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Eugene Chaim Witz

Hebrew: ג'ין יוג'ין חיים קליין סימונס
Also Known As: "Gene Simmons"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Ferenc Yechiel Witz and Florence Klein
Husband of Shannon Tweed
Father of Private; Nick Simmons and Sophie Simmons
Half brother of Private; Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Rock Musician
Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz; Hebrew: חיים ויץ‎; August 25, 1949) is an Israeli-Hungarian rock bass guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and actor. Known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bass guitarist/co-lead vocalist of Kiss, a rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s. With Kiss, Simmons has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Contents [show] Biography[edit] Early life[edit] Chaim Witz was born at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, in 1949. With his mother, he emigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens, in New York City, at the age of eight years, speaking no English.[1] His mother Flóra "Florence" Klein (formerly Kovács) was born in Jánd, Hungary. The name Klein, which means "small" in German, is sometimes used informally in Hungarian as Kis; this, however, did not give the band its name.[2] Simmons mother Florence survived internment in Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Simmons's father, Feri Witz, also Hungarian-born, remained in Israel, where he had one other son and three daughters, and worked as a carpenter. Simmons says the family was "dirt poor", scraping by on bread and milk.[3] In the United States, Simmons changed his name to Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), adopting his mother's maiden name. He was a part of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a child, from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm.[citation needed]

Before his musical career began, Simmons worked a variety of jobs in the New York City area. An "excellent typist", he served as an assistant to an editor of the fashion magazine Vogue, and also spent several months as a sixth-grade instructor on the Upper West Side.[4]

A significant influence on Simmons was The Beatles. "There is no way I'd be doing what I do now if it wasn't for the Beatles. I was watching 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and I saw them. Those skinny little boys, kind of androgynous, with long hair like girls. It blew me away that these four boys [from] the middle of nowhere could make that music."[5]

Kiss[edit]

Gene Simmons as "The Demon" onstage with Kiss, 2010 Simmons became involved with his first band, Lynx, then renamed The Missing Links, when he was a teenager. Eventually, he disbanded the band to form The Long Island Sounds, the name being a pun on the Long Island Sound. While he played in these bands, he kept up odd jobs on the side to make more money, including 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 Criscuola, 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 their self-titled debut album in February 1974. Stanley took on the role of lead performer on stage, while Simmons became the driving force behind what became an extensive Kiss merchandising franchise. The eye section of his "Demon" makeup with KISS came from the wing design of comic book character Black Bolt.[6]

In 1983, while Kiss' fame was waning, the members took off their trademark make-up and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity that continued into the 1990s. At this time, Peter Criss, the original drummer, had decided to leave the band, and a replacement was sought to fill the drummer's vacancy. The new drummer was Paul Charles Caravello, who went by the stage name of Eric Carr, and played for KISS from 1980 until his early death at the age of 41 in 1991. The band hosted its own fan conventions in 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. 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 through 1996) replacing Peter Criss on drums.

Stage makeup and persona[edit] During an interview in 1999, Simmons was asked about the source and significance of Kiss' stage makeup and personas:

I've always been a fan of Americana, and Americana has always been about imagery, often above content. I think there's nothing wrong with that. The world worships this culture. Most people only think about America in terms of rock & roll, movies and television. Kiss is very all-American, in the sense that our constituency has never had anything in common with critics... because our power, our lifeblood, our very reason for existence is our fans. Without them, we'd be nothing.

Political views[edit] Simmons was a supporter of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.[7] 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".[8] 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."[8]

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."[9]

In 2010, Simmons said he regretted voting for Barack Obama and criticized the 2009 health care reforms.[10] Following Obama's 2011 Mideast speech, in which the President called on Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a settlement "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps,"[11] Simmons told CNBC that Obama was gravely misguided. "If you have never been to the moon, you can't issue policy about the moon. For the president to be sitting in Washington D.C. and saying, 'Go back to your '67 borders in Israel' – how about you live there and try to defend an indefensible border – nine miles (14 km) wide?" Simmons also accused the United Nations of being "the most pathetic body on the face of the earth."[12]

During his visit to Israel in 2011, he stated that the artists refusing to perform in Israel for political reasons are "stupid," referring to artists who canceled planned concerts in Israel.[13]

In an April 2012 interview, Simmons endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for President, stating as well that "America should be in business and it should be run by a businessman."[14]

Personal life[edit]

Gene Simmons fire breathing. Simmons is a science-fiction and comic book fan and published several science fiction fanzines, among them Id, Cosmos (which eventually merged with Stilletto to become Cosmos-Stilletto and then Faun), Tinderbox, Sci-Fi Showcase, Mantis and Adventure. He also contributed to other fanzines, among them BeABohema and Sirruish.[15]

Simmons lives in Los Angeles, California, with Canadian former Playboy Playmate and actress Shannon Tweed whom he had dated for 28 years.[16] He often joked that he and Tweed were "happily unmarried" for over 20 years (1975). He often stated, "Marriage is an institution, and I don't want to live in an institution." Simmons and Tweed finally wed on October 1, 2011, at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.[16][17][18] They have two children: a son, Nick (born January 22, 1989), and a daughter, Sophie (born July 7, 1992). He formerly had live-in relationships with Cher and Diana Ross.[1] Simmons can speak Hungarian, German, English, and Hebrew.[1]

Homecoming visit to Israel[edit] In March 2011, Simmons visited his birthplace, Israel. He described the trip as a "life changing experience". He talked about how he still feels that he is an Israeli: "I'm Israeli. I'm a stranger in America. I'm an outsider".[19] While there, Gene met his half-brother Kobi, and triplet half-sisters Drora, Sharon, and Ogenia.[20] Simmons has plans to take his band KISS to Israel. He has always said that he is an ardent supporter of Israel.[21] At a press conference in Israel, he spoke both Hebrew and English.[22]

Philanthropy[edit] Gene Simmons is a known advocate for ChildFund International's work. He traveled to Zambia during his "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" show to visit several of his sponsored children, of whom he has more than 140.[23] Gene said, “is a stark reminder that life doesn’t treat everyone the same.” [24]

Gene Simmons family received the MEND Humanitarian Award for their philanthropic efforts and support for Mending Kids International on the organization's annual gala on November 9, 2013. The award was presented by Mel Gibson.[25] In his acceptance speech, Gene spoke of his own difficult childhood in Israel in a bullet-ridden house. He recalled his mother's excitement when they received a CARE box one day; it wasn't about the contents, it was about knowing that someone cared and that they weren't alone – it gave them hope.[26]

Controversy[edit] In February 2002, Simmons was interviewed on the NPR radio show Fresh Air and asked about his claim of having had sex with 4,600 women. He told Terry Gross: "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 a lyric from The Who's 1981 hit song "You Better You Bet". Gross replied: "That's a really obnoxious thing to say." At the time, Simmons refused to grant permission to NPR to make the interview available online.[27] However, it appears in print in Gross's book All I Did Was Ask (ISBN 1-4013-0010-3) and unauthorized transcripts are available. NPR re-broadcast part of the interview in August 2007.[28] In a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post, Simmons noted he was upset over what he perceived as Gross's "holier-than-thou" attitude, which included mislabeling his band Kiss as "The Kiss" [29]Simmons' bandmate Paul Stanley has frequently used the phrase "... welcomed us with open arms and open legs" in onstage patter during Kiss concerts. In 2004, during an interview in Melbourne, Australia, while talking about Islamic extremists, Simmons described Islam as a "vile culture", saying that Muslim women had to walk behind their husbands, were not allowed to be educated or to own houses. He said: "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil." Amongst ensuing criticism, Australian Muslim of the Year Susan Carland argued that Simmons' stereotyping of Muslims was inaccurate.[30] Simmons later clarified his comments on his website, saying he had been talking specifically about Muslim extremists. In 2005, Simmons was sued by a former girlfriend, Georgeann Walsh Ward, who said she had been "defamed" in the VH1 documentary When Kiss Ruled the World and portrayed as an "unchaste woman".[31] A settlement was reached in June 2006.[32] In 2007, Simmons openly spoke out against music piracy, and called for file-sharers to be sued.[33] A year later, he threatened further lawsuits, and to withhold new recordings, if file-sharing continued.[34] In 2010, Anonymous staged a DDoS on his Web site, prompting Simmons to hit back with provocative comments once he was back online, at which point Anonymous staged a second DDoS, taking Simmons' site down again. In August 2014, Simmons made comments in an interview with Songfacts.com that seemed to openly encourage people with depression to kill themselves. The comments drew criticism from Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue.[35] Following his comments both Triple M and Power 97 stated that they were pulling all Kiss songs from their lineup in protest.[36] Simmons later clarified his comments and apologized for the incident.[35][37] Instruments[edit] Gene Simmons has used various bass guitars during his career including:

Axe Bass (Kramer, Jackson, B.C. Rich and now Cort) Punisher Bass (B.C.Rich, now made by Cort) Spector Gene Simmons Signature Pedulla Basses (mainly in the 1980s and early 1990s) Gibson Grabber (mainly in Kiss' early years) Gibson Ripper (mainly in Kiss' early years) Gibson Thunderbird (seen used in 1977 Largo,MD concert video) Custom Lobue bass (Wicked Lester, very early Kiss circa 73–78) Carvin Acoustic Bass Cort Guitars Signature GS-1 Bass He uses Ampeg SVT CL Series amplifiers with 8x10" cabinets. He uses Silver Herco Flex .75 Nylon Flat Guitar Picks. He uses D'Addario EXL165 Nickel Wound Custom Light .45-.105 Long Scale Bass Strings and Dunlop Electric Bass Guitar Stainless Steel Heavy .050 -.110 strings. In 2010 Gene Simmons collaborated with Cort Guitars to make his own signature bass line called the GS-AXE-2. John Elder Robinson (brother of author Augusten Burroughs) is the original designer of the bands effects-enhanced instruments.

Film and television career[edit] Simmons has been involved with such television projects as:

My Dad the Rock Star,[16] 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 UK 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,[38] a reality show documenting the personal lives of Simmons, his wife, his son and daughter. On March 9, 2011, 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.[39] Simmons appeared as a psychic working at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice, California on the American hidden camera prank TV series I Get That a Lot.[40] He also guest-starred as himself in the 2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode Long Road Home. He also performed in the 1984 Michael Crichton movie Runaway starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes and Kirstie Alley.

Awards and recognition[edit] On January 28, 2011, Simmons was in Dallas, Texas, to host the Aces & Angels Salute to the Troops charity event. While in Dallas, Simmons was presented the key to the city in Dallas, Texas and a street, Gene Simmons Boulevard, was named for him. Simmons and Tweed also visited Ft. Hood to support the Troops as a part of the Aces & Angels event. On June 15 of the same year he was given the key to the city in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2012, Simmons was awarded the Golden God award by the Revolver magazine.[41] On October 30, 2013 during the KISS KRUISE 3, KISS Navy members John and Jamie Downs presented Gene Simmons with a plaque commemorating the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's acceptance of an autographed Gene Simmons Axe bass into their collection. The Smithsonian Museum's statement reads, in part: "The bass will now be cared for in our permanent collections... We are happy to include the Axe bass as it relates to the impact Mr. Simmons and his band KISS have had on American culture, especially in the creation of a unique and iconic brand that has been embraced by fans worldwide." "The story of Mr. Simmons' American experience deserves to be preserved. An immigrant and son of a holocaust survivor, he used creative vision and entrepreneurial acumen to make a significant impact for our nation's popular culture, becoming an iconic figure in American music and entertainment." [42]

Simmons is an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock, an national nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels visited a Little Kids Rock classroom and featured the segment on the show. He also decorated a guitar for auction with his son Nick.[43]

About Gene Simmons (עברית)

ג'ין סימונס

''''''(באנגלית: Gene Simmons; נולד בשם חיים ויץ; ב-25 באוגוסט 1949 בישראל) הוא מוזיקאי ואישיות טלוויזיונית אמריקאי-ישראלי-יהודי. הוא מוכר בעיקר כבאסיסט וכאחד הזמרים של להקת ההארד רוק "Kiss" אותה הקים בשנות השבעים.

תוכן עניינים 1 ביוגרפיה 2 קריירה 3 חיים אישיים 3.1 יחסו לישראל 4 ראו גם 5 קישורים חיצוניים 6 הערות שוליים ביוגרפיה חיים ויץ נולד בטירת כרמל, ישראל. הוריו עלו לארץ כניצולי שואה מהונגריה. אימו פלורה "פלורנס" קליין (אחיה לארי קליין והיא היו הניצולים היחידים מקרב משפחתה לאחר השואה) ואביו יחיאל "פרי" ויץ, נגר במקצועו. כאשר היה בן שמונה אמו עברה עמו לניו יורק. אביו לא התלווה אליהם לארצות הברית. בארצות הברית אמו של סימונס נאלצה לעבוד בשני מקומות עבודה על מנת לפרנס את המשפחה. לאחר שעבר לארצות הברית שינה את שמו ליוג'ין קליין (ומאוחר יותר לג'ין קליין), ובכך אימץ את שם נעוריה של אימו.

קריירה הלהקה הראשונה בה סימונס היה חבר עוד בנעוריו הייתה Lynx (בהמשך שונה שמה ל-The Missing Links). ומאוחר יותר הקים את הלהקה "The Long Island Sounds". בתקופה בה ניגן סימונס בלהקות הללו הוא עבד בעבודות מזדמנות על מנת להתקיים, בהן יצירת פנזינים ומכירת ספרי קומיקס משומשים. בהמשך סימונס למד במכללת "Sullivan County Community College" בניו יורק. לאחר מכן הוא הצטרף ללהקה חדשה בשם "Bullfrog Bheer".

סימונס, 2010 מוציא לשון. מחווה זו היא אחת המזוהות ביותר עם המוזיקאי. בתחילת שנות השבעים סימונס הקים את להקת הרוק Wicked Lester יחד עם סטנלי הארווי אייסן (כיום ידוע בשם פול סטנלי) והקליט עמו אלבום אשר מעולם לא יצא לשווקים משום שסימונס לא היה שבע רצון מהצליל והמראה של הלהקה. סימונס וסטנלי החליטו לעזוב את הלהקה תוך ויתור על חוזה עם חברת התקליטים Epic Records. הם החליטו להקים את להקת הרוק האולטימטיבית ובעקבות כך החלו לחפש מתופף ללהקה. סימונס וסטנלי מצאו מודעה אותה פרסם פיטר כריס, אשר ניגן במועדונים בברוקלין באותה העת. הם הצטרפו אליו והופיעו בתחילה כשלישייה. פול פרשלי הצטרף אל הלהקה לאחר שפגשו אותו בעקבות מודעה אותה פירסמו בה הם ציינו שהם מחפשים גיטריסט ללהקה. בשנת 1974 פרסמה להקת קיס את אלבום הבכורה שלה.

בשנת 1983, עקב ירידה בפופולריות, החליטו חברי הלהקה להופיע ללא האיפור אשר הפך לסימן המסחרי של הלהקה, ובעקבות כך הלהקה זכתה לתחייה מחודשת שנמשכה לתוך שנות התשעים. חברי הלהקה החליטו לצאת למופע עולמי אשר נמשך במהלך השנים 1996 - 1997. בשנת 1998, הלהקה הוציאה לשווקים את האלבום "Psycho Circus", האלבום הראשון שלה מזה 20 שנים אשר נוצר על ידי חברי ההרכב המקורי של הלהקה. מאז, ההרכב התחלף, כאשר טומי תאייר החליף את אייס פרשלי כנגן הגיטרה ואריק זינגר (אשר ניגן בלהקה בין השנים 1992 עד 1996) החליף את פיטר כריס על התופים.

ב-2009 התארח בסרט "משאלוגיה" מתוך הסדרה "קסם של הורים" שהופק על ידי בוץ' הארטמן. באותה שנה שיחק בסרט הקומי "המתיחה" בתפקיד העורך דין ג'ו אדלר.

חיים אישיים סימונס, חי בבוורלי הילס שבקליפורניה. באוקטובר 2011 התחתן עם כוכבת מגזין פלייבוי לשעבר שאנון טוויד, לאחר זוגיות שנמשכה 28 שנים. לזוג יש שני ילדים.

סימונס דובר ארבע שפות - אנגלית, הונגרית, עברית וגרמנית.

יחסו לישראל לסימונס משפחה בישראל, אח למחצה ושלישיית אחיות למחצה איתם חידש את הקשר בביקור בישראל (מולדתו) במרץ 2011, במסגרת הסדרה הדוקומנטרית המצולמת בערוץ דיסקברי והסוקרת את חייו וחיי משפחתו. סימונס סיפר "אני ישראלי. אני מרגיש זר באמריקה. אני אאוטסיידר". במהלך ביקורו נאם באנגלית וגם בעברית,[1] ובנוסף זכה לפרס יקיר העיר חיפה.

סימונס פיתח קשר קרוב עם חייל צה"ל שנפצע במלחמת לבנון השנייה ונותר רתוק לכיסא גלגלים, רון ויינרייך (בוגר "כוכב נולד") שגם הוא אזרח אמריקאי, ואף הקליט עבורו קליפ וידאו בו הוא מופיע במסגרת להקתו של רון ויינרייך. לפני כן שלח הודעת תמיכה בטלוויזיה בעברית ובאנגלית בו קרא לו "גיבור אמיתי".[2]

ב-2011 סימונס התראיין עבור ערוץ החדשות האמריקאי CNBC, והביע תמיכה במדיניות ראש ממשלת ישראל בנימין נתניהו על הצורך בשמירת שטחים, כגון רמת הגולן בשליטתה של ישראל. סימונס יצא גם נגד קריאתו של נשיא ארצות הברית ברק אובמה לחזור לגבולות 1967.

ראו גם אבא שלי כוכב רוק קישורים חיצוניים מיזמי קרן ויקימדיה ויקישיתוף תמונות ומדיה בוויקישיתוף: ג'ין סימונס Green globe.svg אתר האינטרנט הרשמי

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Simmons

Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz; Hebrew: חיים ויץ‎; August 25, 1949) is an Israeli-Hungarian rock bass guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and actor. Known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bass guitarist/co-lead vocalist of Kiss, a rock band he co-founded in the early 1970s. With Kiss, Simmons has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Contents [show] Biography[edit] Early life[edit] Chaim Witz was born at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, in 1949. With his mother, he emigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens, in New York City, at the age of eight years, speaking no English.[1] His mother Flóra "Florence" Klein (formerly Kovács) was born in Jánd, Hungary. The name Klein, which means "small" in German, is sometimes used informally in Hungarian as Kis; this, however, did not give the band its name.[2] Simmons mother Florence survived internment in Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Simmons's father, Feri Witz, also Hungarian-born, remained in Israel, where he had one other son and three daughters, and worked as a carpenter. Simmons says the family was "dirt poor", scraping by on bread and milk.[3] In the United States, Simmons changed his name to Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), adopting his mother's maiden name. He was a part of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a child, from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm.[citation needed]

Before his musical career began, Simmons worked a variety of jobs in the New York City area. An "excellent typist", he served as an assistant to an editor of the fashion magazine Vogue, and also spent several months as a sixth-grade instructor on the Upper West Side.[4]

A significant influence on Simmons was The Beatles. "There is no way I'd be doing what I do now if it wasn't for the Beatles. I was watching 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and I saw them. Those skinny little boys, kind of androgynous, with long hair like girls. It blew me away that these four boys [from] the middle of nowhere could make that music."[5]

Kiss[edit]

Gene Simmons as "The Demon" onstage with Kiss, 2010 Simmons became involved with his first band, Lynx, then renamed The Missing Links, when he was a teenager. Eventually, he disbanded the band to form The Long Island Sounds, the name being a pun on the Long Island Sound. While he played in these bands, he kept up odd jobs on the side to make more money, including 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 Criscuola, 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 their self-titled debut album in February 1974. Stanley took on the role of lead performer on stage, while Simmons became the driving force behind what became an extensive Kiss merchandising franchise. The eye section of his "Demon" makeup with KISS came from the wing design of comic book character Black Bolt.[6]

In 1983, while Kiss' fame was waning, the members took off their trademark make-up and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity that continued into the 1990s. At this time, Peter Criss, the original drummer, had decided to leave the band, and a replacement was sought to fill the drummer's vacancy. The new drummer was Paul Charles Caravello, who went by the stage name of Eric Carr, and played for KISS from 1980 until his early death at the age of 41 in 1991. The band hosted its own fan conventions in 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. 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 through 1996) replacing Peter Criss on drums.

Stage makeup and persona[edit] During an interview in 1999, Simmons was asked about the source and significance of Kiss' stage makeup and personas:

I've always been a fan of Americana, and Americana has always been about imagery, often above content. I think there's nothing wrong with that. The world worships this culture. Most people only think about America in terms of rock & roll, movies and television. Kiss is very all-American, in the sense that our constituency has never had anything in common with critics... because our power, our lifeblood, our very reason for existence is our fans. Without them, we'd be nothing.

Political views[edit] Simmons was a supporter of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration.[7] 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".[8] 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."[8]

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."[9]

In 2010, Simmons said he regretted voting for Barack Obama and criticized the 2009 health care reforms.[10] Following Obama's 2011 Mideast speech, in which the President called on Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a settlement "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps,"[11] Simmons told CNBC that Obama was gravely misguided. "If you have never been to the moon, you can't issue policy about the moon. For the president to be sitting in Washington D.C. and saying, 'Go back to your '67 borders in Israel' – how about you live there and try to defend an indefensible border – nine miles (14 km) wide?" Simmons also accused the United Nations of being "the most pathetic body on the face of the earth."[12]

During his visit to Israel in 2011, he stated that the artists refusing to perform in Israel for political reasons are "stupid," referring to artists who canceled planned concerts in Israel.[13]

In an April 2012 interview, Simmons endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for President, stating as well that "America should be in business and it should be run by a businessman."[14]

Personal life[edit]

Gene Simmons fire breathing. Simmons is a science-fiction and comic book fan and published several science fiction fanzines, among them Id, Cosmos (which eventually merged with Stilletto to become Cosmos-Stilletto and then Faun), Tinderbox, Sci-Fi Showcase, Mantis and Adventure. He also contributed to other fanzines, among them BeABohema and Sirruish.[15]

Simmons lives in Los Angeles, California, with Canadian former Playboy Playmate and actress Shannon Tweed whom he had dated for 28 years.[16] He often joked that he and Tweed were "happily unmarried" for over 20 years (1975). He often stated, "Marriage is an institution, and I don't want to live in an institution." Simmons and Tweed finally wed on October 1, 2011, at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.[16][17][18] They have two children: a son, Nick (born January 22, 1989), and a daughter, Sophie (born July 7, 1992). He formerly had live-in relationships with Cher and Diana Ross.[1] Simmons can speak Hungarian, German, English, and Hebrew.[1]

Homecoming visit to Israel[edit] In March 2011, Simmons visited his birthplace, Israel. He described the trip as a "life changing experience". He talked about how he still feels that he is an Israeli: "I'm Israeli. I'm a stranger in America. I'm an outsider".[19] While there, Gene met his half-brother Kobi, and triplet half-sisters Drora, Sharon, and Ogenia.[20] Simmons has plans to take his band KISS to Israel. He has always said that he is an ardent supporter of Israel.[21] At a press conference in Israel, he spoke both Hebrew and English.[22]

Philanthropy[edit] Gene Simmons is a known advocate for ChildFund International's work. He traveled to Zambia during his "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" show to visit several of his sponsored children, of whom he has more than 140.[23] Gene said, “is a stark reminder that life doesn’t treat everyone the same.” [24]

Gene Simmons family received the MEND Humanitarian Award for their philanthropic efforts and support for Mending Kids International on the organization's annual gala on November 9, 2013. The award was presented by Mel Gibson.[25] In his acceptance speech, Gene spoke of his own difficult childhood in Israel in a bullet-ridden house. He recalled his mother's excitement when they received a CARE box one day; it wasn't about the contents, it was about knowing that someone cared and that they weren't alone – it gave them hope.[26]

Controversy[edit] In February 2002, Simmons was interviewed on the NPR radio show Fresh Air and asked about his claim of having had sex with 4,600 women. He told Terry Gross: "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 a lyric from The Who's 1981 hit song "You Better You Bet". Gross replied: "That's a really obnoxious thing to say." At the time, Simmons refused to grant permission to NPR to make the interview available online.[27] However, it appears in print in Gross's book All I Did Was Ask (ISBN 1-4013-0010-3) and unauthorized transcripts are available. NPR re-broadcast part of the interview in August 2007.[28] In a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post, Simmons noted he was upset over what he perceived as Gross's "holier-than-thou" attitude, which included mislabeling his band Kiss as "The Kiss" [29]Simmons' bandmate Paul Stanley has frequently used the phrase "... welcomed us with open arms and open legs" in onstage patter during Kiss concerts. In 2004, during an interview in Melbourne, Australia, while talking about Islamic extremists, Simmons described Islam as a "vile culture", saying that Muslim women had to walk behind their husbands, were not allowed to be educated or to own houses. He said: "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil." Amongst ensuing criticism, Australian Muslim of the Year Susan Carland argued that Simmons' stereotyping of Muslims was inaccurate.[30] Simmons later clarified his comments on his website, saying he had been talking specifically about Muslim extremists. In 2005, Simmons was sued by a former girlfriend, Georgeann Walsh Ward, who said she had been "defamed" in the VH1 documentary When Kiss Ruled the World and portrayed as an "unchaste woman".[31] A settlement was reached in June 2006.[32] In 2007, Simmons openly spoke out against music piracy, and called for file-sharers to be sued.[33] A year later, he threatened further lawsuits, and to withhold new recordings, if file-sharing continued.[34] In 2010, Anonymous staged a DDoS on his Web site, prompting Simmons to hit back with provocative comments once he was back online, at which point Anonymous staged a second DDoS, taking Simmons' site down again. In August 2014, Simmons made comments in an interview with Songfacts.com that seemed to openly encourage people with depression to kill themselves. The comments drew criticism from Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue.[35] Following his comments both Triple M and Power 97 stated that they were pulling all Kiss songs from their lineup in protest.[36] Simmons later clarified his comments and apologized for the incident.[35][37] Instruments[edit] Gene Simmons has used various bass guitars during his career including:

Axe Bass (Kramer, Jackson, B.C. Rich and now Cort) Punisher Bass (B.C.Rich, now made by Cort) Spector Gene Simmons Signature Pedulla Basses (mainly in the 1980s and early 1990s) Gibson Grabber (mainly in Kiss' early years) Gibson Ripper (mainly in Kiss' early years) Gibson Thunderbird (seen used in 1977 Largo,MD concert video) Custom Lobue bass (Wicked Lester, very early Kiss circa 73–78) Carvin Acoustic Bass Cort Guitars Signature GS-1 Bass He uses Ampeg SVT CL Series amplifiers with 8x10" cabinets. He uses Silver Herco Flex .75 Nylon Flat Guitar Picks. He uses D'Addario EXL165 Nickel Wound Custom Light .45-.105 Long Scale Bass Strings and Dunlop Electric Bass Guitar Stainless Steel Heavy .050 -.110 strings. In 2010 Gene Simmons collaborated with Cort Guitars to make his own signature bass line called the GS-AXE-2. John Elder Robinson (brother of author Augusten Burroughs) is the original designer of the bands effects-enhanced instruments.

Film and television career[edit] Simmons has been involved with such television projects as:

My Dad the Rock Star,[16] 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 UK 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,[38] a reality show documenting the personal lives of Simmons, his wife, his son and daughter. On March 9, 2011, 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.[39] Simmons appeared as a psychic working at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice, California on the American hidden camera prank TV series I Get That a Lot.[40] He also guest-starred as himself in the 2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode Long Road Home. He also performed in the 1984 Michael Crichton movie Runaway starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes and Kirstie Alley.

Awards and recognition[edit] On January 28, 2011, Simmons was in Dallas, Texas, to host the Aces & Angels Salute to the Troops charity event. While in Dallas, Simmons was presented the key to the city in Dallas, Texas and a street, Gene Simmons Boulevard, was named for him. Simmons and Tweed also visited Ft. Hood to support the Troops as a part of the Aces & Angels event. On June 15 of the same year he was given the key to the city in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2012, Simmons was awarded the Golden God award by the Revolver magazine.[41] On October 30, 2013 during the KISS KRUISE 3, KISS Navy members John and Jamie Downs presented Gene Simmons with a plaque commemorating the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's acceptance of an autographed Gene Simmons Axe bass into their collection. The Smithsonian Museum's statement reads, in part: "The bass will now be cared for in our permanent collections... We are happy to include the Axe bass as it relates to the impact Mr. Simmons and his band KISS have had on American culture, especially in the creation of a unique and iconic brand that has been embraced by fans worldwide." "The story of Mr. Simmons' American experience deserves to be preserved. An immigrant and son of a holocaust survivor, he used creative vision and entrepreneurial acumen to make a significant impact for our nation's popular culture, becoming an iconic figure in American music and entertainment." [42]

Simmons is an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock, an national nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels visited a Little Kids Rock classroom and featured the segment on the show. He also decorated a guitar for auction with his son Nick.[43]

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Gene Simmons's Timeline

1949
August 25, 1949
Haifa, Israel
1989
January 22, 1989
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, United States
1992
July 7, 1992
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States