A&E » Arts

Gene Simmons, Matthew Good offer lessons in rock ’n’ roll



One had the intellect, one had the cheese.

But both Matthew Good of the Matthew Good Band and Gene Simmons of KISS had pointers about music, writing, and the biz for an audience of hopefuls at the May 10 New Music West music industry conference at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom.

Good emphasized "…the good thing about being an artist is that you can create something out of nothing," and pulled through as per usual with more brain vigour and a cynicism audiences have come to know and respect.

Meanwhile Simmons claimed to "tell it like it is" in the world of music business.

He said he went into music to get the cash and the adoration of women, but admitted he could not read or write music and claimed most rock stars didn’t either.

"Go through it with your eyes open," Simmons said, adding pragmatism was key.

And while audiences got quieter when they weren’t sure whether to laugh or not at his old-style remarks – advising men not to marry and women to marry to get rich – they listened closely when he stated simple tips like be on time, wear the right costume, and treat music like a business.

"Be honest about what it is you do," he added.

Simmons offered tips for band names and marketing during a Q and A session, and received healthy applause.

His best advice was to keep your eyes open along the trail to success, rid your band of any hard drug abusers, and always be honest about the price you want.

Good said that while knowing what you want is a good thing, keeping true to your artistic vision will probably be more fulfilling in the long run than a house in Tuscany.

Perhaps the most positive aspect to the keynote addresses was that they both said "you, the artist, gets to choose."

The address was part of the annual five-day festival in venues around Vancouver. Among the other "name" participants were Midnight Oil and Marcy Playground.