Holly Knight Reveals Gene Simmons’ Odd Offer About KISS
Anton Fig wasn’t credited in KISS’ ‘Unmasked,’ although he filled in for Peter Criss. As it appears, Holly Knight had the same fate as Anton. Speaking to Eddie Trunk in a recent episode of the Eddie Trunk Podcast, Holly revealed that she had played on a KISS album, but Gene Simmons didn’t want to credit her.
“You know, it’s funny,” said Holly Knight when she looked back on those days. “It was amazing. I was in the lounge at the record plant. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! We have the same manager; we’d already played on some demos that Gene had done, which he released on the Vault a few years ago. He just came up, and he knew I played the keyboard. We all kind of hung out together.”
She then began to tell the story, saying, “He said, ‘Do you want to come to play on a track?’ And at first, I was kind of stunned; I looked at him like, ‘Yeah, now?’ And he opened the door and said, ‘Yeah, now.’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ So we went in there, and he played me down the track. I sort of played along and thought, ‘Okay, I’m just going to learn the song.’ And then he stopped and said, ‘Give us a minute,’ and started talking to Paul and Vini Poncia, the producer.”
Holly continued, “I thought, ‘Okay, they’re shaking their heads, probably they didn’t like it, and it’s not going to work out.’ And then he called me in because I was recording in the studio, and they were in the control room. I go back in there, and he says, ‘What are you doing the rest of the day?’ And I said, ‘Hmm, not much, nothing I can’t change. Why?’ He says, ‘Well, we love what you just did, and we want you to play in the whole record. Can you stay?’ And then he said, ‘But you won’t get credit; you’ll get paid, but we can’t give you credit.’”
“I couldn’t wait to go back to the loft and tell them I just played on the KISS record,” Holly admitted. She also noted, “But here is the funny part, I knew because I wasn’t getting credit, like how I’m going to prove this if they denied it? Well, I saved the checks they gave me. Those checks for 40 goddamn years. Can you believe that? Never knowing that ‘Well, one day you’re going to write a book, and you’ll [put] these checks on there.’ So, it’s funny; it’s funny that I have this stuff. And a lot of these stories are just funny and unbelievable.”
She lastly added, “I know KISS so well now, and we still are friends. I mean, Gene wrote a blurb for the book, and I sent him a copy. I know what KISS fans are like, and I think some loved that direction. But I would say more of them hated it because they’re not known for that. I mean, for them to do sort of middle-of-the-road music is just kind of weird. So, I accepted that, and I didn’t care. Even though I didn’t get credit, everybody knew and found out who I was because they are the KISS army; they’re like die-hard fans. They know everything.”
So, it appears Holly Knight played the keyboard on KISS’ 1980 album ‘Unmasked,’ and she didn’t get any credit like Anton Fig, who played the drums on the album. ‘Unmasked’ had a contemporary pop sound, which was quite different than KISS’ previous albums. So, it wasn’t a surprise that the reception was below expectations. Holly agrees that KISS weren’t known for that sound, so the album’s failure didn’t surprise her as well.