John 5 On How He Obtained Gene Simmons’ First ‘The Demon’ Costume Ever
Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 recently spoke to Ultimate Guitar and revealed how he got a hold of Gene Simmons‘ first stage costume of his persona ‘The Demon.’
Almost all of his fans know that John 5 is a die-hard KISS fan. KISS is among the guitarist’s early music influences, and he opened for the band while playing with Lita Ford. This show allowed him to form a close friendship with the band’s members, especially with Paul Stanley, which made him a guest on Stanley’s ‘Live To Win’ album.
On the other hand, John 5 is a relentless KISS collector. His collection focuses on clothing, promotional items, and merchandise between 1973 and 1983. The guitarist showcases this massive collection in an Instagram account dedicated solely to it, named ‘Knights In Satan’s Service.’
Speaking to Ultimate Guitar’s Justin Beckner for a recent interview, John 5 revealed the most valuable item in his KISS collection. He first gave the details of his Instagram account, saying he uploaded a new post to it every day for five years. Following that, John 5 revealed that the ‘crown jewel’ of the collection is Gene Simmons’ costume from 1974.
According to the guitarist, this costume was Simmons’ first costume which appears on the cover of ‘Hotter Than Hell.’ He said the outfit has a skull, crossbones on its back, and bat wings, claiming Simmons would carry it on the subway with him. Moreover, John 5 revealed he got the piece during a big auction that KISS held.
Asked if he has some favorite pieces in his KISS collection, John 5 told Ultimate Guitar:
“Sure. I mean, first of all, I have an Instagram page called Knights In Satan’s Service, and it is an Instagram where I post something new every day. On January 1st, it will be five years now. Just consider that. Every day for five years, it’s only stuff from ’73 to ’83. So, it’s worth checking out. It’s called Knights In Satan’s Service on Instagram. You can’t miss it. I haven’t missed a day yet.
But to answer your question, I guess if I had to pick the collection’s crown jewel, I have Gene’s costume from 1974. That was like his first costume, and you would know it well if you saw it, you would know it right away. It’s on the cover of ‘Hotter Than Hell.’ I mean, it’s been a zillion pictures.
It’s the one with the skull and crossbones on his back, and he’s got the bat wings, and he only had one. Now they have multiple costumes, you know, just in case something happens, but they were very poor back then, and he would carry this costume on the subway with him. I guess that would be my favorite piece.”
Beckner then said:
“I assume you’d have to get that right from Gene.”
John 5 responded:
“Actually, yes, they had a big auction back in the day. So there’s quite a collection, and it is a part of history. I mean, KISS is almost like this… the makeup and the logos are almost as recognizable as McDonald’s.”
So, it seems John 5 is not only a valuable member of the KISS Army but also an avid KISS fan who owns a vast collection of their memorabilia. Moreover, it’s not a surprise that his favorite piece is Gene Simmons’ first costume since it would possibly be an honor for John 5 to obtain such a rare item right from Simmons.