Upon hearing the name Gene Simmons, one automatically thinks about the famous rock band KISS and an overly large tongue obscenely forcing itself into the public eye, but there is much more to this man than Just playing bass in what is known as one of the most famous rock bands of all time. For the most part, no one ever knows the name of a bass player, because they are mostly behind the rhythm and lead guitarists. The guitarist and the singers in most bands are the ones that stand out with the most recognizable sounds.
But when KISS is the topic, Gene Simmons is the one most people remember and talk about first. This is not an accident. Gene Simmons was born Chain Witt in Haifa, Israel in 1949 to his mother Flora Klein, and father, Heckle Witt who had met after the liberation of the concentration camps. Both of his parent’s have a number tattooed on their arms that bore testament to what they had both survived. They were married in 1947. Heckle Witt was a talented carpenter but was apparently more industrious with the ladies than with finding and keeping employment.
After being discovered kissing another Oman by his wife and child, they were divorced by 1955. Simmons quotes to Ross Berg in A Rock ‘N’ Roll Journey, father did not leave us. My father abandoned us. He failed as a person by abandoning his child. By abandoning my Young Chain grew up alone, as his mother struggled with two Jobs in order to support herself and her young son. Despite her long hours of work Flora made a large impact on her son, formulating a man who was determined, forthright, and successful beyond their wildest dreams.
In Ross Bergs autobiography, she is quoted as saying, “Remember my son-any day above ground is a good day’ (pig 52) At eight ears old, young Chain and his mother came to America and settled in Queens, New York, his name was changed to Gene Klein. At the age of 14, Simmons was an outcast, very different from the other children his age. He had channeled his loneliness into industriousness by working (he had actually been working since he was 9). He wrote and published his own Sic If/Monster and Fantasy Fanzines with a mimeograph machine that his mother had given him.
At 15, his mother gave him his first guitar. He later graduated college (while working 2 Jobs and playing in his college band) with a bachelor of arts in education. He taught sixth graders in Spanish Harlem for six months but he was destined for other things. He had not only paid for his education, but by this time he had already accrued $10,000. 00 by working and exchanging valuable comic books purchased for next to nothing. Money, music and women were the three loves for Simmons.
He recognized early that “Money is the Key that unlocks everything: sex, happiness, and taking care of the ones I love”. (Sex money kiss pig 11). From the time his parent’s had divorced, Simmons was on a mission to make money. I enough music was Nils annoy, en recognized Tanat tenet was money to De mace In tons industry. He had started writing music in 1969, when he was 20 years old and was signed to a contract with the band Wicked Lester at some point after college, together with his long time partner, Stanley Essen who would later be known as Paul Stanley.
Even with a contract, Simmons recognized that this band was not enough to propel them where he wanted to be, so leaving behind the other band members, and the contract, Simmons and Stanley left Wicked Lester and put a band together combining everything they loved; Rock n Roll, comic books and horror movies. Kiss was formed n 1972, with Simmons putting up most of the money for equipment, rehearsal studios, and everything needed to start a band. Within one and a half years later, KISS was playing to many sold out arenas. Still, Simmons saved his money and took advantage of anything free’ such as free hotel, free dinners and still lived at home.
According to my interview with Demeter Limbless, who has been a certified member of the Kiss Army since 1977; it was actually KISS’ manager, Bill Auction who started the idea of the merchandising of KISS by including a catalog and a postage-paid envelope with every album sold. Inside the catalog were products ranging from a KISS necklace to KISS t-shirts. This had never been done before or since by any rock bands and was wildly successful. The band hit their zenith in 1978, but as the ass’s gave way to the ass’s, Kiss found themselves going down the mountain of success.
Band mates Peter Crisis and Ace Freshly moved on to other projects, and KISS started to fall out of favor by 1982. Along that same time, there was a break with their band manager Bill Auction, leaving Gene Simmons to learn how to book their music shows and tours. When their record sales started to slide, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley together with their new band members decided that they would become “unmasked” and started to perform in concert without their make-up. They had a mild resurgence, but nothing like the action in the ‘ass’s.
According to KISS Behind the Mask, The group did get back together for a “surprise appearance at the sass’s Grammar Awards in Los Angels triumphantly signaled the return of KISS”. (119) Throughout this time, Gene Simmons never rested on his music alone. He was always looking for new ways to make money. He started to back other musicians, and had reduced the 15 song cut for Van Helen prior to them signing with Capitol Records. In his book Family Jewels, Gene Simmons says “One thing Vie done right over the years is investing in the business I know best: Gene Simmons”. (pig 160)
Even though the record sales were not what they once were, by the mid nineties Gene Simmons noticed that their fan base kept growing, and it came to his attention that people were holding KISS conventions. One in particular featured the sale of items that had been stolen throughout the years of touring. Gene gathered the band, called the Detroit Michigan Police Dept. ND went to the convention. While he was there, he noticed a different atmosphere among his fans, and also noticed that money was being made. After some research, he found that there were KISS conventions going on in most major cities, even in other countries.
Gene is quoted in his book Sex Money KISS as saying “Let’s go back to the idea of supply and demand for a moment. If there was a demand, I sure as hell wanted to be the one who would supply it” (178). The first thing to do was to have his attorneys trademark the phrases “KISS Convention” and “SESSION”. He hired a helper and started holding KISS conventions cross ten anneal u states, canalling a SIOUX u malt Tee, calling all AT ten KISS tribute bands that had been playing across the country and incorporating them into the convention, without charge of course, they were using the trademarked KISS make-up and songs after all.
The first KISS conventions were oversold and a huge success. It came to Gene’s attention that there were many KISS books being written about the band, and he decided it was time KISS released their own book. Because most of the money would go to the publishers, book sellers, etc, Gene decided to self publish his own books. He sold his book Story for $158. 95 per book, through mail order on their fan magazines and made almost twelve million dollars. There is no doubt that Simmons is a genius at making money. As a renowned Rock Star, it is not as well known that he does not and has not ever given in to the charms of drugs or alcohol.
What Simmons has done however, is to have sex with a multitude of women. Here is where Simmons is entirely enigmatic. There is no doubt that he loves respects and reveres his mother, yet at the same time some of his philosophies on women and relationships are certainly misogynistic. In his book, Ladies of the Night, He says “l love women. Period. Almost all men do. Somewhere between that feeling and the real world lies “the price” for loving women”. (23) What he is saying is that there is a financial price tag for every man when dealing with a woman, regardless of the relationship.
Simmons clearly believes that all male-female relationships (except that of mother and child) are broken down the basic aspect of sex and money. His first breakdown is that men want sex, and women want money for it, as wife, girlfriend or prostitute. He believes that the prostitute is not only more honest than other females bout her desire for money, but more ethical about obtaining the money for her services. Additionally, Simmons spells out many times that all men are unable to maintain the state of monogamy, and by pure natural instinct will have sex with as many women as he can get to say yes.
While in his book on prostitution, he displays his beliefs that men will pay for sex, and it should be legal as the women’s choice. In his other book Sex Money Kiss he makes it very clear that he has and never will pay for a date. “The same philosophy I had as a little kid of having more than one relined, and sometimes letting her pay or going Dutch, is the same philosophy I have today, which is that I refuse to pay for companionship. “(185) These philosophies do not explain Shannon Tweed’s viewpoints at all.
In the very beginning of her memoir Kiss and Tell there is a forward from Gene Simmons where he says “She is everything I never knew I wanted. She makes me a better man. She gives me more freedom than I want. I love her more today than I did when we first met. ” (IX)Len her biography, Tweed speaks about her relationship with Simmons and explains their parenting style as boring and plain. The very fact that from the first time that they met, Simmons has called her every single day, not because he had to, but because he wanted to really gives a different picture of their relationship than one based on Just a financial reasoning.
Since the writing of her biography, Simmons and Tweed have gotten married, the one thing that he repeatedly stated in all of his writings that he would not do. As a businessman, Gene Simmons shows extraordinary drive and success; as a rock star he is innovative and talented, as a father, son, and partner he is loving and generous. Simmons has unending potential in what seems like every aspect of his life. He certainly has been hedonistic, with his many many sexual conquests, out at ten same time, tons Is only one AT ten many Tacos AT Simmons Tanat would take countless pages to cover; Just like his many business endeavors.