Five decades ago, Gene Simmons helped to form Kiss in New York City, alongside Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. The band quickly became one of the most influential and successful bands from the 70s and really entered the history of music, even being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
Like many fellow musicians, Gene Simmons can also play other instruments besides the bass guitar, so it’s really common that artists use other instruments in their songwriting process. However, there were also some Rock stars who were part of famous groups, playing different instruments in each one of them, for example.
Talking about that, Gene Simmons once mentioned a musician that in his opinion is much better at playing bass than being a guitarist.
The guitarist that Gene Simmons said is better at playing bass
Since he was young, Gene Simmons had a broad musical taste but his focus changed after he first saw The Beatles playing in the Ed Sullivan Show in the 60s. Simmons’ real name is Chaim Witz and he was born in Israel, moving to the United States when he was young. It was difficult to feel like he belonged there since for example, he had a different accent. By seeing The Beatles on TV he felt like he could also be popular in America having a different accent. And of course, that was a huge inspiration for him to write his own songs and become a musician.
So during the 60s he discovered the discography of all the Rock bands and artists he could. Ultimately becoming a huge fan of the legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck. The guitar player first achieved fame as a member of The Yardbirds but in the late 60s he released his solo debut “Truth” (1969), which would later be known as a kind of a supergroup record. The reason was that the record also had Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass and Micky Waller on drums.
Simmons is a huge fan of that album and in an interview with Music Radar in 2017, when he listed the record as one that blew his mind, he said that Ronnie Wood is a better bassist than a guitarist.
“What a line-up! Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass. Ronnie’s a much better bass player than he is a guitarist. There’s a rumor that Jimmy Page played on some of this, too.”
“Even before Led Zeppelin and Cream, Beck took the blues and turned up the volume. But it wasn’t just decibels. Beck was pushing the envelope in all sorts of directions. Nuanced little jazz licks that caught you off guard… sophisticated, delicate melodies.”
“When we are out on tour, this is the album I play right before I’m due to go on stage. Even if it came out today, it would grab your attention. What do you Brits say? Best thing since sliced bread!” Gene Simmons said.
He loves Ronnie Wood’s bass lines in the track “Rock My Plimsoul”
In an interview with The Quietus in 2015, Gene Simmons once again listed “Truth” as one of his favorite albums and praised Ronnie Wood. He gave the track “Rock My Plimsoul” as an example of his talent playing the bass guitar.
“I think Ronnie Wood is actually a better bass player than he is a guitar player. The bass playing on that record is just great! You can hear mistakes. But listen to what the bass does in ‘Rock My Plimsoul’. It goes completely against the drums, but it gives it like a slinky snake-like feel.”
“From beginning to end you have this kind of jamming, drunken-keyboard-player-in-a-New-Orleans-whorehouse-upright-piano feel,” Gene Simmons said.
Ronnie Wood also played the bass on Beck’s second solo album “Beck-Ola” released in 1969. Simmons also praised that album when he paid tribute to Jeff Beck after his death at the age of 78 in 2023.
“Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Beck has sadly passed. No one played guitar like Jeff. Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP,” Gene Simmons said.
Although Ronnie Wood now is mainly known as The Rolling Stones guitarist, he played the bass on that record. In that same year joined The Faces as a guitarist, which was the Small Faces spin-off band, alongside Rod Stewart. He became a member of the Stones in 1975 and since then has been an important part of the band.