Watch Gene Simmons and Johnny Depp Lead an All-Star Band Through Kiss Classics for Charity
As you can see in the above and below footage filmed by an audience member, Depp and Simmons led an all-star pickup band (other participants at the show included Gilby Clarke and the members of Extreme) at the Lucky Strike bowling alley in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, performing what Simmons deemed “loosey-goosey” renditions of the Kiss classics “Deuce” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
The event, as Simmons explained to Billboard, was designed to help raise money for Mending Kids, a charity whose mission statement includes helping provide “life-changing surgical care to children worldwide” to children who have “congenital heart defects, orthopedic abnormalities, severe scoliosis and significant cranial facial deformities.”
“Mending Kids does great work,” said Simmons. “All the funding comes in from contributions, and MendingKids.org sends doctors, on their dime, around the world to provide free operations to children with physical deformities, facial, spinal, anything, where otherwise they would have a life of pain and suffering and perhaps death. … Everybody’s gonna jump up and jam. Johnny will play a few songs, I’ll play a few songs, a few other knuckleheads will jump up, and all the proceeds go to MendingKids.org to provide children with operations that they would normally never have.”
Although Simmons and the other members of Kiss are probably better known for making money than donating it, Simmons has done a lot of work for Mending Kids in the past; as he went on to explain, children are his “soft spot,” partly because he still remembers his own poverty-stricken youth in Israel — and how much it meant when he received a charity care package.
“Six months after the country became independent, I was born. And so in the beginning, there was very little infrastructure,” he recalled. “And one day a care package showed up and there were cans of peaches and a Bugs Bunny book, not a comic book. I still remember it: Bugs Bunny is going over the hill and he’s being hunted by Elmer Fudd and all that. Of course, I couldn’t read English at the time and there was a torn sweater. And when that care package came in, all of a sudden I had the sense that somebody cared, and it started there.”