19 August, 2012Reporter: Rahni Sadler
Producer: Erin Reimer
Reporter Rahni Sadler got more than she bargained for in a sometimes charming, occasionally bewildering encounter with eccentric Kiss frontman Gene Simmons.
The 62-year-old rocker has fashioned a reputation over the years as a sexist and a notorious womaniser, and he certainly lived up to his image in this interview – but he also revealed a softer, more vulnerable side, harking back to his days as Chaim Weitz, the Israel-born child of a single mother Holocaust survivor.
“I’ve always felt like an outsider; I still do. I was a stranger in a strange land who couldn’t speak a word of the language. It was culture shock in the extreme,” he said of his childhood in New York.
“I had to invent myself – I invented Gene Simmons. I had to create myself and go to the mountain, because it sure as hell wasn’t going to come to me.”
So began an almost forty-year career as Kiss’s resident ‘Demon’, enthralling audiences worldwide with on-stage theatrics and hits like I Was Made For Loving You and Rock and Roll All Nite.
Along the way, there were a lot of groupies, as he’s detailed in several memoirs. Exactly how many women has Simmons slept with?
“Sleeping had very little to do with it. There have been a lot. Shannon [Tweed, his wife] get upset when I talk about it…Less than 5,000. 46, 4700, something like that,” he told Sadler.
Does he still think he could pick up any woman in the world?
“Yeah. Not think – I know it.”
Then followed a tete-a-tete about sexism, monogamy and marriage, with Sadler playfully challenging the rocker about some of his more politically incorrect opinions. Deep down, she said, he seemed like a softy – a suspicion confirmed when Simmons explained why he finally married Tweed last year after 28 years of dating.
“Who do you want to be there when you’re on your deathbed? If the answer is the woman you love and your children, then don’t wait until the last minute.”
Kiss fans are in for a bounty of music in the coming months, with new Kiss music on the way! Their 20th studio album Monster will be released on Friday October 12. You can pre-order the album on iTunes HERE.Monster represents Kiss’ nod to the music that first inspired them to pick up their guitars and flame-throwers and don makeup to entertain millions. The group goes back to their own beginnings with the Who-like Freak, while Gene lives up to the title track’s declaration on the raucous rock of Back to the Stone Age and the bludgeoning The Devil is Me. Even guitarist Tommy Thayer takes a turn on his own with Outta This World, a tribute to his KISS 'spaceman' character, while drummer Eric Singer provides the vocals (and the back story) for the arena anthem All for the Love of Rock & Roll.
Opening the album is the cracking first single Hell or Hallelujah, available on iTunes now - or check out the lyric video.
Timed to coincide with the release of the Monster album is the deluxe coffee table, limited edition KISS MONSTER, a collection of artworks and 126 photos from the band’s 40-year career, including never-before-seen images from the world’s greatest rock photographers. The three-foot high, two and a half feet wide and two-inch thick Monster will be available in copies signed by all four band members and limited to only 1,000 copies worldwide.
Gene's reality show about his life and family, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, airs on 7mate.CONTACT SUNDAY NIGHT