Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz [Template:He, pronounced /ˈxɑːjɪm/] on August 25, 1949 is an Israeli-American rock bassist, vocalist, musician, actor, and businessman. He is well known as "The Demon", the bassist in the hard rock band Kiss, a group he co-founded in the early 1970s.
Early life and career
Simmons was born in Tirat Carmel, Haifa, Israel in 1949, and immigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City at the age of eight, with his mother Flóra Klein — a Jewish Hungarian immigrant (who was born in Jánd, a village in Hungary). Florence and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only two members of her family to survive the Holocaust. His Hungarian-born father, Feri Witz, did not accompany them to the U.S. After arriving in the U.S., young Chaim Witz took the name Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), Klein being his mother's maiden name. In the late 1960s, he changed his name to Gene Simmons to honor legendary rockabilly performer Jumpin' Gene Simmons.
Simmons became involved with his first band, Lynx, then renamed The Missing Links, when he was a teenager. Eventually, he disbanded The Missing Links to form The Long Island Sounds, the name being a play on words relating to the estuary separating Long Island from Westchester County, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. While he played in these bands, he kept up odd jobs on the side to make more money, including making fanzines and trading used comic books. Simmons attended Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake, New York. He then joined a new band, Bullfrog Bheer, and the band recorded a demo, "Leeta"; this was later included on the Kiss box set.
Simmons formed the rock band Wicked Lester in the early 1970s with Stanley Harvey Eisen (now known as Paul Stanley) and recorded one album, which was never released. Dissatisfied with Wicked Lester's sound and look, Simmons and Stanley attempted to fire their band members; they were met with resistance, and they quit Wicked Lester, walking away from their record deal with Epic Records. They decided to form the ultimate rock band, and started looking for a drummer. Simmons and Stanley found an ad placed by Peter Criscoula, known as Peter Criss, who was playing clubs in Brooklyn at the time; they joined and started out as a trio. Paul Frehley, better known as Ace Frehley, responded to an ad they put in The Village Voice for a lead guitar player, and soon joined them. Kiss released its self-titled debut album in February 1974. Stanley quickly took on the role of lead performer on stage, while Simmons became the driving force behind what became an extensive Kiss merchandising franchise.
In 1983, while Kiss's fame was waning, the members took off their trademark make-up and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity that continued into the 1990s. The band hosted their own fan conventions throughout 1995, and fan feedback about the original Kiss members reunion influenced the highly successful 1996-1997 Alive Worldwide reunion tour. In 1998, the band released Psycho Circus, the first album in almost 20 years by the original line-up. Since then, the original line-up has once again dissolved, with Tommy Thayer replacing Ace Frehley on lead guitar and Eric Singer (who performed with Kiss from 1992 up through 1996) replacing Peter Criss on drums.
Gene Simmons has used various bass guitars during his career including:
- Axe Bass (Kramer or other brands, like Jackson)
- Punisher Bass (Made by a lot of brands, as seen, B.C Rich or Jackson)
- Spector Gene Simmons Signature
- Gibson Grabber (mainly in Kiss' early years)
- Gibson Ripper ( mainly in Kiss' early years )
- Cort Guitars Signature GS-1 Bass
He uses Ampeg SVT CL Series amps with 8x10 cabinets. In 2010 Gene collaborated with Cort Guitars to make a his own signature bass line called the GS-AXE-2.
Simmons, who has never been married, currently lives in Beverly Hills, California with longtime partner and former Playboy Playmate and actress Shannon Tweed. They have two children: a son, Nick Simmons (born January 22, 1989), and a daughter, Sophie Simmons (born July 7, 1992). He formerly has had live-in relationships with Cher and Diana Ross.
While a self-described social liberal, Simmons has also described himself as a supporter of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration. He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, writing on his website: "I'm ashamed to be surrounded by people calling themselves liberal who are, in my opinion, spitting on the graves of brave American soldiers who gave their life to fight a war that wasn't theirs...in a country they've never been to... simply to liberate the people therein". In a follow-up, Simmons explained his position and wrote about his love and support for the United States: "I wasn't born here. But I have a love for this country and its people that knows no bounds. I will forever be grateful to America for going into World War II, when it had nothing to gain, in a country that was far away... and rescued my mother from the Nazi German concentration camps. She is alive and I am alive because of America. And, if you have a problem with America, you have a problem with me".
During the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Lebanon, Simmons sent a televised message of support (in both English and Hebrew) to an Israeli soldier seriously wounded in fighting in Lebanon, calling him his "hero".
- In a February 4, 2002 interview on the NPR radio show Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Simmons said to Gross regarding his claim to have bedded about 4,600 women: "If you want to welcome me with open arms, I'm afraid you're also going to have to welcome me with open legs" (paraphrasing The Who's hit song "You Better You Bet"). To this Gross replied, "That's a really obnoxious thing to say." Simmons refused to grant permission to NPR to make the interview available online on the network's website. However, the interview is available online and appears in print in Gross's book All I Did Was Ask (ISBN 1-4013-0010-3). Some unauthorized transcripts are also available. NBP re-broadcast part of the interview on Fresh Air on Aug 31, 2007. Simmons's bandmate and Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley has frequently used the phrase "... welcomed us with open arms and open legs", and similar wording, in onstage patter through many years of Kiss concerts.
- In 2004, during an interview in Melbourne, Australia, Simmons described Islam as a "vile culture" wherein women had fewer rights than dogs. He described Islam as a threat, claiming that Muslims wanted to leave the Middle East and supplant non-Muslims in other parts of the world by force. The Muslim community took offense, with Australian Muslim of the Year, Susan Carland, asserting that Simmons' stereotyping of Muslims was inaccurate and that she never walked behind her husband as Simmons stated all Muslim women were required to do. Simmons later said on his website that he was talking specifically about Muslim extremists.
- In 2005, Simmons was sued by a former lover, Georgeann Walsh Ward, who alleged that she had been "defamed" in the VH1 documentary When Kiss Ruled the World, which she claimed portrayed her as an "unchaste woman" and implied that she had been merely a groupie rather than a committed girlfriend of Simmons. Ward insisted that she had been involved in an "exclusive monogamous relationship" with Simmons since before Kiss was formed. The suit was settled as of June 29, 2006.
- In 2008, a video on the Internet surfaced which purported to be Simmons engaging in sexual activity with an unnamed woman. Simmons later stated that the tape was recorded without his consent or knowledge and that his legal team was pursuing legal options.
- Details go here
Film and television work
Simmons has been the creative force behind such television projects as:
- My Dad the Rock Star, a cartoon by the Canadian animation company Nelvana, about the mild mannered son of a Gene Simmons-like rock star.
- Mr. Romance, a show created and hosted by Simmons on the Oxygen cable television channel.
- Rock School, a reality show in which Simmons tries to make a rock band out of a group of students of Christ's Hospital School in the first season, and in the second, a group of kids from a comprehensive school in Lowestoft.
- Gene Simmons Family Jewels, a reality show documenting the personal lives of Simmons, his girlfriend and his son and daughter.
On March 9, 2010, Simmons and Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley and E! Entertainment announced that they have finalized a production and development deal to create an as-yet-untitled comedic half-hour kids' television series.
|1978||Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park||The Demon||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley||TV movie|
|1984||Runaway||Dr. Charles Luther|
|1986||Trick or Treat||Nuke (radio DJ)||Ozzy Osbourne also appeared|
|1986||Never Too Young to Die||Carruthers / Velvet Von Ragner|
|1987||Wanted: Dead or Alive||Malak Al Rahim|
|1988||The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years||Himself||Paul Stanley||Documentary|
|1999||Detroit Rock City||Himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley||Simmons also produced|
|2002||The New Guy||Reverend|
|2002||Wish You Were Dead||Vinny|
|2008||Detroit Metal City||Jack ill Dark||Japanese movie|
|2010||The Last Airbender||Spirit Dragon (Voice)|
Selected television guest appearances
|1974||The Mike Douglas Show||June 11, 1974||Himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley||Kiss' first national television appearance, performed "Firehouse"|
|1976||The Paul Lynde Halloween Special||October 29, 1976||Himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley||The band performed "Detroit Rock City" and "King of the Night Time World", Peter Criss performed "Beth"|
|1985||Miami Vice||"Prodigal Son"||Newton Blade|
|1997||Action League Now!||"Rock-A-Big-Baby"||Toy version of himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley||Performed "Rock and Roll All Nite"|
|1998||MADtv||October 31, 1998 (#406)||Himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley.||Halloween special; performed in five sketches|
|2001||Family Guy||"A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas"||Animated version of himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley|
|2002||Family Guy||"Road to Europe"||Animated version of himself||Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley|
|2001||Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?||May 27, 2001||Himself||Won $32,000|
|2002||The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||September 6, 2002||Himself|
|2003||King of the Hill||"Reborn to Be Wild"||Jessie|
|2004||Third Watch||"Higher Calling"||Donald Mann|
|2004||Third Watch||"Monsters"||Donald Mann|
|2004||Third Watch||"More Monsters"||Donald Mann|
|2005||American Idol||"Auditions: New Orleans"||Himself- guest judge|
|2005||Family Guy||"Don't Make Me Over"||Animated version of himself/ Prisoner #3|
|2005||Mind of Mencia||Episode #1.7||Himself|
|2006||The View||August 1, 2006||Himself||2006||Gene Simmons Family Jewels|
|2007||SpongeBob SquarePants||"The Battle of Bikini Bottom"||Sea Monster|
|2007||Shrink Rap||"Gene Simmons"||Himself||UK's More4 show|
|2008||Entertainment Tonight||January 2, 2008||Himself|
|2008||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||January 18, 2008||Himself|
|2008||Rachael Ray||March 11, 2008||Himself|
|2008||Criss Angel Mindfreak||"Mindfreaking with the Stars"||Himself|
|2008||Ugly Betty||"The Kids Are Alright"||Himself|
|2008||Ugly Betty||"A Thousand Words by Friday"||Himself|
|2008||Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?||Episode #3.9||Himself||Won $500,000 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation charity|
|2008||The Celebrity Apprentice||First three episodes||Himself||Fired in the third episode|
|2008||Jingles||Celebrity judge||Mark Burnett reality show|
|2009||American Idol||Season Finale||Himself||Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Paul Stanley||Performed medley of 3 songs with contestant Adam Lambert|
|2009||The Fairly OddParents||"Wishology - Part 1: The Big Beginning"||Animated version of himself||Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Paul Stanley|
|2010||I Get That a Lot||Episode 2||As Himself||No Band Mates Associated||Simmons appeared as a psychic working at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice, California|
|2010||Extreme Makeover: Home Edition||Episode 160||As Himself||No Kiss Band Mates Associated||The band Kiss made a personal appearance during the Wagstaff family's vacation in Disneyland and honored them as special guests at one of their concerts. Kiss also made a personal appearance at a local school where a donation of new musical instruments was made in the Wagstaff family's name.|
|2010||I'm In A Rock N Roll Band||Episode 1 And 5||As Himself||None||Discussing the requirements of being in a rock band.|
Video game appearances
Gene Simmons is a playable character in Tony Hawk's Underground, unlocked when completing the story mode on Normal difficulty, and also appears with his Kiss bandmates in the Hotter Than Hell level to play one of three songs upon collecting the four K-I-S-S letters.
Gene Simmons' Kiss character, The Demon, is a playable character in Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child.
Simmons also has a large role in the 2010 music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. In addition to narrating the main storyline and doing advertising for the game, the Kiss song "Love Gun" is playable.
- Gene Simmons (1978)
- Sex Money Kiss (audiobook CD), 2003)
- Asshole (2004)
- Speaking in Tongues (spoken word CD, 2004)
- Kiss and Make-Up, Gene Simmons (ISBN 0-609-81002-2)
- Sex Money Kiss, Gene Simmons (ISBN 1-893224-86-4)
- Kiss: The Early Years, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (ISBN 0-609-81028-6)
- Kiss: Behind the Mask, David Leaf and Ken Sharp (ISBN 0-446-96524-6)
- Ladies of the Night: A Historical and Personal Perspective on the Oldest Profession in the World, Gene Simmons (ISBN 1-59777-501-0)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 GeneSimmons.com -Biography
- ↑ Gene honors his mother Flora in Gene Simmons Famiyl Jewels
- ↑ Lollar, Michael (June 14, 2009). "Tongues were wagging as KISS star Gene Simmons visited Memphis". Memphis Commercial Appeal. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
- ↑ GeneSimmons.com - News
- ↑ GeneSimmons.com - News
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 GeneSimmons.com - News
- ↑ "Gene Simmons hails Israeli soldier". Associated Press. 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- ↑ "Terry Gross interview with Gene Simmons". Internet Archive. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- ↑ The Unpredictable Gene Simmons : NPR
- ↑ "Outrage as KISS player mouths off on Muslims". Sydney Morning Herald, 2004-05-14
- ↑ Law.com - KISS Singer's Motion to Dismiss Defamation Suit Denied
- ↑ "Kiss's Gene Simmons Settles Defamation Suit by Ex-Girlfriend". FOXNews.com
- ↑ "KISS and Tell: Simmons Sex Tape Goes Viral". The Age (Australia), 2008-02-22.
- ↑ "Video"
- ↑ A&E's Gene Simmons Family Jewels website
- ↑ http://www.kissonline.com/news/News/4
- ↑ "Gene Simmons poses as psychic for US prank show". 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- ↑ "IMDb-KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Runaway". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-Trick or Treat". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-Never Too Young to Die". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-Wanted: Dead or Alive". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Red Surf". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 "IBDb-Detroit Roc City full cast & crew". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-The New Guy". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Wish You Were Dead". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-Detroit Metal City". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Gene Simmons To Appear In 'Extract' Film". Blabbermouth.net. May 3, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IBDb-The Mike Douglas Show". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-The Paul Lynde Halloween Special". Retrieved March 21, 2009. Check date values in:
- ↑ "IMDb-Miami Vice". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Action League Now!". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Planet MADtv - Episode #406 (Aired 1998-10-31)". Retrieved June 5, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Family Guy "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Family Guy "Road to Europe"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Who Wants To Be a Millionaire". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-King of the Hill". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Third Watch "Higher Calling"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Third Watch "Monsters"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Third Watch "More Monsters"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 "IMDb-American Idol". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Family Guy "Don't Make Me Over"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Mind of Mencia". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-The View". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Spongebob Squarepants". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Shrink Rap". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Jimmy Kimmel Live". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Rachael Ray". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Criss Angel Mindfreak". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Ugly Betty "The Kids Are Alright"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Ugly Betty "A Thousand Words by Friday"". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-The Celebrity Apprentice". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Gene Simmons to judge Burnett's 'Jingles'.". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ "IMDb-Jingles". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
- ↑ Tongue is cheeky / Kiss' Gene Simmons combines sex, showmanship in his men's magazine
- ↑ IDW Publishing
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