Despite being nearly 70 years old, Gene Simmons still has not learned how to talk about his own accomplishments without disparaging someone else’s.

The KISS bassist was discussing his band’s “End of the Road” farewell tour with Guitar World when he brought up a familiar refrain about his stage getup being too damn heavy and about Kiss’s live shows being some of the most intricate in the history of music.

Simmons was asked about speculation over whether Kiss is truly retiring at the conclusion of this tour or just using the ‘farewell’ angle to sell tickets. He took the opportunity to draw some contrasts between Kiss and some of its contemporaries who are keeping at it.

“…By the time this tour finishes, I’ll be 72,” Simmons said. “So if I was in the [Rolling] Stones or U2, I could run around on stage in sneakers and a t-shirt and never break a sweat. And both those bands are great. But Kiss is a different animal — we’re like heavy artillery.”

He continued, describing the toll the heavy costume, platform heels, face paint and stunts he does at each and every Kiss show takes on him physically.

“We love [Mick] Jagger and Bono,” he added, as his humility began to wear thin, “but if they put in the amount of work we put in, they’d drop dead in a half hour.”

He added: “I love them to death and respect those guys. But all they have to do is sing.”


What Kiss has done on stage for so many years is incredible. Simmons’ point about the live show being unsustainable is well taken. Music fans of all persuasions have to respect the part Kiss played in revolutionizing live music production.

But that doesn’t mean that any artist who does it differently isn’t as good or is lazy.

Simmons’ assertion that The Rolling Stones and U2’s lack of ridiculous costumes or pyrotechnics means they don’t work as hard is ludicrous. And his comments about Paul Stanley’s vocal issues last summer proved he has little respect for singers, in general.

Mentioning the Stones and U2 at all, only dredges up the fact that Kiss, for some reason, is notoriously sensitive about bands that are more successful. We all remember the Iron Maiden t-shirt incident from a couple years ago.

It’s also worth noting that Simmons’ demon costume is by far the heaviest of any member in Kiss. He takes the stage in shoulder pads and a leather cape with metal studs all over it. Stanley and drummer Eric Singer are usually shirtless beneath their vests and guitarist Tommy Thayer is outfitted in what is essentially a bulky sweater.

You gotta believe Simmons could lighten his load a bit if he really wanted to, but that would be one less thing to feel superior about.


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Article: Andrew Magnotta

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