- Gene Simmons is a famous music star
- He is best known for the band KISS
- Learn more about his younger days here
Young Gene Simmons left an incredible mark on the history of Rock and Roll. His rebellious ways and formation of the glorious and epic band KISS changed the foundation of the music industry entirely and gave young people all over the world an outlet to let loose and be free. Gene Simmons showed what it was truly like to not care about what other people think and how confidence makes you shine bright.
Gene Simmons Young
Gene Simmons' young days began when he was born as Chaim Witz on August 25th, 1949 in Haifa, Israel to humble Jewish Hungarian immigrants. His mother and uncle were the only two in their family to survive the Holocaust and horrific internment camps. He and his mother emigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old where he settled in New York City. He then changed his name to Eugene Klein to use his mother's maiden name. He went to college in New York and modeled his stage name after the singer Jumpin' Gene Simmons. He had been a part of a few small bands growing up like the Missing Links, the Long Island Sounds, and Bullfrog Bheer.
Then finally he formed Wicked Lester with Stanley Eisen (a.k.a. Paul Stanley) who partnered up to form a new band with a new sound and look in hopes of forming "the ultimate rock band." The two recruited Geroge Peter Jogn Criscuola (a.ak.a. Peter Criss) and Paul Frehley (a.k.a. Ace Frehley). The group established their intense makeup looks based on comic book characters and their stick it to the man attitude and began to make music and tour and Gene Simmons donned "The Demon" persona. Once they opened for Blue Oyster Cult, their careers truly began to take off.
While their first few albums didn't gain as much attention as they wanted, their live performances started to grab the attention of the world. The band members would "breathe fire," play smoking and exploding instruments, and of course, Gene would spit blood while performing. The "blood" was made from raw egg whites, strawberry syrup, and red food coloring!
Gene Simmons and KISS Success
By the late '70s, KISS had begun to skyrocket and was being featured in comic books, on television shows and was beating The Beatles records with sold-out international shows! Their merchandise profits alone from 1977-1979 earned $100 million! This included their makeup kits, board games, lunch boxes, trading cards, and even comic books released by Marvel that even had ink infused with some of the band members' blood!
Gene was not only the bass player but also one of the lead singers, who became easily recognizable for his long snake-like tongue and demonic demeanor. He even starred in a John Stamos film Never Too Young To Die as evil hermaphrodite "Carruthers/Velvet Von Ragner." He and his bandmates were on Scooby-Doo, That '70s Show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Daily Show, The Tonight Show, and countless other shows and films.
Gene also founded a football team Los Angeles KISS and a TV series based on their inaugural season called 4th and Loud. He also had successful TV shows like My Dad the Rock Star, Rock School, and Gene Simmons Family Jewels that followed his own family life. He's even written many of his own comic books and science fiction stories!
Then in the '90s and 2000s, KISS gained a resurgence of fame and began touring the world again, selling our arenas and amphitheaters everywhere they went! Their incredible movable and interactive sets and live shows summons their countless fans to as many as they can witness.
Gene has been happily committed to actress and Playboy Playmate Shannon Lee Tweed since 1983. Gene and Shannon have two incredible kids, Nick and Sophie who have also had their own successful careers.
Gene and his bandmates are one of the best-selling bands of all time, earned 30 Gold Albums, and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gene's ideas and art have left an incredible impression on his millions of fans all over the world and continue to tour and perform to this day!