Gene Simmons wears a lot of hats. As a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS, the God of Thunder has been rocking the world for the past 40 years, and has held lucrative side gigs in TV, film, investing and publishing. With over 100 million CDs and DVDs sold, KISS is also one of the biggest brands in music history, with over 3,000 licensed merchandised items.
Out today (Oct. 21) is his latest book, Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business, in which Simmons— a Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award winner who emigrated to America from Israel when he was eight years old—shares his manifesto for business success. Inspired byThe Art of War, Me, Inc. is organized around thirteen specific, easy-to-understand principles for prosperity, drawn from Simmons’s own triumphs and failures to help you attain the freedom and wealth of your dreams. (And if you’d like to meet the author himself, check out our slideshow for upcoming dates of his book tour.)
In this exclusive interview, Simmons phoned me from his Beverly Hills home (where he was eagerly awaiting his advance copies of the book) to give his candid opinions on why young men shouldn’t get married, how his love for his mother cemented his work ethic, and what his wife Shannon Tweed really thinks about KISS.
What was the inspiration for this book?
Life, really. I’ll ask you this question and see if you can answer it. You went to high school, I presume.
What was the name of the class that prepared you for what you do now for a living?
I don’t believe there was one.
How about that? Because I didn’t have a class that prepared me for this or the restaurant business or the football business or being in a rock band or branding or the television business or the movie business or the corporate speaking things—none of it. There is no class for that. In essence, it whittles down to—although I didn’t understand it in those days—you have an inferred fiduciary duty to yourself, to learn people skills, language skills, have the right thing, be at the right place, and at the right time. And surround yourself with people who are smarter, not stupider, than you are. And get rid of all losers in your life and make smart life decisions.
Like, don’t get married, guys. Different rules for girls. Don’t get married in your early twenties—you’re an idiot; you’re still full of c—. You haven’t made your fortune, and why would you want to take on mortgages, kids, and, well, divorce—because statistics say you will get divorced—and in certain households of certain ethnic and/or racial groups, 80% of households don’t have a father; they run out. And if you’re of a certain religious belief, you might have ten kids. Why would you do that? When each child could cost a million dollars by the time they graduate college. A million dollars! That’s pretax; that means two million dollars per child at the highest tax rate—the highest tax rate just earn more than 250,000 dollars.
A deluxe remastered edition of KISS‘ sixth studio album, 1977′s Love Gun, will be released this Tuesday, October 27, in conjunction with the band’s 40th anniversary celebrations. The expanded two-CD collection will include a bonus disc containing a variety of previously unreleased live and demo recordings, as well as a 1977 interview with singer/bassist Gene Simmons.
Released in June of ’77, Love Gun peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and includes the hit single “Christine Sixteen,” which reached #25 on the Hot 100 chart. The record also features the Ace Frehleyshowcase “Shock Me” and “Then She Kissed Me,” a gender-switching rendition of the 1963 Crystals hit “Then He Kissed Me.” The album has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. to date.
The bonus CD includes a variety of demos from the Love Gun sessions, as well as live versions of the title track, “Christine Sixteen” and “Shock Me” from a December ’77 concert in Landover, Maryland. The deluxe package includes new liner notes penned by Def Leppardfrontman Joe Elliott.
KISS will wind down its 40th anniversary tour next month with its first-ever Las Vegas residency, a nine-show engagement at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The KISS Rocks Vegas dates are scheduled for November 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 19, 22 and 23.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kiss‘ 1989 album ‘Hot in the Shade,’ Bruce Kulick — the band’s lead guitarist from that era — is offering a track-by-track breakdown of the album on his official website. If you’re read his features on albums such as ‘Crazy Nights,’ ‘Carnival of Souls‘ and ‘Revenge‘ you know he offers smart, informative insights on the band’s creative process.
He was kind enough to share his notes on ‘Hot in the Shade”s opening track (and third single), the rousing ‘Rise to It,’ exclusively with our readers. You can check them out below, and the read his thoughts on the rest of the album’s 15 songs right here on Kulick.net.
‘Rise To It,’ the opening track on Kiss’ 1989 album ‘Hot In The Shade’ (also known as HITS), starts with a slide acoustic guitar played by Paul Stanley. This taste of some swampy Delta blues doesn’t last very long, but for a band known for power chords and screaming vocals it certainly makes the listener ask… what’s up? Well this nod to the blues, which is such a part of rock ‘n’ roll, establishes the band’s desire to explore and acknowledge where its been, who it is influenced by, and where it’s going.
Once the track fully kicks in, you know you’re in the land of Kiss. Enter the Demon, sliding on the bass into the big drums from Eric Carr, while harmonic dive-bomb chords and riffs from yours truly set up the song perfectly. Paul’s melodic vocals give him room to build into the exciting pre-chorus, followed by the catchy sing-along of the “Rise To It” chorus. A hint of the intro blues slide guitar part becomes the creative foundation of the music. It’s a swampy, ZZ Top vibe combined with testosterone from Stanley and company.
Watch Kiss Perform ‘Rise To It’
Repeat the formula and then we’re off to the bridge, where Paul’s powerful wail sets up my fiery solo, which uses many tricks of the whammy bar and harmonics. It all sets up a big drum beat breakdown from Eric before settling back into the chorus out, with Paul having some wild fun with his voice over my outro guitar leads. The track establishes that meld of rock, blues, and sing-along vocals so special to Kiss.
Tim Donnelly | New York Post
If you’re looking for brutally honest business advice, KISS frontman Gene Simmons is here to give you a tongue lashing.
The legendary rocker, known for his elaborate stage makeup, costume and a proclivity for wagging his long tongue, is releasing a new book of business advice on Tuesday, called “Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business.” In it, he distills 40 years of leading the global-phenomenon rock band, which has franchised into a billion pieces of merchandise, including everything from comic books to a coffee shop.
We combed through the book to find the 10 best pieces of advice from the brain of Gene Simmons.
Simmons writes about how when he was 9 years old and living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he attended yeshiva six days a week and spent all his free time in the library.
“For the first time in my life, I was in a place where the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich have the same access to all information for free, on a level playing field,” he writes.
It was then that he promised himself, “I would educate myself, and that I would never stop educating myself. It was my responsibility to keep learning.”
Don’t put all your eggs in one rock ’n’ roll basket
“I seemed instinctively to know certain precepts of good business practice,” he writes.
“I wanted to try for a career in the music industry, otherwise known as forming a rock band. But there was no guarantee it would work. In fact, statistics should have been enough to tell me the cards were stacked against me. So I worked at two jobs at the same time I was trying to put together the band.”
Gene Simmons‘ recent declaration that rock music is dead was met with considerable backlash. But in a new interview, Joe Perry thinks the Kiss bassist has a point, although he added a bit of nuance to Simmons’ words rather than sound rock’s death knell.
“I think he’s right in the sense that this whole era of rock & roll has dwindled down to literally a cottage industry,” he told BAM Magazine. “When we started, being in a rock band was one step away from being an outlaw. No one ever said, ‘Oh good, you’re playing in a rock band, how wonderful!’ But music was so important to the fans, that was our marching music to the revolution.”
Last month, Simmons said that, for several reasons, it has become increasingly difficult for up-and-coming rock acts to make a living, and therefore rock “was murdered.” Perry, who has often spoken about the problems in getting Aerosmith‘s newest music heard by the general public, concurred, adding, “I think that that era of rock bands playing to sold-out arenas and selling millions of records in a pop — yeah, that part of it is dead.”
Jody Havenot and D-Rock are joined by Jeff Gray and Jeff Scott from Watchin’ You to discuss the KISS Guitarists..we actually recorded this one a few months ago, but due to life, got pushed back until now. We hope you enjoy, KISS ARMY!! And stay tuned, we have new episodes comin’ your way soon!
The KISS Halloween store is open! We ship all orders out within one business day and have 2-Day and Overnight shipping options available as well. We absolutely guarantee delivery for Halloween or the KISS Kruise.
Be aware, the KISS Halloween costumes have been discontinued. The items on sale are over stock and plentiful. The items that are not on sale will be sold out soon. Regardless, there will be no more produced in the future!
CALGARY – The legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is coming to Calgary and will feature rock legend Gene Simmons of KISS fame, the Herald has learned.
The camp, which has been making dreams come true in the United States for the past 18 years, will hold its first foray into Canada January 8-11, 2015 in Calgary.
Simmons, a singer-songwriter, businessman, arena football co-owner of the LA KISS and media icon, headlines the launch of the business venture north of the border.
“Mentoring adult and young rockers at the fantasy camp has always been an amazingly rewarding experience for me,” said Simmons in a statement. “I enjoy teaching and handing over lessons I’ve learned from the business to musicians and upcoming talent.”
Over four days, attendees will get to fulfill their dreams by jamming with their idols who will help them perfect their instrument skills, vocals and stage presence. The campers, with guidance from the counsellors, will write, record and rehearse an original song at Heritage Hall at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and perform before a live audience at the downtown Calgary Fairmont Palliser Hotel.
On episode 494 of the Talking Metal podcast Mark Strigl interviews Eddie Trunk. Topics discussed include Eddie’s radio shows, VH1 Classic, That Metal Show, the strange Paul Stanley “That Metal Show” tweet, Vinnie Vincent, Wendy Dio, Jimmy Page, Riche Scarlet and Ace Frehley.
Support Talking Metal!!!! Buy a TM t-shirt in the Merch section, use the Paypal tab to make a donation, OR use this link to make a purchase on Amazon.Listen to a non-music version of the episode on Spreaker below. The interview with Mike Lepond starts at 14 mins into the no music Spreaker version of the episode:
Chris Shaffer | CBS
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Kiss’s Gene Simmons and his daughter, Sophie Tweed-Simmons, are big supporters of a local nonprofit that provides restorative aid to those in need.
Matter is an organization based in St. Louis Park, and they’re throwing a sold-out fundraising gala Friday night.
Even if you can’t go, Matter is accepting donations online. Most of that money will go to help kids who are going hungry here in Minnesota. Click here to learn more.
And you may not know this about our Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer, but he’s a huge KISS fan.
So even though he had the day off, Chris jumped at the chance to interview Gene.
Watch the video above to see Chris get a little music lesson from a rock legend!
Diana Falzone | Fox News
As the drummer and a founding member of the band Kiss, Criss, 68, has is a place in music history, and was inducted with his bandmates into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
What you may not know about Criss, however, is that he is a breast cancer survivor. He joined us in the FOX411 studio to talk about his work as artist ambassador for Hard Rock’s Pinktober Campaign for breast cancer awareness.
FOX411: You had breast cancer. What was it like getting the diagnosis?
Peter Criss: As a man, I thought I must have pulled a muscle, and being in spandex and lipstick and high heels most of my life, I’m pretty used to my body. I just felt like something was wrong and I told her (Criss’ wife) so she mentioned it to the doctor. The doctor said if you were my husband I would send you over to New York Presbyterian to see Dr. Switzel.
But that’s a cancer hospital for women. She goes, “Yeah but I think you should go there.” It blew my mind walking into a huge room like this nothing but women, no men, except for their husbands with them. It felt really uncomfortable for me, and it actually scared the pants off of me.
FOX411: Was your induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bittersweet?
Criss: No. As in any band, it’s like a marriage, you know. There’s good and there’s bad. There’s the great times and the bad times. I wrote a book about it and it still says everything I still stand by. Everyone loves great endings and too bad, it wasn’t a great fairy tale ending. I think money, power, fame changes people a lot. When I was a younger guy, you would have hated me. My head was bigger than my body. I thought I was the greatest thing on the planet.
FOX411: What’s the difference between being a rock star versus a musician?
Founding KISS drummer Peter Criss is best known for his years keeping the beat for the recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, but he’s also making a name for himself as a spokesman for breast cancer awareness. While the disease affects far fewer men than women, the 68-year-old rock legend was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Thankfully, he’s been cancer-free going on seven years.
Criss now has been chosen as one of Hard Rock International’s Artist Ambassadors for the 2014 edition of its Pinktober campaign held in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Peter is helping to spread the word that men also can be stricken with the disease.
At a recent New York City launch party for the initiative, the drummer told ABC News Radio that he appreciates the chance to team with the Hard Rock organization to help get the message out there.
“I’m really proud that the Hard Rock is getting involved with this with me, because for a while there, you kind of feel like you’re alone,” he explained. “You know, you’re out there and you’re trying to get the word spread that ‘guys can get it, guys can get it.’ I feel like I’m with the big guys now.”
Justin Tedaldi | Examiner
Michael Sedon | Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — KISS’s Peter Criss is a rock ‘n’ roll legend — a man’s man teens idolize and men want to be.
But for a year, he kept a secret because he didn’t know how fans would view him.
Criss is a breast cancer survivor.
“It was embarrassing to talk about, because it’s not a man thing,” Criss told more than 100 students and faculty members gathered in St. John’s University’s Kelleher Center on Thursday for an event to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
After discovering a painful lump while working out six years ago, he visited his doctor, who initially told him it was nothing to worry about before diagnosing him.
“I was freaked out,” Criss said. “Immediately, I went ‘What? Men don’t get breast cancer.’”