Biker Extra for Gene Simmons Family Jewels
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Me and about 50 other bikers showed up at Cook's Corner for what we believed to be a chance to meet Gene Simmons and an opportunity to be an extra on his TV show.
Got this message in my inbox last Wednesday: Motorcycle Extras Needed for Episode of A&E TV’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels
I happened to be in Southern California conducting a bike test so the words Gene Simmons caught my attention. Like many of you out there, I grew up a KISS fan. Fire-blowing, blood-spitting, the lizard-tongued ‘Demon’ was larger-than-life growing up. So I’ve got this picture in my head of Gene riding in on a bike with some hangin’ apes, full KISS makeup and dragon boots, revving some burly straight pipes on a groovy ‘70s chopper. What I got was Gene’s squeeze Shannon Tweed and her bimbo blonde girlfriend doing a Thelma and Louise
spoof. But let’s back up a minute.
The email was circulated to Big Dog Motorcycle
owners in Southern California. The A&E Channel reportedly was filming a clip for its Gene Simmons Family Jewels
program at Cook’s Corner, the popular biker joint on Santiago Canyon Road in Silverado, CA. Cook’s Corner is a stone’s throw from Motorcycle USA’s Irvine office and it sounded like a good story – Gene Simmons, bikers, TV cameras and the Cook’s Corner crowd, so I grabbed the camera and headed out Trabuco Canyon.
Along with the Big Dog Motorcycle owners that showed up, Boss Hoss must have circulated the same email because quite a few of the monster V-8 powered motorcycles were on hand. Then there were a variety of Harley-Davidsons
, a handful of assorted cruisers, and even a vintage Ducati
851 Superbike. Seems like Gene has a lot of fans. I’ve got 40 minutes to spare before they’re supposed to arrive, so grab me a greasy burger hot off the Cook’s Corner grill.
We were expecting Gene but got Shannon Tweed, a former Playboy Playmate, instead. She's been hanging out with the KISS bassist for a long time.
It’s a half-hour past the time Gene and his crew was supposed to be filming and there’s no sign of them. Someone mumbles something about car troubles. The biker’s are a getting a little restless.
The Gene Simmons Family Jewels
crew finally shows up almost an hour late. An old white convertible muscle car with two giddy blondes pulls up with a hodgepodge of show producers, film and sound crew, but no Gene. I smell a ruse.
Immediately the film crew pans out and starts planning shot angles and camera placements while the “stars” grabbed a table away from the crowd and talked shop with the producers. Little acknowledgement of the crowd assembled on their behalf is made. Everyone’s wondering where Gene is.
It turns out they’re filming a take on Thelma and Louise
using Gene’s girlfriend Shannon and her best friend. The girls are self-absorbed and stand-offish. For a show that’s supposedly Reality TV, there was little reality to it. They had a bit actor put on a black rally t-shirt with the words, “If you can read this, the bitch fell off” printed on the back. A collective groan went through the crowd. Just what we need, more narrow-minded typecasting and stereotyping. The novelty of being a biker extra for a TV show was quickly wearing off. In the first scene they were shooting, Shannon and her friend pull up to Cook’s in between the rows of bikes, get out, and go inside the bar. As they pull up, I click off a few pics, trying to salvage a story, and plenty of the other people are clicking off photos as well.
“No more taking pictures when we’re shooting. We want everyone to look natural.”
Now the TV crew is telling a bunch of bikers who have thus far been treated rudely what not to do. Their welcome at Cook’s Corner is wearing thin. The white convertible has most of us blocked in, so we wait for them to finish shooting the scene. The acting got worse. They continued with a scene of a broken down car, two biker boys coming to the rescue and the girls riding off on the back of two bikes. The cheese was getting thick.
As soon as that car got moved, a large group of us immediately fired up our bikes. I had already been there an hour more than I wanted, Gene Simmons never showed up, the TV crew was rude and the girls were haughty. As I revved the Victory Cross Country’s
engine to ride away, one of the young girls of the production crew comes over and says “Can you stay just five more minutes; we’re not done shooting yet?”
I let the rumble of the pipes as I pull out voice my opinion.
The coolest part of the whole day was checking out the variety of bikes that had shown up at Cook's Corner like this Ducati 851
Superbike and talking to the collection of motorcyclists that were on hand. Cook's Corner is popular biker hangout in SoCal. The Gene
Simmon's Family Jewels
crew was on hand filming a Thelma and Louise
spoof for an upcoming episode.
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