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Fans on first Kiss Kruise rock all night to songs from band

Passengers Kiss Kruise cheer as bplays an acoustic set. | DAVE HOEKSTRA~SUN-TIMES

Passengers on the Kiss Kruise cheer as the band plays an acoustic set. | DAVE HOEKSTRA~SUN-TIMES

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Updated: November 18, 2011 8:49AM

NASSAU, Bahamas — At first glance, the thought of Kiss on a cruise ship seems tongue-in-cheek.

But when the first Kiss Kruise launched Friday from Miami, it was all business: rocking ’n’ rolling all night, wearing black and white face paint, and of course sticking your tongue out just like the wet carpet of Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

It’s like being surrounded by 2,000 Venus flytraps.

In full makeup, Kiss performed ’70s rarities Friday and Saturday in the ship’s Palladium theater. The band also played an engaging 90-minute outdoor greatest-hits unplugged set without makeup Friday as the ship left Miami.

They are something to see in the Caribbean sun.

Simmons had his new bride Shannon Tweed on board, and she watched the unplugged concert with fans before moving to a side soundboard at the end of the set, where Kiss wound down with its anthem “Rock ’n’ Roll All Nite.”

During a post-concert Q&A session with the Kiss Army (and now Navy), the star of A&E’s “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” said, “With all honesty, any girl who would wait for an ass---- like me for 28 years [the time they dated] and give me two beautiful children is special. In all seriousness, I love Shannon.”

Simmons said a Kiss cartoon (or Kartoon?) series is in the works and should surface in the next six months on Hasbro’s Hub channel. Guitarist Tommy “the Spaceman” Thayer is working on a four-CD Kiss box set retrospective. People are still dying for those custom-made Kiss coffins, which Simmons and Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley plugged.

“Everybody on this stage has talent in the family,” Simmons said. “In fact, at our wedding, [22-year-old son] Nick sang [the Doors’] ‘Roadhouse Blues’ and tore the house down with his solo. And you’ll see it Oct. 18 on A&E.”

One thoughtful fan request was for the band to come up with a wish list of countries they have yet to visit. Stanley answered, “Definitely China. We would play Israel but Gene would get drafted.” The audience laughed.

Simmons was born as Chaim Weitz in Haifa, Israel.

Once known as “the Demon,” Simmons was as mellow as a Bahama breeze. He admitted that of all four Kiss members, it takes him the longest time to apply his makeup: two hours.

Another fan asked Kiss to pick a band they would have cruised with back in the day. Drummer Erik Singer chose Led Zeppelin.

Simmons picked the Electric Prunes.

There were no questions about Michael Jackson. Kiss was axed from the recent Jackson tribute concert because of Simmons’ comments on Jackson’s past legal problems.

But the rocker did work in a wacky joke.

“God is sitting on his throne,” Simmons said. “There’s a knock on the door and it magically opens. There’s Gandhi. God says. ‘Who are you and what do you believe in?’ Gandhi says, ‘I believe in helping the poor.’ There’s another knock on the door and it magically opens. There’s Mother Teresa. God says, ‘Who are you and what do you believe in?’ Mother Teresa says, ‘I believe in compassion,’ God says, come on over here to my right. Another knock on the door and it magically opens. It’s Gene Simmons.”

God says, “Who are you and what do you believe in?’

Simmons dropped his voice and said, “I believe you’re sitting in my seat.’ ”

For more from the cruise, see Dave Hoekstra’s blog at

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