Hear ‘Hand of Fate’ From the ‘Gene Simmons Vault Experience’ Box Set
Early next year, Gene Simmons of Kiss will start traveling the globe to deliver his massive box set Gene Simmons Vault Experience directly to fans, city by city. We are pleased to premiere the first track from this career-spanning collection, "Hand of Fate," as well as to share the previously unreleased track list for set's first two discs.
Standing three feet tall, weighing 38 pounds and containing 150 previously unreleased songs from between 1966 and 2016 on 10 CDs, the Vault Experience is a labor of love Simmons has been working on for nearly a decade. He's determined not to let it get lost in what he describes as a "broken" music industry, so the only way to buy it will be directly from his new website.
"Fewer and fewer people are going to stores, record companies are broken, people are downloading and file-sharing, and I didn’t want my songs to go out that way," he explains. "That’s like smoke and mirrors ... popcorn farts. You can’t feel it, you can’t touch it, the art of it isn’t there. So I decided to put out a physical box set -- probably the most expensive one ever, and the largest. And the only way people can get it -- there are only going to be a few thousand made -- is through GeneSimmonsVault.com. This has never been done before. Because I’m blessed and I can afford it, I’m physically going to be going around the world and hand-delivering the vault into the fans' sweaty palms."
The box set features numerous contributions from Simmons' Kiss bandmates, as well as Bob Dylan ("the songwriting session is part of the box -- Bob and I trading licks and talking and just going over concepts and stuff like that"), Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Alex and Eddie Van Halen.
Explaining the origins of "Hand of Fate," Simmons says the song "was done as a trio. [Current Kiss guitarist and drummer] Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer and myself. I had a track in mind, and we recorded it live, just the riff, and you’ll hear me talking over it. Then I took it, and in my home studio, stuck on all the harmony parts, arranged it and put additional stuff on it. When other musicians aren’t around, I wind up doing everything, whether it’s keyboards or drums, if I can."
The song blends a devilishly heavy riff with angelic stacked harmonies. "That’s all me in a home studio. I mean, if you know how those harmonies are stacked, then you can get that kind of blend. And that’s not a high fidelity quality recording, but you get the sense that if it was on a 72 track Neve board it would sound like Queen."
So what keeps a song like this off a Kiss album? "We were going to put it on [2009's] Sonic Boom, but Paul [Stanley] came in with his own track called ‘Modern Day Delilah,' and it wasn’t too far off stylistically from it," Simmons explains. "We just decided to do that one instead. But 'Hand of Fate' is a legitimately solid song, and I didn’t want it to just sit on a shelf.”
The exclusion of "Hand of Fate" from Sonic Boom illustrates the process by which Kiss assemble their albums, and explains why Simmons has accumulated so many candidates for Vault Experience over the years. "The way it works is, even when we decide to do a record, I don’t write for a record," he says. "I suppose I don’t have it in me. Whatever grabs me, grabs me and I just go down that path. So it’s like, if you’re in a car, and there’s a new road opening up, you just get in and say ‘Let’s see where this takes me.' And then there are other drivers -- like Paul [Stanley], my partner for over 44 years, who is very directional. He’ll say, 'Okay, this record needs an uptempo rocker' or that kind of thing. He knows where he wants to go, and then he gets there. And I, on the other hand, have to meander, which means I end up writing four times as many songs as we need. So when a new record comes in, I’ll write 24 to 25 songs, and he’ll walk in with six or seven, and out of that somehow we figure it out.”
Vault Experience also offers further insight into Simmons' creative process -- specifically, the manner in which certain song ideas evolved over his career. "I forgot all about 'Drive Me Wild,' which became 'Rock and Roll All Nite' --'You drive me wild, I’ll drive you crazy ... ' -- and I used the same chordal pattern on the track to write another song that’s on the box set called 'I Know Who You Are.' And that morphed into a song called 'Living in Sin,' which appeared eventually on my solo record from 1978. But there’s a connection between the songs, and I often found myself writing or rewriting stuff."
Simmons hasn't revealed the full track list for the Vault Experience's 10 CDs yet, insisting, "Where’s the thrill if you find out in July what you’re getting for Christmas? Knowing too much spoils the whole thing." But after our interview, Simmons offered to spill the beans on the first two CDs of the collection. You can find that information below, and also watch an unboxing video highlighting the exclusive cloth-bound book, figurine and other goodies that come with the set.
The Gene Simmons Vault Experience is available for sale now at GeneSimmonsVault.com. Simmons will begin delivering the sets to fans in cities across the world early in January 2018.
Gene Simmons Vault Experience, Discs One and Two (of 10) Track Listing
1. “Are You Ready”
2. “I Turn To Stone”
4. “Hey You”
5. “I Confess”
6. “Legends Never Die”
7. “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
8. “Hand Of Fate”
10. “In My Head”
11. “Carnival Of Souls #1”
12. “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl”
13. “Say You Don’t Want It”
14. “Mongoloid Man” (with Joe Perry)
15: “I Wait”
2. “Weapons (Power To Raise The Dead)”
4. “Carnival Of Souls #2”
5. “Master Of Flash”
6. “Heavy Rain”
8. “In Your Face”
9. “In Your Face with Ace”
10. “Rain #2”
11. “Carnival Intro”
12. “I Wanna Live”
13. “If It’s Too Hot, You’re Too Cold”
14. “Rain Keeps Fallin’”
15. “Bells Of Freedom”