheaded guy, I thought it would be funny to paint a picture of a Ted Poley whose rock star ego is completely out of control. A man whose sense of self-importance became overinflated at the peak of his fame and kept right on growing. In other words, what if Ted Poley were more like Gene Simmons, the man who sang "Unholy" in the first place? That, my friends, is the circle of life."
A video clip of C.C. Banana announcing his participation in "KISS MY ANKH" during an episode of "Talking Metal on Fuse" is available HERE:
C.C. Banana‘s parody of "Unholy" appears on the newly released tribute album "KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent." Despite its humorous overtones, the track is an appropriately heavy recreation of the Kiss original, featuring a guitar solo by Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), guitars and bass by Paul LaPlaca (Zandelle, Z02, Chris Caffery solo band), drums by Dennis Leeflang (Sun Caged, Epica, Bumblefoot solo band) and background vocals by Kelli McCloud (Queen of the Reich) and Vic Rivera (AdrianGale, Crunch, Poley/Rivera). A sample of the song is available at the official "KISS MY ANKH" MySpace page, along with samples of all other songs on the tribute.
Though Vinnie Vincent himself has not released any new material in over a decade, "KISS MY ANKH" pays tribute to the undeniable musical legacy of the former Kiss guitarist. Vinnie’s compositions are widely regarded as a highlight of the Kiss catalog and remain a staple of the live Kiss set list. All songs on the tribute were written or co-written by Vinnie Vincent and originally appeared on albums by Kiss and the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. The artist roster features a mixture of veteran and rising talent, including members of White Lion, Savatage, Alice Cooper, Trixter, Nitro and others. All in all, "KISS MY ANKH" boasts a powerful lineup of inspired musicians and unforgettable music, assembled in honor of Vinnie Vincent. Further details can be found at the SplitScreen Entertainment website.