Diners were surprised to see Gene Simmons walk into Moxie's Classic Grill at 180 West Georgia with local band Hey Ocean! last Sunday (July 5). The relentlessly busy reality-TV star and occasional bass player for Kiss flew to Vancouver, camera crew in tow, just to check out a hastily organized Media Club performance by the pop-funk group.
Simmons initially left a message for vocalist Ashleigh Ball while she was on holiday in Australia, saying, “I wanna talk to you about Hey Ocean! Weird name, but I think what you guys are doing is spot on.” Ball thought it was a prank until the band's management confirmed that Simmons was indeed scouting talent for his new label, Simmons Records.
There's no deal yet, but “We talked for almost four hours,” Ball told the Straight. “About how he thinks Canada is the next U.K. He's really nice. And he's very intense—in the first five minutes of the meeting, he pulled out a credit card that had Kiss imprinted on it. He said, ”˜This is what we're talking about. It's not just music, it's music business.' ” Ball described the prehensile-tongued legend as “a music almanac” and said that he “knows how to deal with fans”, some of whom leapt from their vehicles when they saw Simmons marching along West Georgia Street with the band. Sadly, he wasn't in makeup. “I was a little disappointed,” Ball said.