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Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz (Hebrew:חיים ויץ, pronounced:ˈxɑː.im) on August 25, 1949) is an Israeli-born Jewish American rock bassist, vocalist, and actor. He is best known as "The Demon", the blood-spitting, fire-breathing, and tongue-wagging bassist and one of the lead vocalists in the hard rock band Kiss, a group he co-founded in the early 1970s.

Early life and career Edit

Simmons was born in Haifa, Israel in 1949, and emigrated to New York City at the age of eight,[1] with his mother Florence Klein, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant. Florence and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only two members of her family to survive the Holocaust. His 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.[2]

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 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.

Personal life Edit

Simmons, who has never been married, currently lives in Beverly Hills, California with longtime partner and former Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed. They have two children: a son, Nick Tweed-Simmons (born January 22, 1989), and a daughter, Sophie Simmons (born 7 July 1992). He formerly has had live-in relationships with Cher and Diana Ross.[1]

Simmons speaks four languages – English, Hungarian, Hebrew, and German – and is currently learning Japanese and Mandarin.[1]

Politics Edit

While a self-described liberal on social policy issues,[3] Simmons has also described himself as a supporter of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.[4] 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".[5] 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".[5]

During the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, 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".[6]

Controversies Edit

  • 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 more than a thousand 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 appears in print in Gross's book All I Did Was Ask (ISBN 1401300103), and some unauthorized transcripts are also available.[7] A part of the interview was re-broadcast on Fresh Air on Aug 31, 2007.[8]
  • In a later Fresh Air interview, satirist and future United States Senator Al Franken related to Terry Gross his own encounter with Gene Simmons. According to Franken, he was awaiting a racquetball partner at a club when Simmons, whom Franken had not recognized, challenged him to a match, stating "I'll kick your ass", only to suffer an embarrassing loss to Franken. Simmons responded by calling for another match, and when Franken indicated that since his racquetball partner had arrived, he couldn't play Simmons again, Simmons responded by making loud "boc, boc, boc" chicken sounds. Franken then offered to play Simmons with $500 at stake, at which point Simmons walked away.[9] Franken told Gross not to blame herself for her experience with Simmons, and that Simmons' behavior at the racquetball club made him "the most awful person I've ever met."
  • 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 they 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.[10] He 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.[11] The suit was settled as of June 29, 2006.[12]
  • In June 2008, in an interview with AOL News, Simmons blamed those who upload and download copyrighted music for the hard times that the music industry is experiencing. Simmons was quoted as saying: "The record industry is dead. It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this. They've decided to download and file share. There is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilized. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material." This is not the first time that Simmons has blamed those who upload and download copyrighted music for the falling fortunes of the music industry. In a November 2007 interview, he is quoted as saying that "Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth."[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • Simmons debated Bob Lefsetz in a heated exchange at Canadian Music Week in March 2009 about Simmons Records and the music industry generally. Both men had engaged in a controversial e-mail campaign against each other shortly before the debate.[15][16]
  • In July 2009, Simmons made controversial remarks about Michael Jackson following the pop icon's passing the previous month that the children who accused him of molestation should be heard as well. The Kiss frontman also referred to Jackson as "sick"[4].
  • Simmons also contends that he has "never been high, drunk, or smoked in [his] life".[17] (However, in Kiss: Behind the Mask, former Kiss drummer Peter Criss states, "It was dirty of us, but we just wanted to get Gene high [...] Someone made hash brownies [...] And he ate 'em."[18] Simmons also refers to this incident (although he does not explicitly mention that the brownies contained marijuana) in his biography, KISS and Make-up.[19])

Film and television work Edit

Simmons has been the creative force behind such television projects such 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 children trained in classical music in the first season, and in the second, a group of kids from a comprehensive school in Lowestoft.
  • Gene Simmons Family Jewels,[20] a reality show documenting the personal lives of Simmons and his family.

Film appearances Edit

Year Film Role Bandmates Miscellaneous
1978 Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park

[21]

The Demon Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley TV movie
1984 Runaway

[22]

Dr. Charles Luther
1986 Trick or Treat

[23]

Nuke (radio DJ) Ozzy Osbourne also appeared
1986 Never Too Young to Die

[24]

Carruthers / Velvet Von Ragner
1987 Wanted: Dead or Alive

[25]

Malak Al Rahim
1988 The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

[26]

Himself Paul Stanley Documentary
1989 Red Surf

[27]

Doc
1999 Detroit Rock City

[28]

Himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley Simmons also produced[28]
2002 The New Guy

[29]

Reverend
2002 Wish You Were Dead

[30]

Vinny
2008 Detroit Metal City

[31]

Jack ill Dark Japanese movie
2009 Extract

[32]

Joe Adler

Selected television guest appearances Edit

Year Show Episode Role Bandmates Miscellaneous
1974 The Mike Douglas Show

[33]

June 11, 1974 Himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley Kiss' first national television appearance, performed "Firehouse"
1976 The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

[34]

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

[35]

"Prodigal Son" Newton Blade
1997 Action League Now!

[36]

"Rock-A-Big-Baby" Toy version of himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley Performed "Rock and Roll All Nite"
1998 MADtv

[37]

October 31, 1998 (#406) Himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley. Halloween special; performed in five sketches
2001 Family Guy

[38]

"A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" Animated version of himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley
2002 Family Guy

[39]

"Road to Europe" Animated version of himself Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley
2001 Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

[40]

May 27, 2001 Himself Won $32,000
2002 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

[41]

September 6, 2002 Himself
2003 King of the Hill

[42]

"Reborn to Be Wild" Jessie
2004 Third Watch

[43]

"Higher Calling" Donald Mann
2004 Third Watch

[44]

"Monsters" Donald Mann
2004 Third Watch

[45]

"More Monsters" Donald Mann
2005 American Idol

[46]

"Auditions: New Orleans" Himself- guest judge
2005 Family Guy

[47]

"Don't Make Me Over" Animated version of himself/ Prisoner #3
2005 Mind of Mencia

[48]

Episode #1.7 Himself
2006 The View

[49]

August 1, 2006 Himself
2007 SpongeBob SquarePants

[50]

"The Battle of Bikini Bottom" Sea Monster
2007 Shrink Rap

[51]

"Gene Simmons" Himself UK's More4 show
2008 Entertainment Tonight

[52]

January 2, 2008 Himself
2008 Jimmy Kimmel Live

[53]

January 18, 2008 Himself
2008 Rachael Ray

[54]

March 11, 2008 Himself
2008 Criss Angel Mindfreak

[55]

"Mindfreaking with the Stars" Himself
2008 Ugly Betty

[56]

"The Kids Are Alright" Himself
2008 Ugly Betty

[57]

"A Thousand Words by Friday" Himself
2008 Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

[58]

Episode #3.9 Himself Won $500,000 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation charity
2008 The Celebrity Apprentice

[59]

First three episodes Himself Fired in the third episode
2008 Jingles

[60][61]

Celebrity judge Mark Burnett reality show
2009 American Idol

[46]

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

Video appearances Edit

In 2007, he appeared alongside other celebrities, as well as regular people, in the music video for "Rockstar" by Nickelback.

Video game appearancesEdit

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.

DiscographyEdit

KissEdit

See: Kiss discography on Wikipedia.

SoloEdit

  • Gene Simmons (1978)
  • Sex Money Kiss (audiobook CD), 2003)
  • Asshole (2004)
  • Speaking in Tongues (spoken word CD, 2004)
  • Naji (TBA)
  • Alter Ego (150 demo box) (TBA)[62]

PublishingEdit

In 2002, Simmons launched Gene Simmons' Tongue, a men's lifestyle magazine.[63] The magazine lasted five issues before being discontinued.[64]

Further reading Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 GeneSimmons.com -Biography
  2. Lollar, Michael (June 14, 2009). "Tongues were wagging as KISS star Gene Simmons visited Memphis". Memphis Commercial Appeal. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/jun/14/kiss-star-gets-ducky-during-02/. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  3. GeneSimmons.com - News
  4. GeneSimmons.com - News
  5. 5.0 5.1 GeneSimmons.com - News
  6. "Gene Simmons hails Israeli soldier". Associated Press. 2006-08-26. http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/12175973. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  7. See [1] for an MP3 recording of the Simmons interview.
  8. The Unpredictable Gene Simmons : NPR
  9. Fresh Air, April 30, 2002
  10. "Outrage as KISS player mouths off on Muslims". Sydney Morning Herald, 2004-05-14
  11. Law.com - KISS Singer's Motion to Dismiss Defamation Suit Denied
  12. "Kiss's Gene Simmons Settles Defamation Suit by Ex-Girlfriend". FOXNews.com
  13. "Radiohead Blasted By Veteran Rockers KISS For Giving Their Music Away For Free". AOL.co.au, June 2008]
  14. "KISS and Tell: Simmons Sex Tape Goes Viral". The Age (Australia), 2008-02-22.
  15. Video of Lefsetz in-discussion with Gene Simmons at Canadian Music Week, March 2009 [2]
  16. "Gene Simmons Responds": Bob Lefsetz's original blog entry with commentary by Gene Simmons [3]
  17. "Gene Simmons Shows His Parenting Skills in New Series". 6 ABC Action News. Associated Press. July 14, 2006. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/entertainment&id=4365161. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  18. Leaf and Sharp, Kiss: Behind the Mask, p. 189.
  19. Simmons, Kiss and Make-up, p. 110.
  20. A&E's Gene Simmons Family Jewels website
  21. "IMDb-KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077788/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  22. "IMDb-Runaway". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088024/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  23. "IBDb-Trick or Treat". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092112/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  24. "IBDb-Never Too Young to Die". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091621/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  25. "IBDb-Wanted: Dead or Alive". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094293/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  26. "IBDb-The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094980/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  27. "IMDb-Red Surf". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100468/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "IBDb-Detroit Roc City full cast & crew". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165710/fullcredits#cast. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  29. "IMDb-The New Guy". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241760/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  30. "IMDb-Wish You Were Dead". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209486/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  31. "IBDb-Detroit Metal City". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142972/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  32. "Gene Simmons To Appear In 'Extract' Film". Blabbermouth.net. May 3, 2009. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/BLABBERMOUTH.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=119334. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  33. "IBDb-The Mike Douglas Show". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0648001/fullcredits#cast. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  34. "IMDb-The Paul Lynde Halloween Special". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gene_Simmons&action=edit&section=7. Retrieved March 21, 2009. |
  35. "IMDb-Miami Vice". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0647107/fullcredits#cast. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  36. "IMDb-Action League Now!". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118551/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  37. "Planet MADtv - Episode #406 (Aired 1998-10-31)". http://www.planetmadtv.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2129#1. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  38. "IMDb-Family Guy "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0576913/fullcredits#cast. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  39. "IMDb-Family Guy "Road to Europe"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0576961/fullcredits#cast. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  40. "IMDb-Who Wants To Be a Millionaire". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0747670/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  41. "IMDb-The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0728586/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  42. "IMDb-King of the Hill". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0620295/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  43. "IMDb-Third Watch "Higher Calling"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0720918/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  44. "IMDb-Third Watch "Monsters"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0720945/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  45. "IMDb-Third Watch "More Monsters"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0720946/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  46. 46.0 46.1 "IMDb-American Idol". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0511871/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  47. "IMDb-Family Guy "Don't Make Me Over"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0576930/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  48. "IMDb-Mind of Mencia". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0648586/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  49. "IMDb-The View". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0827478/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  50. "IMDb-Spongebob Squarepants". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1169729/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  51. "IMDb-Shrink Rap". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1226558/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  52. "IMDb-Entertainment Tonight". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1164248/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  53. "IMDb-Jimmy Kimmel Live". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1174334/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  54. "IMDb-Rachael Ray". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1249946/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  55. "IMDb-Criss Angel Mindfreak". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1385084/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  56. "IMDb-Ugly Betty "The Kids Are Alright"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1002936/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  57. "IMDb-Ugly Betty "A Thousand Words by Friday"". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1002932/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  58. "IMDb-Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1248394/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  59. "IMDb-The Celebrity Apprentice". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1144531/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  60. "Gene Simmons to judge Burnett's 'Jingles'.". http://www.thrfeed.com/2008/07/gene-simmons-ji.html. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  61. "IMDb-Jingles". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1124347/. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  62. "Release Date Set For Gene Simmons’ Solo Box Set". http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/release-date-set-for-gene-simmons-solo-box-set/. Retrieved March 6, 2009. 
  63. Tongue is cheeky / Kiss' Gene Simmons combines sex, showmanship in his men's magazine
  64. IDW Publishing

External links Edit

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Gene Simmons. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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