Kiss’ Gene Simmons claims he gave Rush’s Geddy Lee a bass lesson

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During a recent interview with, Gene Simmons, the bassist and singer of Kiss, shared an interesting anecdote about his interaction with Geddy Lee, the renowned frontman of Rush.

Simmons revealed that Kiss had taken Rush on their first tour, and during their time together, he had the opportunity to jam with Geddy Lee.

Gene Simmons, known for his unique approach to teaching music, discussed his teaching methods in the interview.

He emphasized that he doesn’t focus on teaching string or note names right away. Instead, he starts by assigning numbers to the strings and giving combinations of numbers for his students to play.

By doing this, he aims to make music more accessible and less intimidating, allowing his students to start playing and creating music without getting caught up in the technicalities.

Simmons then transitioned to recounting his experience with Geddy Lee. He mentioned that one night while sitting with Lee, they decided to trade licks and chords.

Gene Simmons suggested playing a blues scale and asked Lee to start with it while he followed the chord pattern.

However, to his surprise, Lee expressed confusion and didn’t understand what Simmons meant by a blues scale or the concept of “1,4,5,” which represents a relationship between notes or chords in music theory.

Gene Simmons continued by explaining that he then simplified the instruction for Lee, telling him to play a G note, either in the high or low range.

However, Lee was unsure which note corresponded to G, showcasing that he primarily relied on his ear to play music. Simmons clarified that although Lee played purely by ear at that time, he eventually learned the notes and expanded his musical knowledge.

In addition to the Geddy Lee story, Simmons mentioned another famous guitarist, The Edge from U2.

He revealed that The Edge’s distinctive guitar sound, characterized by a “jingle jangle” style, emerged from his initial inability to play chords.

The Edge instead strummed various notes, creating a unique sound that became synonymous with U2’s music.

Simmons concluded the interview by expressing his belief that music is a fascinating field that shouldn’t be overly complicated.

He highlighted that one doesn’t need to be proficient in reading or writing music to create songs or play instruments.

He cited examples of legendary musicians like Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney, who achieved great success in popular music despite not having formal training in reading or writing music.

In summary, the interview with Gene Simmons provided insights into his teaching approach and shared an anecdote about his experience with Geddy Lee of Rush.

It showcased the importance of ear training and the ability to play by ear, emphasizing that music can be learned and enjoyed without getting bogged down by complex technicalities.

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