As is so often the case, the great Bob Egan of PopSpots (whose Facebook page you really need to follow, and who just posted a truly exhaustive expose on the cover of Sandinista by the Clash) put the pieces together on this quiz with the stealth of a goddamn professional.
I’d originally postulated that the Dynasty-era Demon was photographed on possibly Duane or Reade Streets down in TriBeCa. Turns out I wasn’t too far off.
While, yes, this exchange between Simmons, a young fan and — presumably — that young fan’s mother (one wonders what they were discussing, moreover if Gene managed to get the fan’s mother’s number, as was his M.O.) did indeed transpire in the Triangle Below Canal, but I was off by four or five blocks. It turns out that Dr. Love -- the Almost Human God of Thunder with X-Ray Eyes whose Love is Larger than Life, etc. -- exchanged words with these mere mortals in front of the entrance of 76 Franklin Street. Here's Bob Egan's typically scrupulous detective work below....
I actually have a personal history with 76 Franklin myself. Y’see, the apartment my family and I have been living in since the ass-end of 2002 came equipped with a seemingly then-state-of-the-art thermostatic shower valve. What that basically means is that the temperature of said shower is controlled with a mechanism comparable to a volume knob. As it happens, however, these devices go out of calibration if you blink at them the wrong away, and — in my particular case — can only be kept in check with special Perrin & Rowe ROHL thermostatic shower cartridges. Suffice to say, these items don’t grow on goddamn trees. As such, I would (and, conceivably, still will) need to periodically replace the cartridge, and — wouldn't you know it — there are a precious, fleeting few outlets around this great city of ours wherein to procure just such an item. For me, the go-to place to prize this maddeningly rarified artifact of bathing technology was George Taylor Specialities, located at — WAIT FOR IT — 76 Franklin Street. I bitched about it most recently here, all the way back in 2010, which invariably means I'm shortly due for a new one.
This all said, George Taylor Specialties closed up shop on Franklin Street earlier this year. So, next time my shower goes out of whack and it’s left with nothing but either skin-immolating heat or sub-arctic cold, I may be shit out of luck.
But maybe that’s the answer!
Maybe Gene was popping out in between deflowering nubile groupies, recording high volume odes to his own sexual prowess and meeting with his financial advisers in order to mend a fixture in the doubtlessly well-appointed Simmons master-bathroom (possibly the fearsome chamber wherein he allegedly invented the disquieting practice of “the blumpie”). We shall probably never know … and probably don’t want to.
In any case, 37 years later, George Taylor Specialities is gone. To the east, further up Franklin Street can be found the entrance to Corlandt Alley, the narrow canyon which once led to the Mudd Club at 77 White Street (a venue KISS assuredly never played which, at the time of this photo, was still in its heyday). To the west, just a block towards West Broadway, is where Zbigniew Rybczynski shot the bizarrely entertaining video for 1986's “Original Wrapper” by Lou Reed (who unfathomably collaborated with KISS on their arguably abortive concept album from 1981, Music from the Elder). The less said about the latter, the better.
Back to the original photo above, the little chid has presumably grown up, and probably regales people today at cocktail parties with his anecdote about the time he and his mother chatted with Gene Simmons in full, made-up regalia on a TriBeCa side-street. Meanwhile, here's me standing in that very spot last night ... looking somewhat like a corpulent milkman.
Lastly, Gene Simmons — somewhat lamentably — is still at it.