Kiss’ Gene Simmons on rock bands, aging and his humble beginnings

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And now you’re an international superstar. When did you did you realize that you were rich? I remember showing my mother the first big check. There were a lot of zeros. Maybe $10 million, I can’t remember. My mom never really went to school and I was like, “Mom, look!” She didn’t understand, even as long as she lived, what job I had or – more importantly – who was giving me this money. There are few jobs like this.

In the past, you’ve said that music is primarily a way to “get fucked and make a lot of money.” Do you stick to that? If you’re male, heterosexual, and young, that’s absolutely true. The reason young guys pick up guitars is because there are girls. There would be very few rock bands if there were no girls.

So it’s not art? The job? I don’t trust anyone who starts talking about “my job”. It’s bullshit. You cannot define what you do as art. Only people do. Just because you pick up your contraption in the middle of the highway and say it’s art doesn’t mean it is.

Property aside, what is the most expensive thing you own? Me.

What do you mean? I own myself 100%. And I’m very expensive!

Complete this sentence for me. Money can’t buy… Eternal life. Everything else he can buy. A well-meaning fool once said that money is the root of all evil. It’s wrong. Lack of money is the root of all evil.

BODY

You are 70 years old. How do you feel in your body? Brilliant, terrific. Again, it has to do with genes. I do five-mile hikes every other day; I am in good shape. In fact, the whole group is in great shape.

In 2007, you and your wife, Shannon Tweed, got a makeover. You know what? You are right. I forgot that. We did it on our TV show.

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Is this the only job you have done? Well, I enlarged my schmekel.

Is it true? No. This is my joke of the day.

I wouldn’t judge you if it were true. Why do I think you don’t know what a schmekel is? You are a pervert, so you must know it!

Listen, that’s absolutely right. Would you recommend doing a facelift to other people? No, I don’t recommend what I did to anyone. Just because I order something off the menu doesn’t mean you should. Order what makes you happy. Everyone’s journey should be a personal choice. Don’t look over your shoulder as you run the race of life. Do your best. Be true to yourself.

When were you ashamed of your body? I know my answers to these questions come out, like, “This guy’s got plenty.” But I don’t think I have that [shame] uncomfortable. After all, I get on a stage, work on my guitar, stick my tongue out and do all that stuff. Most people are reluctant to stand up and be judged by people. Look in the mirror and say, “Yeah, I’m special. Even if it’s crazy, it works. It’s easy to stand out. Why do this when the rest of the world is eager to do it for you? Be your own standard bearer.

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Kiss is on tour in Australia from November 14 to December 4.

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Virginia F. Goins