Kiss’ Gene Simmons – Does Rock’n’Roll Kill Brain Cells?

Testing musicians’ memories after a lifetime of abuse

Gene Simmons

You created and published your own line of sci-fi fanzines as a teenager. Can you name three of them?
“Cosmos, Faun and Tinderbox.”
Correct. He also published Sci-Fi Showcase, Mantis and Adventure

How long is your tongue in inches?
“I’m sorry, I’m straight. I’m a heterosexual. It’s very long. It has a spit and dry cycle and it can whip up a good damn froth. For somebody who likes the sound of his own voice it’s good having a tongue like mine. It’s food for the gods.”
Wrong. Seven inches


What happened to you on New Year’s Eve in 1973?
“I was in bed. Not alone but I was in bed.”
Wrong. You accidentally set fire to your hair (which was coated in hairspray) while firebreathing at a gig at the Academy Of Music in New York supporting Blue Oyster Cult
“Well, that happened at 9 o’clock and I was still in bed.”

Who taught you to fire breathe?
“A magician called Amaze-O.”
“How am I doing in the Gene Simmons trivia so far?”
Not too bad
“Way to go!”

Which famous ’80s film did you turn down the lead role in?
“Well, there were a few. There was a role in Flashdance, and I was asked to be a villain in one of the James Bond movies. The lead role in Flashdance was Nick Hurley, if I remember right.”
Correct. The part went to Michael Nouri – who is also Dr Neil Roberts in The OC – in the end. Simmons did appear in 1986 horror movie Trick Or Treat, alongside fellow rocker Ozzy Osbourne, though


You are famously quoted as saying you’ve slept with how many women?
“(Pause) Oh, about 4,700.”
Correct. Despite his vociferous sexual appetite, Simmons has been with his long-term girlfriend and former Playboy Playmate, Shannon Tweed, for 22 years. Simmons claims the reason they are still in a relationship is primarily down to the fact that they never got married

Which school did you teach in the first season of Rock School?
“I taught self empowerment. The belief in yourself to pick up a guitar and try to form
a band, take responsibilities for your decisions and show up on time. The way I see it is any teacher worth their songs should be teaching you to believe in yourself. I taught them that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I don’t know the name of the school though!”
Wrong. It was Christ’s Hospital School. Year 9 pupils formed a band called The Class with Simmons’ help. After a difficult start, they went on to support Motörhead at Hammersmith Apollo in London


Which Kiss song features in the Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock game?
“‘Love Gun’.”


How many gold-selling albums have Kiss had in the US?
“We now have 24 or something like that.”

Complete these lyrics: “Born in the ashes of ruin at the birth of your kind…”
“Oh God, you’re killing me, I’ve written so many songs, there’s too many. (Pause) I don’t know, what is it?”
Wrong. It’s “In the dawn of creation you conjured me in your mind/Love thy neighbour as you love yourself”. Taken from ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ off the 2004 solo album, ‘Asshole’
“You’re right.”

Total Score: 6/10
“Well that gives me 60 per cent. I got 60 per cent on me – I like that.”

This article originally appeared in the October 16 issue of NME

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