KISS Songwriter Recalls Gene Simmons’ Observation On Van Halen’s Success
Scott Van Zen, who co-wrote some hit songs for KISS, reflected on working with Gene Simmons during a recent interview with Michael Brandvold. Van Zen also shared what Simmons told him about Van Halen’s record sales.
Besides being a successful songwriter, Scott Van Zen is also a talented musician who collaborated with many notable artists. He has written and produced music also for hit movies, television shows, and commercials. He is best known for his splendid guitar playing skills and his style reflects his individual sound surrounded by the influences of rock, blues, and jazz. The guitarist released an instrumental album, named ‘No Words,’ back in 2019. Later on, recently in 2021, Van Zen’s debut EP entitled ‘Trouble’ arrived. It features six songs in total and was written and recorded by Van Zen.
In addition to his own solo career, Van Zen co-wrote a number of songs for KISS’ music catalog in the past as well. These tracks include ‘Hate,’ ‘In My Head,’ and ‘Seduction of the Innocent.’ As a result of these records, his musical partnership with Gene Simmons also developed a friendship between the two. Spending a lot of time with him, Scott Van Zen revealed one of their conversation about Van Halen.
As Van Zen conveyed, Gene Simmons once told him that Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar era attracted the girls listening to the band more as his songwriting style was a little serious. Simmons thinks girls love David Lee Roth but they literally listened to Hagar. KISS icon was surprised that the girls started to buy records. Apparently, both of them thought that especially Van Halen’s ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ was an amazing song, and it also proved Eddie Van Halen’s production skills.
Here is how Scott Van Zen recalled what Gene Simmons told him about Van Halen records:
“The message in his lyric writing, he had a little bit more of a seriousness that I think got girls listening to Van Halen. I think girls love David Lee Roth. But I think they really listened to Sammy because that’s when the record started. Girls buy records, Gene told me that. That’s what buys records, girls. You know, mostly. And they bought those records, man. And ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ is more of a magnet, they dug it. I thought it was really good. The beginning of it was great. Eddie was really just an exceptional producer.“
You can watch the entire conversation below.