GENE SIMMONS: 'My Life Is An Open Book'

April 6, 2006

Rod Harmon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune recently conducted an interview with KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. The question-and-answer session follows:

Q: Why are you coming to [the Sarasota Film Festival], and what are you going to be doing once you get here?

Gene: Well, first of all, "Funny Money" (the opening-night film) is a nice little movie, and sometimes big surprises come in very little packages ... but the reason I'm flying down to Florida is, coincidently with my relationship with Simmons Abramson Marketing — uh, I'm the Simmons part of it — we've taken over the worldwide branding marketing for Indy Racing. Part of my job is to bring celebrity attention ... and to make matters better, instead of worse, I am now the grand marshal of the St. Pete Indy races, which is going to be a real hoot. (The Honda Grand Prix will be held today through April 2 in downtown St. Petersburg.) (The film festival) is just 40 minutes outside of Tampa. The ("Funny Money") director, Leslie Greif, really deserves to get this film in front of people's eyes. And I intend to be there, because I think he's a powerful and attractive man.

Q: So you're going to be here to show support for the director of the film?

Gene: Yeah! And also, there'll be cameras, and girls, and what's wrong with that?

Q: Penelope Ann Miller is going to be here as well. Are you going to hit on her?

Gene: Well, that's the job of the male species. That's what we do ... that's why nature, in her wisdom, made sure the blueprint of the male of (the) species makes us manufacture billions of sperm every single day. If that's not a description of our, shall we say, urge to merge, I don't know what is.

Q: There is a new Gene Simmons stamp. Do you have to lick it, or is it self-adhesive?

Gene: It's a legitimate U.S. postage stamp. It costs 39 cents. I decided to do it partly for ego; you know, I wanted to be able to turn to Mom and say, "Hey, look what I did." But it's also actually doing some good. The proceeds, a lot of it, are going to the Humane Society, and I think that's a good thing. And it features my beautiful lips imprinted on it. It's not a KISS product, it's just a Gene Simmons thing.

Q: But do you have to lick it?

Gene: You know, I haven't licked one yet, but I don't think you do. I think it's self-adhesive.

Q: Really? Oh, that's kind of a bummer. You can't lick Gene Simmons.

Gene: I suppose you could, but don't tell anybody. You know what Charlie Rich says ...

Q: What did Charlie Rich say?

Gene: What goes on behind closed doors ... that's a good record, by the way.

Q: Yes, I know. But you have told what goes on behind closed doors, to a certain extent. (In his autobiography, "KISS and Makeup", Simmons claimed to have slept with more than 4,000 women.)

Gene: Oh yeah, my life is an open book. You know, all these poor unhappily married guys who say, "If my wife ever finds out, she'll kill me," they're just whipped. Just stand up, grab life by the scruff of its neck and say, "This is me, this is who I am, you don't have to like it, but this is me." Period ... Which is why (when) mothers and wives and everybody else ask, "Where are you going?", we guys should stand up and say, "Who wants to know?" It's time for men to come back, don't you think? ... Last time I checked, the only one who owns me is the mother who gave me birth. In return for life, she is allowed to torture me. No other woman is allowed to do that. They haven't earned the right!

Q: So when your mother asks you where you're going, do you tell her?

Gene: Well, I set my mother straight a long time ago. When the band first started going, I called her and I said, "Go anywhere and buy any house." And she did. And thereafter, I said, "From now on, you have to recognize that I am a man. You kicked me out of the nest, I walk on my own, therefore your privileges have stopped. You know the phrase 'While you're living under my roof?' Guess what, I'm not living under your roof. And here's another point: Your roof? I bought it for you."

Q: Getting back to the film festival, are you going to be singing, or giving a talk, or what exactly will be going on?

Gene: I'll be going around and by request, giving lap dances. I'm really good, you know. But no, I'm an only child, and I'm not from America, so I like attention. I'll walk down the red carpet and probably make an ass out of myself.

Q: Do you have any advice for guys who are hoping to get some female attention at the Sarasota Film Festival?

Gene: Yes. Bring lots of money. Because ultimately, guys may say, "Do you love me?" But girls will always say, "How much?" If you pull up in a Volkswagen, you're not getting any tail. Pull up in a Rolls-Royce, and see what happens.

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