Marco Hartmann is a big KISS fan from Holland who has collaborated with the band and Gene on several proyects, among them designing some artworks for the European Gene Simmons Band. It’s only two months until The Demon rocks Madrid next August 14th at La Riviera, and we asked him what we can expect from Gene going solo and without make-up.

Poster design by Marco.

Hi Marco!! First of all, please tell us about yourself a bit. We know that you are from The Netherlands, correct? When and how did you discover KISS?

First of all , Thanks for asking me. Indeed I’m from Holland, Den Haag . ( The Hague Rock City 😀). My KISS journey must have started early 1979, my friend Raymond Renirie (who lived two blocks away from me) showed me the inner gatefold from Alive II and I was in awe and it made a big impression. On the background my friend played the intro of ‘God Of Thunder’ and I was like WOW! Still can remember it as it was yesterday! Thanks Raymond!

When was your first KISS concert? How many have you attended in total in your life?

My First KISS show was Zwolle , Holland ( November 4th, 1984) during the Animalize Europe Tour with the mighty Bon Jovi as support. Two weeks prior I attended the Scheveningen Beach Race ( where the band did 3 songs for TV on the beach ) that was an unreal experience. When the band walked by the fences that were setup, I managed to get a signature from Gene on a piece of paper. Priceless! Of course still have it until’ this day.

With regards to the total amount of shows I saw over the years,, maybe strange to say but didnt count it. But I think its towards a 100 shows.

We knew that Gene would not put his pijamas on and get his retirement at home once KISS finished their END OF THE ROAD tour but we were a bit surprised when he announced his European solo tour so soon. Did you expect that or it was a surprise for you too?

To be honest, one of the first things that went thru’ my mind was: Gene will probably continue with his Gene Simmons Band & luckily he did. When the first dates were announced ofcourse was happy to see Mr. Simmons was returning with his project.

You worked for Gene Simmons a few years ago when he was promoting and selling his famous THE GENE SIMMONS VAULT in Europe. Please tell us what that experience was like. What is it like working with him?

The Vault project I did with Mark Laurenz as a team . Mark and I organized the Amsterdam Vault Experience in 2018. This turned out to be a huge succes , from there things evolved into talks and ideas to offer the Vault Experience on the KISS EOTR Europe tour 2019. All of this became reality and me and Mark were driving all around Europe delivering the actual Vaults to Gene his clients and after the KISS show ended Gene and us would do the Meet & Greet Experience. What was it like ? … It was amazing and intense! Gene always made sure we were Ok, and took really good care of us ( together with the KISS production team) It was amazing to see so many happy faces from people all around Europe. You have to imagine that some people were waiting for years to meet their Hero and now they had the opportunity to spent time with him. As Gentleman Gene is, he spended time with each and everyone of them and made sure everyone had the time of their lives. A class act 110%. Intense … Remember driving from Den Haag in the early hours to Munich ,Germany, arriving and see the KISS show , doing the Vault Experience , get a cup of coffee ( or 5 lol) , get into the car and drive back to Den Haag , Holland. That was crazy! Then came the Iffezheim , Germany show . There were a LOT of Vault customers … however due to critical weather conditions KISS had to stop the show after a few songs. People had to leave the outdoor venue as fast as possible. At that point it was clear all was cancelled including the Vault aftershow Meet & Greet. When KISS returned to Europe in 2022, Gene and us took care of these people of course! So basically we did it again on that tour run. Amazing! Anyway where Bryan Adams sings about ‘The Summer of ’69’… for me the Summer Of 2019 was magical😊

Mark Laurenz & Marco Hartmann with Gene.

Now we know you also did graphical work for Gene and KISS?

That is correct ! I did a lot of very cool projects as a Freelance Grapical Designer. While I can’t mention ALL , but for example did a lot of bass designs as part of the GS Deluxe Series, the GSB logo and so much more:-) I also did the Vampire Bass (this was a tribute to his white 1988 Pedulla bass that had the cool demon face graphic). In latest events: I did the 2024 main tour graphic & also a few unique cool art visuals for some shows such as Madrid, Utrecht , Sweden & A general tour dates version. For these I wanted to create a kinda «Horror» Vintage Pulp styled feel where certain character styled ladies would be the general focus for these. I call them «The Christines» 😊. KISS wise I did a bunch of things too. For people who are interested , you can check my Facebookpage Marco Hartmann ( www.facebook.com/marco.rocker.98 ) or visit my shop Planet Retro Apparel (www.planet-retro.com) where I have over 220 Unique designs on apparel and art . All inspired by music, movies , arts, rock & other cool things.

Artwork created By Marco for the 2024 European Gene Simmons Band tour.
Bass design by Marco.

Gene’s birthday is just a few days after he finishes his European tour, he will turn 75 but he is still a real fierce Monster onstage and his voice seems to keep on improving. What can all the fans expect from Gene on this upcoming tour?

I think Gene will give us lots a fun and good shows with a cool setlist! Just like the 2018 shows , a more intimate feel for his fans , and we all will leave with a smile on our face.

Many European fans never saw KISS without make-up since their last tour over Europe with no make-up was in 1992 (UK Revenge tour). Seeing Gene going solo and at smaller venues it’s something very attractive and interesting. What do you think about it? Do you like this type of show?

Oh definitely! The smaller venue shows always bring a more intense atmosphere which I really love and prefer.

We do know that Gene enjoys being surrounded by fans and feeling loved by them. Can we expect any kind of a special VIP ticket for this upcoming tour? Maybe Meet & Greet?

To be honest haven’t heard anything about this. Ofourse we hope it will be offered!

Tongues out!

We all know The Demon, the onstage persona in full make-up and costume but, what is Gene like as a human being. Not the rock star, but Gene Simmons the normal day-to-day person.

I think Gene is a very warm and friendly person. He is very funny too. Most Important thing he really treats everyone with so much respect and is really interested in people! and that is a fact. There should be more «Demons» like him in this crazy world.

Thank you very much for your support, collaboration and time!!! See you very soon!!!

Interview: Kiss Army Spain.




Kiss Army Spain os da la bienvenida, única web y Fan Club español autorizado por Kiss. Creado por Javier Rueda. Programación BiroStudio.


Javier Rueda (Webmaster)

Mauricio Vázquez (Colaborador / Traducciones)

Alex Barreiro (Colaborador / Eventos)