Brian Ives | CBS
“Money is just an indication of how well you’re doing. It really isn’t an end, in and of itself. It ain’t what it’s about.” Shocker and spoiler: that quote came from none other than Gene Simmons in Jeffrey Hazelett’s All Business podcast, which is live now on CBS Local’s Play.It podcast network.
Of course, the KISS frontman and mogul hasn’t lost his love for the almighty dollar. Far from it.
As he told Hazelett (his one-time sparring partner from Celebrity Apprentice), it’s not just about the amount of commas in your bank statement; it’s also about the actual quest to earn it. “The people that you meet in life who say, ‘I just want enough to get by,’ are losers! Sooner or later they’re going to be wrapping fish. It really isn’t about the wealth: the wealth is good. It buys you security, and it buys you toys and games and it buys your mom the hip operation that she needs, it does all that stuff. But what it is, is the numbers that the judges hold up when you do tumbles in front of them.”
With Simmons, even when he’s doing an interview, he’s performing. If there’s a vocal mic or a digital recorder in front of him, he’s “on.” Which isn’t to say that there’s not some substance and hard truth to what he says. “Everything in life is a business. Every step you take, every day you live is either going to push you forward on that road to becoming self-sufficient, or you’re gonna be sitting on your thumb watching reruns of I Love Lucy and losing money. If you stand still, inflation and other things are gonna kick in, and then you’re done! You have to approach life and business like a shark: it has to keep moving, otherwise it drowns.”
He told a story of his first business in Israel, selling pieces of cactus, and also how, once he immigrated (legally, as he is quick to note) to America, a game of marbles provided a young Demon with an important moment of clarity.
“What are you stupid, can’t you speak English?” he recalls some children asking him. “And it was actually a lesson learned. People here think you’re an idiot if you can’t speak English. And I’m saying this as an immigrant!”