Andy Greene | Rolling Stone
If you want Gene Simmons to come to your house, all you have to do is buy his new ten CD box set The Vaultand he’ll bring it right to you. You can even invite over up to 25 friends. He’ll spend two hours at your place and maybe even play a few songs on the guitar. The only catch is that it costs $50,000. He swears it’s worth it. “It’s the largest box set of all time and it spans from 1966 to 2016,” he tells Rolling Stone. “It has 150 songs that have never been released, including a song I wrote with Bob Dylan. Joe Perry appears on one track and the Van Halen brothers appear on three others. A lot of it is stuff I was never able to release because we were preaching the mantra of Kiss and a lot of the stuff didn’t simply sound like Kiss.”
No rock star of Gene’s caliber has ever travelled around the country visiting fans at their houses, but the Kiss frontman has a long history of finding new ways to make money, whether it’s selling Kiss comic books, Kiss condoms or even Kiss caskets. He got on the phone with us not just to plug The Vault, but also to share the life lessons he’s picked up over the years – covering everything from infidelity to parenting to why he continues to believe that rock is dead.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
The wisest person I ever met continues to be my mother. She survived a Nazi concentration camp at fourteen when her whole family was killed. Her perspective on life is, “Every day above ground is a good day, so reach for the stars. As long as there’s nobody trying to kill you, what have you got to lose? You cannot fail.” And she’s right.
She’s also taught me that success is only temporary. She still doesn’t understand who pays me and why there’s so much money. She just can’t fathom it. When I showed her the first ten million dollar check I earned, she didn’t know what ten million dollars was, or whether it’s ten thousand or a hundred thousand. But she looked at it and it looked like a large number and she said, “That’s wonderful, now what are you gonna do?” She’s right. You knock somebody out, you’re the champion of the world, hey that’s great. OK, now what are you gonna do? Sit back? Or are you gonna get back in the ring and continue to pump your heart while you’re alive? Use it or lose it. I learned that work ethic from my mother.
How do you teach your kids to find that drive when they were born into such radically different circumstances than you?
For one thing, they’ve never had an allowance. I strongly don’t believe in giving your kids any money for nothing, because when they go off on their own, their hands are going to be outstretched, going “Where’s my money for doing nothing?” So it’s a good thing to keep your kids on a tight leash. Also, I don’t expect much from you, but what I do expect, you will deliver, or else. One is, you’re not allowed to get high or get drunk or smoke cigarettes – can’t do that. If you want to, I want to have a discussion. And tell me before, don’t tell me after. If you transgress, if you go against my commandments, you will find yourself in a desert camp digging holes, written out of the estate and the will.
Do you think if you were born to a wealthy family in America you wouldn’t have the drive you’ve had all your life?
I think I have an advantage because we came from nothing, and I wasn’t born in America. I became aware of the promise land that was America. I was supposedly born in the “Promised Land,” Israel, but there is no country that gives you so much as America.
You’ve been with your wife Shannon Tweed for over thirty years. What’s the secret to a long relationship?
Double Down | NJ1015
I’ve been a huge Kiss fan my entire life. Whether it be Kiss mugs, Kiss dolls, Kiss concert shirts, Kiss posters, you name it, I’ve owned it. I’ve even contemplated buying the Kiss coffin for the afterlife. So when I heard about Gene Simmons’ new project, I immediately tried to conjure up ways to raise enough money to pull off the ultimate Kiss prize.
Gene Simmons has created one of the largest box set collections in the history of music, known simply as “The Vault.” It’s a historical look back at Gene’s entire musical career, spanning over 50 years. The Vault contains 150 never-before released songs on 10 cds, a 50,000-word book, a special gold coin that reads “In Gene We Trust,” and a special Gene Simmons action figure. The price tag to own Gene’s lifetime of music? A cool $2,000.
What a blast to be able to experience a once-in-a-lifetime conversation between Tom Barnard and FOUR Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Gene Simmons, Don Felder, Rick Nielsen and Ace Frehley. Each of these four legends performed at The Children Matter Benefit Concert on September 20th at CHS Field! All proceeds from the show will benefit the victims of the recent hurricanes that have hit Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Learn more about how you can help at matter.ngo
Matthew Wilkening | Ultimate Classic Rock
Frehley will appear on the bill for the Children Matter Benefit Concert in St. Paul, Minn., which is being headlined by Simmons’ solo band. Today’s announcement also confirmed that Frehley and Simmons will share the stage. Cheap Trick and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder are slated to perform, as well.
This will be the third notable collaboration between Frehley and his former bandmates in recent years. Last April, founding Kiss guitarist and singer Paul Stanley contributed vocals to a cover of Free’s “Fire and Water” for Frehley’s album Origins, Vol. 1.
This past June, Simmons revealed that he and Frehley had written a pair of songs together. “He asked me to write for his next solo record,” Simmons said. “So, I went over to his place, way out in the desert some place, and we wrote two things.”
Peter Arquette | KISSmuseum.com
If you have any chance to see the Gene Simmons Band on the current tour, you should drop everything and make the effort to go! A very intimate, personal concert with plenty of opportunities to get on stage with the man. An awesome time with plenty of obscure as well as familiar KISS songs in the set. Tour date are HERE.
Gene Simmons‘s long-promised box set of previously unreleased solo material, which has apparently had several different working titles over the years — including “Monster” (later used by KISS for the band’s most recent studio album), “Alter Ego” and “100” — will finally see the light of day later this year.
In a newly released video message, the KISS bassist/vocalist states: “For the past three years, I’ve been working on something that I’ve wanted to share with you my entire life. I’ve gone through hours and hours of music I’ve recorded and written over the past fifty years to craft my career-spanning solo recordings box set. It’s called ‘The Vault’.”
He continues: “‘The Vault’ is one hundred and fifty-plus never-before-released songs I’ve written, spanning fifty years, going all the way back to when I was fourteen years old, all the way to some of the songs that became KISS classics. Tens CDs right here, all inside ‘The Vault’. It’s finally ready to bring to you. Yeah, that’s right, I said ‘to bring to you,’ because what I’m gonna be doing is something that’s never been done before by any artist or band. I’m gonna hand-deliver ‘The Vault’ box set to you and to fans like you around the world.”
Simmons adds: “I also wanted you to have really cool stuff: an exclusive Gene Simmons action figure, an ‘In Gene We Trust’ medallion, a beautiful full-color book packed with photos from my peronsal archives, and my stories behind the songs — and a very special surprise item from me to you. You’re not gonna believe the things we found.”
More information on “The Vault” will be made available at www.genesimmonsvault.com.
Simmons has released two solo albums and also written for and with other artists, including Bob Dylan and Donna Summer.
“I’ve always written ‘outside’ stuff,” he explained in response to a fan question on his official web site back in 2009. “But KISS is KISS. And that means the outside stuff winds up on solo albums, or I keep it in the drawer.”
Simmons‘s sophomore solo album, “Asshole”, sold around 13,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release back in 2004 to land at position No. 86 on The Billboard 200 chart. Like Gene‘s 1978 self-titled solo album, “Asshole” featured a number of outside songwriting contributions and guest appearances. Bob Dylan and Gene co-wrote the album’s “Waiting For The Morning Light”. Frank Zappa and Gene share co-writing credit on “Black Tongue” and the Zappa Family, Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon, Gail and Frank Zappa himself sing and play guitar on the song.
Greg Kennelty | Metal Injection
Sometimes you have to wonder if Kiss‘ Gene Simmons listens to what he says when he’s talking, or if he just spouts whatever idea comes into his head and then just rolls with it for the whole interview. Simmons has recently made headlines for trying to trademark the classic “devil horns” gesture, defending his application while saying he invented synchronized stage moves, and then withdrawing the application anyway and saying he can do whatever he wants.
Now Simmons tells The Chicago Tribune that nobody who plays guitar can read or write music, and therefor is not an artist.
Q: You strike me as being very practical and unsentimental, which are great qualities for a businessman, but not so much for an artist. Do those qualities come into conflict in your mind, ever?
A: How did you ever think anyone who plays electric guitar is an artist? They can’t even read or write music.
Q: You don’t think of yourself as an artist?
A: No. An artist is somebody who went to school, who learned music theory, can read and write music, like classical musicians or jazz musicians. None of us — Madonna, I don’t care who you’re talking about — none of us learned to read and write music, we just sort of did it. It’s pretty much on the same level as cavemen who came out of the caves and started to beat on the drums, and howl at the moon.
He then follows up those answers by saying you only think someone like Bruce Springsteen is an artist because you’re told that he’s an artist. Oh, and Gene knows Bruce, and he just wants to connect to the common man.
Allison Steward | Chicago Tribune
Gene Simmons is the co-frontman of fabled, fire-breathing rock overlords Kiss, and does a thriving side business as an entrepreneur. Kiss made rock merchandising an art form, and Simmons (born Chaim Witz in Israel 68 years ago) is its finest brand extension.
He has authored books, starred in a reality show, made it to week three of “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008, endorsed Mitt Romney and launched his own cola. He will patiently, eloquently answer any question, and is unfailingly serious, even when he’s probably kidding. He has an easy command of Kiss-related statistics, from the number of “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” episodes that have aired (156) to the number of Kiss-affiliated Rock & Brews restaurants set to open locally (15).
“Our reach is far and wide,” says Simmons. Simmons, whose new book, “On Power,” arrives in November, talked meeting presidents, vomiting blood and life as a tabloid staple. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation:
Q: Your new book is partly a meditation on power, and partly a self-help book.
A: The book grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you and says, “OK, are you serious about life? Do you want to reach for the stars? Here’s some things you can do to make more money, and become more powerful.”
On this episode of KISS My Kollectibles presents KISS My Wax: FINALLY!! IT’S HERE!!! Your co-hosts Jason Herndon, Tom Shannon from The Rockologists, and Andrew Sgambati fill you in on the details of Tom’s long awaited book “KISS My Wax: The KISS LP Bible”! Presale starts on Monday, August 28th at 8 AM eastern time! All your questions are answered in this episode so check it out now! And be sure to log on to www.therockologists.com to preorder your copy on the 28th!