KISS Frontman Gene Simmons Interview w/ Andrew Denton 2018
That, boy Jesus, in us like you've never seen the. Confession. I've, been an arrogant. Sexist. Pig about, sleeping. With five, thousand, we're wrong ethically. And morally just. Wrong and to Denton's, jaw-dropping. Interview, tonight. On seven. Tonight. On interview, kiss legend gene Simmons as you've, never seen him before. Hello, welcome to interview, as the driving force behind the band Kiss the man you're about to meet has given the world classic. Songs, stupendously. Over-the-top, concerts, and merchandise. That covers everything from kiss condoms, to coffins, outspoken. And confrontational. He chiefly called his second solo album asshole. Is it smart marketing, or slight confession ahead, of an Australian tour in August let's find out welcome, from LA via satellite, gene, Simmons. Tonight. You're about to tour Australia with the gene Simmons band the first time you've been here solo it's, been going well you're having lots of fun what's, it like for you up on stage without the the, armour and the costumes, would kiss around you well, you know it's a lot easier and thank, you for asking. Kiss, by the way for those who care is. Continues. To play this July we are playing a few stadiums, in Spain and gearing up for something really big but. In the meantime the gene Simmons band is my chance. To get out there and just have a lot of fun break all the rules put, some stairs down that go into the audience from the stage like. Instead, of just having bodyguards. And all that's gone you, have stairs that go into the audience and I invite the fans to come up and sing with me on stage if you can play guitar especially, if you're a kid you're, on stage with us and at the end we. Just pack the, entire stage with fans just. Like that ah that's so cool yeah there's this young kid going off so what kind of people come up well, as you can tell all kinds of people everybody, from every age wheels. You. Like my seven-inch, leather. Heels, yeah it's so much fun and it's. A chance that kind of you. Know they're different things when somebody asks you what what do you prefer steak, or cheesecake, why. Would you want to pick you want the steak and the cheesecake, they're just totally different, and kiss.
Is The. Love of my life we. Are America's, number one gold record award winning group of all time in all categories and. We do well over the years and all that stuff but the gene Simmons ban is a chance to just kind of let, my hair down and just roll it don't worry about it all just have fun you're also doing a really interesting thing you're you're, selling a think of the vault the biggest box set of all times 20 kilos a meter high full. Of music, and goodies, and you. Hand-deliver. Which means you're not just filling stadiums you're, selling door-to-door you are full service delivery, you're, right go. To gene simmons voltcom. The basic, story. Here, is that this is the largest box set of all time, three. Feet plus, tall weighs. 40. Pounds, has. A hundred, and sixty seven unreleased. Tracks, that. Span 50, years, from. 1966. Until. 2016. This is it this is my bucket list before, this 44. Year old ride, is, over, and boy do I look good before. This whole ride, is over I wanted to go out there and meet the fans who. Made my life possible you. Know I get choked up about this thing because I first, came to America as an immigrant you know from Israel I couldn't speak a word of English. Imagine. If you were like look you're getting on a roller coaster ride. And all of a sudden you're, flying through the air upside-down estai, could never have imagined, this, crazy, roller coaster, ride and it's been astonishing. Every day so anybody that gets close to the, levels we've achieved who's Bob you know it's. Okay it's fun they're lying it's the best thing in the world we're, having so much fun and I wanted to thank. The people who made my life possible the. Fans you. Are the bosses I just work here and on, the day that somebody who's onstage forgets, that. Come off the stage there, are a lot of other people who would deserve it more than they do what's. Been the most memorable response, you've had from a fan so far when you've handed. Over the vault there, you know it's very emotional.
For Them and for me I met, a young. Lady who, was a little. Bit over 20 years old and with her was a gentleman, who. Didn't. Look like her I'm gonna start, choking. Up here and he's with a cane and his hand is shaking and stuff and I thought you, know it was her grandfather, and somebody and I'm, saying it's so nice to meet you and who's, this and she, said this, is my father I said. Oh so. I started thinking you know cuz I thought he was seven years old or something oh well, it's, nice to meet you sir and thank, you so much for making my life possible and stuff and she said oh, boy. He was in. The hospital he's, terminal, it's, cancer, he's. Gonna pass away at any time he's been a lifelong kiss fan and all, he wanted to do before, he passed away is meet gene Simmons and well. You know what can you say I had, to hold back the tears. The. Stories are endless for. Me it's been, so. Emotional. And so I, wouldn't. Get to see that if I was up on stage with the security. Guards and the private jets and all that it's all fluff you're up here you, got to get down and touch the press, the flesh and understand, that there are people out there to whom the, music, is the soundtrack of, their lives you. You mentioned that you. Might be cheering up there what. Do I have to do to get the sunglasses off you so we can look, into your soul through, the window of your eyes. Well. Strippers. Don't walk out naked nor. Should anybody and don't, let anybody else make the rules whew the reason I wear shades in the dark and night is I'll. Give you the serious answer one is being on stage for over 40 years makes. My, eyes very sensitive. To light my I have 20/20, vision but. All these flashing, you like these you, know shiny lights you see them in my shades yeah my eyes get very sensitive, to it but I have to do it on stage anywhere else I don't have to do it I won't, wear, the real answer is the, reason, you should always wear shades is because.
The Sun never sets on planet, cool and, don't let anybody tell you different, in other words to thine own self be, true if somebody, doesn't understand, why you wear flowered, shirts or have, silly hair or, you. Know wear shades that's their problem not, yours, be. Proud in your own skin be who you are this is who I am you, don't like it turn the channel can I move to the first time you came to Australia, you said, it was in, your, experience with kids like nothing you'd seen before what was so remarkable about, it. Well. You know when we came to Australia in, 1804. No it was 1980. It was a different, time this is pre cellphones, pre. Cable. TV pre anything, and we were trapped in our hotel rooms you know we came in and we didn't, realize the band was massive, in Australia, so he played two. Days at Sydney's stadium two days in Melbourne Stadium the only other band I'm aware of that did that was the Beatles we, broke their record but. We, were stuck on the top floor of the hotels we couldn't go outside because people. Would try to get our faces and all that those were the days of the makeup and when, we wanted to have a party, nice. Promoter, that he was would rent a big boat and we'd, go out into you, know Sydney Harbour, and there'd. Be guests, over there guests, you know what I mean guess. They're guests, and we'd. Have a great time out there on the boat and their helicopters, would be circling so. Australia. Sort, of a. Felt. Like Alice in Wonderland you, go to this magical, place where people, are nice the, food is amazing the women are beautiful it just seemed to be not, connected, to the rest of the world and all, its troubles, and all the stuff the weather was great people. Are friendly and. You. Know just a magical, place continues. To be the key shows were beat they still are big you know the pyrotechnics, in the spitting blood and and you know you flying, up in the harness fifty feet above this stage what's it like for you when you. Well. The truth is I'm scared of heights. Especially. When there are no when. It's not a net underneath, so when you're flying up you. Hope that the you. Know you hope that the harness and the strings don't. Break because if if they break you die I also, not particularly fond of spitting fire but. I'm told by magicians mine, rank. Right up there with the best fire fire spitters, they're called instead, of fire breathers, they don't want to breathe the fire they want to spit all right every night when you're flying up on, the rig your. Stomach's, going inside out is that right yeah. I'm keeping my you know my vibe. And. On the way up a. Little. Kid in these guys what the hell are you doing up here get off that you. Know what am I doing here putting on two, hours of makeup a tits platform, heels 40, pounds of armor, spitting, fire and flying up in the sky uh you, know it seemed like a good idea at the time it's, a living oh and, yes yes sir. Yes. It is we. Have we have five thousand, licensed, products, everything, from kiss condoms, to kiss caskets. We'll get you coming and we'll get you going very good in fact I was gonna ask you about that because I think largely, due to you that the kiss brand is worth, about. A billion dollars maybe, more, is there any merchandising. Idea that you said no that's too far we're not gonna do that. Well. If somebody walked up and said. Something. That didn't makes it like I would say no to kiss crack. Do that yeah that was a joke but I'm serious about that when.
We Put our names on everything no tobacco. Products. I don't want to do that but. You know almost anything else in life, what's, Disney got that we haven't got I mean we're Disney without the overhead I know you are, a huge collector of your own stuff, what's your absolute favorite. Piece. Of kiss memorabilia. Or merchandise. Me. As. Far as far as I know and I'm my mother's only child, but. You really have to never. Take anything for granted because, there but but for the grace of God I'd be asking the next person in line would. You like some. More fries with that, speaking, of your mom flora. I've got some beautiful footage, of you two backstage, I'd like you to look at I remember the first time we played here, 1975. I was sitting, behind next, to you behind the curtain. And. The girls they throw out two encores they did, maybe. As a Tom Jones you bank this and you don't think. About. It you, see. I. So. Love that I get this sense that your mum irons your tongue before the show. She. Has no, filter. She. Has she, doesn't edit herself whatever she's thinking comes, out your. Mum was in, the, Nazi, concentration camps, when she was a teenage girl, how, much of what she went, through was, passed, down to you by story or just, by what you observed she was 14, years of age and our, whole, family was killed off right in front of her she horrific. And so, did millions. And millions of people not. Just Jews two million Catholics two million gays two million gypsies. 20. Million Russians, I mean it was horrific and, my. Mother survived, and nobody else did and yet. Through her eyes she's, not a well-educated woman, and she's, 92, and rocking even. Today. Through. Sorry. I'm getting a little choked up from okay. Through. Her eyes and, through. Her mind and especially through, her heart. The. Philosophy. Rings, clear, and true to me every, single day you. Have a lot of money that's nice you're. Healthy. That's, better, every. Day above ground is, a good day, that's. Not just a soundbite because. The proverbial, bus is right around the corner that, can take you off the planet I heard, my family I heard my kids my. Mother was not fond of it and stuff and yet when you're in the middle of this sort of gorgey. Of. Hedonistic. Lifestyle, no drugs no alcohol no. Cigarettes but, in. Other ways, your. Mind is on crack. You. Famously talked about the near 5,000 women that you've slept with I don't want to talk about them but I would like to talk about three, women in particular in your life the, first one of which, was.
Not Seduced. By you but, you remember her is Karen Carpenter tell me about the night you and Karen Carpenter got talking oh my. God. Look. I was a long time ago was in the 70s, and I was staying on a higher floor. Then. She was and I. Had. A guest in my room and I got word from one of the security people that Karen Carpenter, was down below and and she wanted to meet me so I so. I went down to her room and. She. Was, different was it well, yes. She was fascinated and, I was you, know I'm a full disclosure before. The fact, thing. Is hi, Karen and all that and I can't. Stay long because I've got a guest up there and she was fascinated by the whole groupie thing you mean you know what's. Her name and I go I don't know what her name is but you, know she's waiting for me in my room and. She was fascinated by the hole why would she do that I'm going on I don't. Know I'm not the best looking guy in the world but here. We are and I. Mean. It was pure in an, innocent, conversation, if, you will and, what did you make of her. One. Of those innocent, Braves you know sort of unique. People. Who you can't quite put, your finger on where she came from and, she just let it vary. If. Normal, is the word she was super, normal the, second moment I'm about to talk about is sherry you started a relationship back. In the late 70s I spoke, to share earlier this year she remembers you very warmly and this, is what she had to say about you like. The first thing you did he put, his came up to my thing and was talking to me and like talking down his arm and I went do. You always talk like that or what's the problem what is your problem did, and, we. Had more, of a relationship about, me. Calling. Him on all of this stuff and, I. Honestly did, not believe, what he was saying about all the women that he'd been with, did, you feel her or did she get you right oh. She's. Spot-on but you're killing me here you know you know that she. You. Know as you know if you sit, with her she's a straight, shooter and. What-you-see-is-what-you-get. Shares always been a straight-ahead person. It's one of the most attractive most, attractive, things about her so it makes her a lady yeah. She is what did, she bust me did, she bust me on everything oh yeah, cuz I'm full of it it's, interesting because that was your first real. Relationship relationship. Wasn't it and that was that was quite a change for you well, I'd you. Know my father ran out on myself, and, my mother I was about six or seven and, I. Didn't want to become my father I didn't want to. You. Know get married to have children and, walk, out and I also had ambitions. Far. Beyond playing guitar in a band and all that I mean I but ruled the world kind of a thing and I. You. Know there's always that proverbial. Girlfriend. Who says what's, more important your you know your band or me. Well. In those days those yeah it's the band it's not you in, in the early days when you're into 20s and 30s you're not really a grown-up person. Relationships. Just don't last you you try to make that band last, and. That's difficult enough trust me I I'm a married man love, Shannon. With all my heart she's the only one, I will ever be married to for the rest of my life I've married her twice I'm, gonna marry her a third time and I will marry her as many times as she will, let me marry her I would. You know without sugar Cola I'm not saying this for you I could give up what, you think about me see what I just did but. If. If there's. A savior shining as my Jesus. Okay. She's, the one that keeps me. Grounded close, to the ground and I never thought we'd have kids we have two great, kids Nick and Sophie who. Are themselves, multi-talented. Better look and their mom and dad and just you. Know the the pride of our you. Know stuff I'm turning this over to Shannon, so, I I, don't, get grief with you talking about share and I am. As. I said I only one talk about three women the third one is Shannon who, you met back, in the 80s and you. Almost. Immediately thought I want, to pursue this woman this one's special what was different, between. Shannon and your other conquests. Well. There weren't conquests, because I wasn't looking for relationships, and you. Know if you're in a band and the right kind of man you don't have to you. Don't have to conquest, anybody, see. How it turns it into a verb. It's. Just there you know you walk into a walk. Into a supermarket and people give you here try this taste, this no charge and. You. Could wake up next to somebody whose name you never bothered, to learn. Pre-aids. And. I. Wasn't ready for Shannon, why we met at a very stupid place, the, Playboy Mansion I've, called three hundred, playmates, with, very little on and she, I. Don't. Know they talked about this in science, fiction terms, you, know the glow and everything just have, a lot of beauty around you right and.
They're All lifted and separated, and pointed in your general direction and, then this kind of slow motion thing. And. You're and the, cool disappears. And you melt like the incredible, melting Matt when you see a woman who. Connects. With your inside. All. The, other stuff the heels of the makeup and all that stuff is not. What grabs you I I married, her when I was my. Power ring I married Shannon when I was 62, she. Stuck by my sorry ass for 29. Years and never, bothered me even with two kids together, never. Bothered me about that so when I married her at 62, I'm gonna be 69, any, minute now I. Can't. Tell you, how. Ready I was to marry Shannon, and what, a stupid. Embarrassed, jackass. I was for. Decades. Well. I mean you can turn to a shrink and say why didn't you want to get married I didn't want to turn into my father because. I was always afraid of marriage I was always thought I'd. Be a super jackass, and walk out on my kids and just. Leave everybody and just be arrogant and selfish, I was, all that, but. It was Shannon who, comes from a family of seven and from, a small town in. Canada. And I'm not gonna make this up she, comes right outside of dildo, in, Newfoundland yes. It's called that actually, graduated, from dildo. High school, which. Is right down the road from Placentia. Bay and, on, the other end is come by chance, so help me duh I and, spread. Eagle. So. I swear. To you because, I went and we went to the dildo restaurant, mm-hmm, right off the Sencha Bay and we had dildo, burgers, and all that I'm not making any of this stuff up you can't it's. Time all of us sort of woke up and, I'll be the first one to admit I've been an arrogant. You. Know sexist, pig. Not. Long before you were married you. Were. On The Joy Behar show in the States talking, about an argument, that have been aired on your reality, show just, to fill our audience and I'll show that a little bit that's. Very nice of you to joke. She's. A comedian. Thanks. For the question. So. In, that clip that Shannon. Says Lugano I'm over, it what was she over. Look. For. 29. Years I did what you, could imagine guys. And bands do and it's. Interesting how arrogance, I mean. Interesting is not the word I heard my family I heard my kids my. Mother was not fond of it and stuff and yet when you're in the middle of this sort of gorging. Of. Hedonistic. Lifestyle, no drugs no alcohol no. Cigarettes but, in. Other ways, your. Mind is on crack it. Doesn't mean anything you wake up the next morning you just move on and. It's. This sort of, what. The shrinks, told me was called. Compartmentalization. You're. Over here nobody. Can see in and stuff so whatever you do in there doesn't count and you can be a family man if they can all just I love your kids and all that over here and. She. Explained to Shannon and I both cuz we went to a shrink together it's, like what's, your story gene I'm gone well I did I'm, never gonna leave Shannon and my kids and she goes no you're not getting it there is no. Compartmentalization. It's. All part of the same thing and. Anything, you do here is gonna, hurt your kids and your family and your, everybody. So here's the question for all you guys who think that, you're. Gonna have your turn just like I will and you will of being, on your deathbed. You're. All gonna die me, too, if. We hope later but at some point you're, on your deathbed and before, you take your last breath who. Do you want around you, somebody. That meant, nothing to you that just, sugarcoating or do you want your family and your kids. Your. Wife your beloved, your husband, who, do you want there and, if. You can answer we did, you. Know boot camp for married couples who were having, a hard time and. There. Was an exercise. Where. I was in another room and then, they invited me into the room and it's a church setting people are sitting in rows and Shannon. Is in the casket, it's an open casket and she's in the casket, and I'm going, you're. Pretending, at Babbo you know come on I know she's not dead and. The. Producer. Said I want you to walk over there and, talk. To Shannon directly, if she, died today. If she dies today, and she's, in the casket, what, are you gonna tell her and I'm, you know I'm walking up there I think you I know to tell ya thanks so much you know we love each other we have kids I'll take care of the kids you know that sort of surface, stuff but when I when. I was there I I had, a breakdown a kind of ammo I'm. Sorry and emotional, I. Don't. Know if it was breakthrough, but I. Was. Devastated, it's. Really, interesting what you've just described what do you do now when you find yourself sexually, attracted, to another woman, well. I'm surrounded, by it all the time because of the nature of Hollywood, and stuff like that you realize that even, though there are many women who are attractive, it just doesn't mean anything, I'm also on a diet, you know I've got to stop eating candy.
And Sugar and bread and because I want to look good when. We go out on tour you, know it's not good for you so stay away from it. Those. Shakes are not good for you they're. Not here for your health, I'd like to talk to you about something which you, don't really want to talk about but I think it's it's in alignment but everything you've just been saying which is quite remarkable. Late. Last year there's a respected. Australian music writer called Katie McCabe who is a huge kiss fan who. Wrote about how disillusioned. She was in, the way you. Had spoken to her using, sexist. And offensive language and, the kind of language she was talking about there's. An example of it which I'm gonna play here which is you on Emery, right here a few years back this is talking to our Terry Gross I think the notion is that if you, want to welcome me with open arms, I'm afraid you're also gonna have to welcome me with open legs, that's. A really obnoxious thing, to say no it's not it's big why should I say something behind your back that I can't tell you to your face now. That was you I think about. 10 years ago is. The you now well, listen. I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna help you out here there's no excuse for that kind of language not for me and not from you from not from anybody else but. You also have to recognize and this is not a defense just the observation, it was a different, time so. There, is no excuse for that kind of language but it was also a different time cocksman. Ship and the more arrogant and sexist, you were the cooler you work to your fans and of course somebody else might, take offense to that the. Times were wrong I was completely, wrong and as, a woman she should have been insulted because and by, the way the, arrogance, and self selfishness. Of that doesn't. Even enter, your mind when you're in the moment do. You feel you're different now you look back on you go oh sure. At, some point you gotta grow up and you know we all watch all we say but, when you're a kid did you say stupid stuff, yeah. But you are a you, are a kid. Well. That's, exactly right that when. They're. You're, surrounded, by yes men nobody, tells you your breath stinks, or that you're. Coming off like an idiot the. Truth is in hindsight, which, is 20/20. It. Was stupid, it was wrong ethically. And morally just. Wrong what. Can I say I've made lots of mistakes you. Got. A you got to move on and become better it's time all of us sort of woke up and, I'll be the first one to admit I've been an arrogant. You. Know sexist, page if, it wasn't for my family and my mother especially, I would, be in the deepest, darkest, pits of hell. I want, to show you Alaska - footage from your reality. Series you, know some people think of your tongue as a weapon not. Always your family. Okay. You what. Are you what, are you doing. I. Can. Help, okay. What, which con goes into where no. No you know we haven't planned for you let's, put that famous. Tongue. Of yours to use. Don't. Feel like a piece of meat. That, is classic, wins. Is. That by the way I what people. Don't know what people don't know about gene. Simmons Family Jewels that. Tapley. You just saw us as Shannon. And Sophie our daughter we're doing that, they. Gave my tongue a paper cut one of those was a sideswipe. And it, cut my tongue I started bleeding I assumed your tongue is insured against everything including, Seth. It's. It's, insured by freud's of London. Yeah. I do, is, that a pretty good representation, of how things are in your house it's not what standing in fact there are cameras so it's not real real I have. To tell you that were, it not for my mother. And. Perhaps everybody's, mother and. My. Beloved, Shannon. And. Especially. Our two kids I mean what are we living for anyway, I never. Used to talk like this if, the. 20 year old a 30 year old kid gene, heard me talking like this one go what are you talking about at some point you, have to grow up and if it wasn't for my family and my mother especially I would, be in the deepest darkest, darkest.
Pits Of hell the. I, haven't, succumbed to alcohol and drugs and cigarettes and everything. Because. Because. There's something to live for. I'm. Very delighted. For you which, know what you earn it's about you learn really. Good to talk to you and look. Forward to seeing you in Australia thank you Jane.