Co-founder of the famous hard-rock group, KISS, famous for outrageous antics and kabuki-like make-up.
Prior to forming KISS, Gene Simmons was an elementary school teacher.
Lived with Cher for several years.
Has lived with model/actress Shannon Tweed since 1986, but didn't marry until 2011. Simmons had previously said that while he respects the rights of those who choose to marry, it's not something he ever planned to do; specifically, he doesn't feel man by nature is meant to be in a monogamous relationship. "The only thing wrong with marriage is that one of the persons involved is a man," he often says.
Has a son, Nick Simmons (b. 1989), and a daughter, Sophie Simmons (b. 1992), with Shannon Tweed.
Edward Van Halen once begged Gene and Paul Stanley to let him join KISS, during a time when his band, Van Halen, was having problems. Van Halen played guitar in a session for KISS, and, according to Simmons, impressed them with his use of synthesizers. Simmons eventually told Van Halen that despite his feelings about working with David Lee Roth, he should stick things out since his musical abilities would never be fully recognized within KISS' style.
Was once in a band called "Bullfrog Beer". Other pre-KISS bands he was a member of included "Coffee", "the Long Island Sounds", and "Wicked Lester" (with Paul Stanley).
Once considered becoming a rabbi.
Designer of the axe shaped bass guitar.
There is a KISS tribute band in Seattle called Gene's Addiction.
Produced many acts in the 1980s, including Keel, Wendy O. Williams, "EZO" and "Black and Blue".
Discovered Van Halen in 1977 and produced the demo that got them signed to Warner Brothers Records. Unfortunately, Simmons had to release them from their contract when he couldn't convince anyone at WB of the band's potential. Bill Aucoin, then-manager of KISS, told Simmons he didn't think Van Halen would have any commercial success (Van Halen's debut self-titled album went platinum, and their famous 1984 album has sold more than 10 million copies and has been certified diamond).
Publisher of the magazine 'Tongue' since late 2001. Is currently working on a KISS brand of condoms, among other things. Most of his post-KISS career will be concentrated on producing feature films and creating new KISS merchandise.
Launches fashion label, "Gene Simmons - Dragonfly" [August 2002]
With KISS no longer occupying his time, Gene has a number of ventures he's turned to: resurrecting his record label, $immons Records, acting in and producing feature films, starting up his own Women of Wrestling league (with a W.O.W. magazine and clothing line to follow), creating his own radio talk show, and possibly even going on the lecture circuit.
Gave Elijah Allman (Cher's son) his first guitar at age 11.
Has never drank alcohol, used drugs or smoked
Once played in a band called Cathedral, several years before forming KISS. Among the names the band considered before settling on KISS in 1973 were Albatross, The Crimson Harpoon and F**k. Paul Stanley was the band member who suggested KISS.
Is the founder of Simmons Publishing, which publishes books and magazines.
When Simmons' came to America, his name was changed from Chaim Witz to Gene Klein. He later decided to use "Gene Simmons" for professional purposes.
He is the son of Hungarian Jewish parents, Flóra "Florence" (Klein or Kovács) and Feri Yechiel Witz. His mother, from Jánd, is a Holocaust survivor. In his book "Sex Money KISS", Simmons wrote that his grandmother willingly went into a gas chamber with his great-grandmother because she didn't want her mother to have to die alone. Simmons' mother is the only member of her entire family to survive the Holocaust. She managed to survive partly due to her skills as a hairdresser (a wife of one of the Nazi German officer liked how she did hair and had her kept around to be her hairstylist).
Even though his father left the family when Simmons was a child, once he became rich he felt an obligation to buy both of his parents homes and provide them with financially worry-free lifestyles.
He has one non-negotiable condition for anyone interested in signing with his record label Simmons Records: No Drugs.
Is "The Demon" in the hard rock band, KISS.
Once said he bought a ticket to one of his own shows, then walked in completely out of makeup and character, and took his seat. Nobody knew who he was.
His famous tongue has been measured at over 7 inches long.
Is one of the top fire-breathers in the world. The world record is a 27 feet flame. Gene can hit 15 feet.
Simmons, in terms of political views, describes himself as neither Democrat nor Republican, but voting based on the issues. While he supports a woman's right to abortion, the environment and church/state separation, he supported Bush in 2004 because he agreed with Bush's foreign policy stands.
Earned a Bachelor's degree in Education from Richmond College in Staten Island, New York.
Taught 6th grade at PS 75 in Spanish Harlem.
He has a business partner named Rich Abramson. Their company is known as Simmons Abramson Marketing.
Speaks Hungarian, Hebrew, High German, Japanese and, of course, English.
Was offered the role of Nick Hurley in Flashdance, but turned it down due to his agenda with KISS.
Before forming KISS, he played in bands called Cathedral, Bullfrog Beer, Coffee, The Long Island Sounds, and Wicked Lester. This last one had another future KISS member, Paul Stanley.
Prides himself on living his life like an open book. Said that when he gets into a relationship with a woman, one of the first things he does is show her his infamous book, which contains photos of the countless women he's been with. This is done so that a prospective girlfriend sees what he's about and so that there are no secrets from his side of the relationship.
In his autobiography Kiss and Makeup, said that his mother is primarily the reason why he has never used drugs. He decided years ago that she'd already been through enough having survived the horrors of the Holocaust, and he didn't want to break her heart by becoming a drug addict.
Good friends with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
Grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Lives in Beverly Hills, California.
KISS was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
A customized electric bass guitar - the "Gene Simmons Axe Bass" - was especially created for him by South Korean giant Cort. The body of the instrument is shaped like the head of an axe with the neck affecting the "handle".
According to the KISS band members on VH1's Behind the Music (1997), their garish costumes (created from various S&M sex gear) and make-up was born out of their mutual love of comic books and sci-fi/horror films. According to Gene, each member (Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss and himself) fashioned their stage characters from their own personalities. Gene loved horror films and chose "The Demon" as his persona. Paul Stanley always dreamed of being a stage star and became "Star-Child". Ace Frehley loved science fiction and chose the "Space Ace" persona. And Peter Criss' "Cat Man" character was a reference to his growing up in a rough neighborhood (He quipped "I had nine lives like a cat just make it out of there"). Gene says that Ace Frehley was the one who drew the KISS logo.
At the height of their popularity in the 70's, various right-wing Christian groups, who often demonized rock-n-roll as "the devil's music", claimed that "KISS" stood for "Knights In Satan's Service".
During an interview on William Shatner's Shatner's Raw Nerve (2008), Gene revealed how he and Paul Stanley came up with the name KISS. They knew they wanted a band name that was short, blunt, and stood out. For a while, they played with the notion of calling their band "Fuck" with the idea that each record album they made would have a title with a variation of the word (i.e.: Fuck You, Fuck Off, Fuck Me, Fuck Him, etc.) But, then, they realized they would never get signed to a record deal with that kind of a name, so Paul Stanley came up with "KISS" instead.
Brother-in-law of Tracy Tweed.
Found out after his father died in 2002 that he had 3 half sisters: Drora, Ogenia and Sharon; and one half brother Kobi.
Attended a Beverly Hills fundraiser for the Israeli Defense Forces. (6 November 2015).
Has his tongue insured for an undisclosed amount.
Born on the same date as John Savage.
He is a huge fan of the Rolling Stones, and has stated that Bill Wyman's bass line from their 1971 song 'Bitch' is a huge inspiration.