The Time Gene Simmons Issued a Bomb Threat
Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer recalled the time when hotel staff called a SWAT team to deal with Gene Simmons after he threatened to blow up the building.
The incident took place in Buffalo when the band was on its original farewell tour in June 2000. At that time, Thayer was their tour manager rather than an onstage member – which meant responsibility fell to him when Simmons’ antics became a problem.
“We were back at the hotel after the show, and people were going back to their rooms, ordering room service and that sort of thing,” he told BackstageAxxess in a recent interview. “Gene Simmons is a real stickler – if he’s in a hotel and he calls down to the front desk or room service or whatever, if it takes more than two or three rings for them to pick up, he really goes ballistic.”
Thayer recalled he was "sitting in [his] room… and the front desk [receptionist] calls and she says, ‘We got a real problem. We just called the SWAT team, the police, to come in, because one of your group has just threatened to blow the hotel up. I was thinking, ‘I think I know who that might be, actually.’ He says that jokingly – ‘You gotta pick up the phone, or I’ll blow this place up’ – that’s a Gene Simmons kind of thing.
“But it kind of got us into trouble, because the police showed up and they thought it was a real bomb threat. I had to assure everybody that it was okay, that this guy … just wanted his cookies and milk after the show.”
You can watch the interview below.
Simmons and Kiss previously learned what happens when a bomb threat is made: In 1986, their concert at Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Ashwaubenon, Wis., was evacuated after police received a call from a 16-18-year-old man. The caller reportedly said he was “depressed about rock ’n’ roll” and that he wanted to “put a stop to it,” adding that a device was set to go off at 7:40PM.
Local cops cleared the arena around 7:20, sending 6,000 fans into a snowstorm. But after the deadline came and went, the crowd was readmitted around 40 minutes later. The Green Bay Press-Gazette later reviewed the show, noting that "if a bomb had gone off at last night’s Kiss concert, would anyone have noticed? Hard to say. These are some pretty wild boys.”