Produced Chaim Witz on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel, Gene Simmons first determined he wished to be in a group while in middle school, after observing girls yell at The Beatles on TV. He was in several groups before co-founding KISS with Paul Stanley in the 1970s.
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Musician, entertainer. His mother, Flora, was a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor, who observed her family perish in the concentration camps when she was just 14 years old. Following the conclusion of World War II, Flora headed to Israel. It was there that she met carpenter Yeichel Witz, the guy who finally become Chaim’s dad.
Yeichel and Flora’s union started to break up soon after Chaim’s arrival, mostly through discussions about cash. Finally, Chaim’s parents consented to split, with Yeichel leaving for Tel Aviv to try to find work. The family could not reunite, and Chaim wouldn’t see his dad again.
Chaim’s mom started raising him alone, as well as the family continued fighting in poverty. Flora found work in a coffee shop, and sometimes left Chaim in the care of babysitters. Because of this, he immediately became fluent in Turkish, Hungarian, Hebrew and Spanish, so that you can talk to health professionals.
In 1958, when Chaim was eight years of age, he along with his mother immigrated to Nyc to live with relatives in Flushing, Queens. After going into the nation, Chaim switched his name to Gene, since it was easier to pronounce, and chose his mother’s surname of Klein. He studied rigorously while his mom worked in a button factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Following annually in the yeshiva, he transferred to public school in Jackson Heights. It was during this time he started to acquire an interest in music. In his autobiography, Kiss and Makeup, Simmons acknowledges his musical interests came while seeing the Beatles on television one night. He believed “If I go start a group, perhaps the girls will yell at me.” Thus, while attending Joseph Pulitzer Middle School, Simmons and a few buddies created a group called The Missing Links so that you can get the interest of the female classmates.
This resulted in some groups for Simmons, including Long Island Sounds and Growing Sun. Simmons kept visions of stardom, but he also did not want to disappoint his mom, who encouraged him to get his college degree.
Soon after graduation in 1970, Simmons’ bandmate and youth pal Steve Coronel presented Simmons to guitarist Stanley Eisen (afterwards known as Paul Stanley). Stanley chose to join Simmons and Coronel’s band, Wicked Lester, and the group started experiencing some success on the club circuit.
As an alternative to calling the engineer, nevertheless, Simmons called the head of the studio, Ron Johnson. Meanwhile, Simmons and Stanley did session work quietly, singing background vocals for artists including Lynn Christopher, and learned the best way to make use of recording equipment.
Among the states, nevertheless, was to replace Stephen Coronel with session musician Ron Leejack. Simmons and Stanley consented to the arrangement, spending almost annually to finish the newest record. Once it was finished, yet, Epic’s A&R manager said he despised the record and refused to release it. A day later, the group was dropped from Epic.
Decided never to allow the failure impact them, Simmons and Stanley restructured the group. The initial new member was drummer Peter Criss, who’d put an advertisement in Rolling Stone. Their second new member, guitarist Paul “Ace” Frehley, was selected after he answered an advertisement in The Village Voice. By December of 1972, the group had instituted a rigorous training regimen and renamed themselves KISS.
Inspired by his childhood obsession with comic book superheroes, Simmons proposed the group get a physical transformation at the same time, donning crazy makeup and all-black clothes. Simmons after shown that Marvel comic character Black Bolt inspired his batwing-patterned facial makeup, a look he nicknamed “The Demon.”
Together with assistance from a trainer, Simmons also learned how breathe fire for his performances. The brand new group played their very first concert on January 30, 1973, in the Popcorn Club in Queens, Ny. There were just three members in the crowd.
In October of 1973, TV producer Bill Aucoin, who’d seen the group perform, offered to become the band’s supervisor. Simmons and his bandmates consented, under the stipulation that Aucoin would get the group a recording contract within fourteen days. Equipped with demo tape made by renowned engineer Eddie Kramer, who’d worked with Simmons and Stanley during their time at Electric Lady Land, Aucoin got KISS a contract with Emerald City Records.
Throughout the 1970s, the group toured almost nonstop, and became extremely popular for their over the top stage antics. KISS developed a sizable cult following during this time, with enthusiasts—called the “KISS Army”—frequently copying the group’s clothing and makeup. But although KISS hit the road consistently, they’d not acquire popular appeal until their live album Alive! (1975), reach the shops.
Their next record, an ambitious record called Destroyer (1976), became the second record to reach gold. All three records reach platinum, and by the conclusion of the year, KISS was named the most used group in The United States. KISS was also making a splash worldwide.
But as the band rolled successfully into the 80s, tensions started mountain on the list of group’s members. Criss had developed increasingly obstinate, refusing to practice as well as stopping at the center of tunes during concerts. In December of 1979, Criss formally left the group. After numerous auditions, he was replaced by musician Paul Caravello—after understand by the stage name, Eric Carr. In 1982, Frehley, frustrated using the group’s new musical path, also left KISS. Frehley’s replacement, guitarist Vinne Vincent, did not mesh nicely with the group, and went through a series of fires and re-hirings before leaving for good in 1984.
The group had also began seeming without makeup in 1983, relying less on flamboyant showmanship, and more on material.
Simmons fought to keep excitement for the newest incarnation of his group, yet, instead focusing on a movie career. His pictures, nevertheless, including B movies like Runaway (1984) and Trick of Treat (1986), never quite took off in the box office. Simmons and his bandmates suffered another setback when Carr found he’d developed cancer. After fighting the illness for quite some time, Carr finally died of cerebral hemorrhaging in 1991.
KISS mustered in the middle of the grieving, taking on new drummer Eric Singer, and released the record, Retaliation in 1992. While the latest embodiment of KISS continued recording and touring, Simmons and Stanley also gathered a reunion tour of the first members in 1996. Performances using the first group continued in total makeup and costume, and grossed more than $43.6 million, making Kiss the top concert action of 1996.
(Photograph by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
With this time, nevertheless, Simmons was active pursuing other interests, including publishing, fashion and performing. The initial group released the album Psycho Circus in 1998, the initial record in nearly 20 years from the original foursome. The reformed group continued to tour throughout the past decade. Subsequently, in 2009, Stanley and Simmons declared the first KISS would tour yet again, and release another record. Sonic Boom reach stores in October of 2009. The group is on tour.
Simmons continues to be romantically linked to Liza Minnelli, Cher and Diana Ross, but has been living with celebrity and former Playboy playmate Shannon Tweed because the mid-1980s. The couple got two kids: a son, Nick, as well as a daughter, Sophie. Each episode featured another family experience, from both Tweed and Simmons getting cosmetic surgery collectively, to Gene handling Nick’s group. The show just finished its sixth season, featuring the wedding of Simmons and Tweed which occurred on October 1, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California.