Over the past few years, Gene Simmons has become increasingly well known outside of his association with KISS. In accompaniment to that, I have noticed that many people throw around the word “genius” when referring to him or addressing him. In interviews, emails, blogs, etc.
– Gene Simmons is a genius rock star
– Gene Simmons is a genius business man
– Gene Simmons is a genius marketer

I’m not sure why, seeing as I am such a lifelong KISS fan, but I think it’s ridiculous. How did this genius monicker get associated with Gene? Is it because he’s wealthy? Nope. He’s wealthy because of KISS. Is it because he is famous? Nope. He’s famous because of KISS. Is it because he is a successful businessman outside of KISS? Successful outside of KISS? Let’s examine further as chronologically as possible.

> Managing Bands: Gene originally “discovered” Van Halen. True story. However, he was unable to get Van Halen a record contract. How bad must you be if you couldn’t get Van Halen a record contract?
He also managed Liza Minelli for a time in the 80s. Remember how popular her music was in the 80s?

> Acting Career: Gene was in the monster hits Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park, Runaway and Trick Or Treat. Remember those? Got them on DVD?
Those aren’t really business though…those were jobs.
He did produce and star in the KISS themed movie Detroit Rock City. And yes, it also was a flop.

> Music Producer: Gene produced albums in the 80s. Probably the most well known was by a band called Black’N’Blue. Never heard of them? Most haven’t. They were awful and never even had a gold album.

> Record Label: In the 80s Gene had his own record label, Simmons Records. He discovered and released albums by such acts as Silent Rage and House Of Lords…and a few others. None managed gold success. (As a note, House Of Lords went on to have gold albums AFTER moving away from Simmons.)
In the new millennium Gene resurrected Simmons Records. After a year he released one album by an artist named BAG. Nobody bought it.

> Comic Books: Officially, KISS had an incredibly successful comic for Marvel Comics back in the 70s. Since then KISS has tried to release a comic book series 3 times for 3 different companies. None lasted longer than a year. (Technically this is a KISS thing…I just wanted to point out that a concept practically stolen from comic books has not been able to achieve any success in comic books.)

> Clothing Line: Gene tried to start a clothing line in conjunction with a successful company called Dragonfly. There was supposed to be a boutique in LA. It never opened and the line failed within a year. He has now partnered with Dussault. Have you seen all of your friends, family and co-workers wearing Simmons-Dussault clothes?

> magazine publishing: Gene started his own magazine, just like Oprah and Rosie. It was called Gene Simmons tongue. It didn’t even last 6 months.

> Book Publishing: Gene has released 4 books on his own book imprint line. Now keep in mind, these have all been KISS “themed” or “related” in some way and had some success. The imprint also released a book by his “not wife” Shannon Tweed, but few bought it. He has a new book out recently about the history of prostitution…it didn’t make the best-seller list. He has not released anything not written by or related to him.

> NGTV: This is a company that produces humorous content for YOUTUBE. Gene has been made the “Chairman” of the company. He does not create the content or run the business daily. I have no idea how much money someone can make by posting content onto YOUTUBE for free. [editorial: Gene appears to be little more than a paid spokesman that has been given a title.]

> Marketing: Gene has been given a lot of credit over the years for successfully marketing KISS. I just want to say that KISS really markets itself, doesn’t it? There also seems to be some confusion with the difference between “licensing” and “marketing”. Marketing is a process of promotion in order to generate interest in a product. Advertising, appearances, communication. KISS really doesn’t do that. KISS licenses their intellectual property. What that means is that company’s approach KISS and say, “If you let me put KISS’s logo on our toilet seats, we’ll pay you $XXX.” Licensing is NOT marketing. NOT refusing money from people that will do ALL the work putting YOUR property on stuff isn’t genius…it proves you are not a complete moron.

> Simmons-Abramson Marketing: Based on the perception that Gene is a genius marketer, Gene partnered with a well known marketing guy and started looking for work. Gene likes to brag that companies pay them $2Million for their services.
– INDY: SAM was hired by INDY racing 3 years ago to market their races. You’ve seen all the advertising and promotion, right? Well, the good news is that after 3 years attendance, viewership and merch sales are ALL down from 3 years ago. (Look it up, it’s true.) Isn’t marketing supposed to INCREASE all of those things?
– Frank’s Energy Drink: This is a new energy drink on the market. SAM has been marketing them for a year now. So I’m sure you’ve heard all about it. I’m sure you have seen it at retail locations all over. No? Did you see the sex tape of Gene in his black socks banging one of the Frank’s Energy Drink product models?

> TV: OK…Gene has the #2 reality show on A&E…within a certain demographic. It will be entering it’s 4th season soon. I can’t deny that this has SOME level of success. It does kinda feel like this is the second best selling burger at the local diner being compared to the success of the Whopper, though…

• Companies want to license KISS intellectual property because KISS has a large fanbase and they are part of popular world culture. KISS has a large fanbase and are a part of popular world culture because of WAY more than Gene Simmons. There were several other band members over the years that contributed, 3 others that developed the original concept right along with Gene. There was also a record label, management team, lawyers, choreographers, songwriters, etc.
The fact that KISS has been very successfully licensed does NOT make Gene a genius on ANYTHING. It makes him not a moron for not turning down the no-risk, no-effort, free money.
• Gene Simmons has failed fabulously and repeatedly at his business ventures outside of KISS. See ALL of the above examples. (The above does not include investment blunders that Gene and KISS are well known for…like failed horse farms and property investments.)
• Just because people give you money to do something (marketing), doesn’t make you a genius or even GOOD at what you do. It means you are famous and stupid people will stupidly pay large sums of money to get access to you and your perceived fame. It would be genius if you successfully grew there business via your marketing. Now, as shown above…SAM has failed regularly at what they do. So do you think people are paying SA because of their proven track record or because Gene Simmons is in KISS?

Gene is not a genius.
Gene has what he has because of KISS and because of stupid people with too much money.

-Sir Pent



  1. As another note…Gene Simmons being overrated outside of KISS has in no way diminished my love of KISS.

  2. I’m also a big KISS fan. My favorite member has always been Gene Simmons…but some of his extra-curricular projects are embarressing!

    Anyways, he was here in Tokyo recently for the filming of a Japanese movie (“Detroit Metal City”) that he cameos in.

    My post about it is here:

  3. choppernewt Says:

    Metro always destroys what he loves the most. He’s like Stitch that way. He needs a little Hawaiian girl to teach him about life, love, and laughter.

    Thanks for the link, tokyo5, that was an interesting read.

  4. Sir Pent…

    Thanks for visiting my site. I responded to your comment…here:


    >Thanks for the link, tokyo5, that was an interesting read.

    ありがとう (Thank you) for the kind words! Please feel free to comment on any of my posts anytime.

  5. What I want to know is how the hell does Sir Pent know all this? This is like a research paper on Gene Simmons. I didn’t know any of this, other than that he was in KISS and that he did a bad movie in the 80s with Tom Selleck.

    Pent, go play drums! Put this energy into percussion and you’ll be a new John Bonham.

  6. Thirty years of accumulated fan knowledge, mostly. Gene Simmons has a website where he responds to fan emails almost daily. (I read his site just about every day at some point.) Most of the emails consist of people telling him he’s a genius.

    I figured he wouldn’t post MY email on his site with me questioning his genius status…so I put it on ours.

  7. >Thirty years of accumulated fan knowledge, mostly.

    Yeah, somehow that stuff is common knowledge to KISS fans.

    >Gene Simmons has a website

    I hate his website. I never visit it. His image was better before he went online.

    By the way, I responded to your comment on my site again ( )

    Thanks again.

  8. KISS fans have read, re-read and discussed such matters together in dark corners for decades. Every conceit, every foible, every triumph.

    His website is awful, but at the same time I’m fascinated that…even as big of an ass he is…he actually responds personally to fan emails almost daily. Plus, the things he says are so asinine that I have to check daily to see how many idiots are actually buying into it.

  9. There’s no direct link to it, but on the “September 18” entry on Gene Simmons’ site ( ) , it’s about Gene’s cameo in the Japanese movie “Detroit Metal City” (that I mentioned ( )).

  10. I just wrote a blog post about growing up in the 70s and 80s.
    Please check it out (and leave a comment):


  11. I did watch part of it.
    Just like this blog-post, it proved he is no genius.

  12. Well obviously Sir Pent is also not a genius. It occurs to me that someone so proud of the fact he can disrespect others is an idiot. If you don’t like his brand, don’t buy it. If you don’t like his show, watch something else. If you hate KISS, listen to Manilow instead. People who complain about others usually have low self esteem because of their own shortcomings. Me, I just bought every piece of Simmons Moneybag Leather available. I am a genius! I got it at a 70% discount off retail!

  13. 1) Manilow is awesome and I really DO listen to him. (Anyone that would disrespect an artist by the type of allusion you made is an idiot.)

    2) Thank you for revealing my low self-esteem resulting from my own shortcomings. Thank you Dr. Chris…I mean, I’m assuming you’re a licensed therapist.

    3) I’m also impressed that you have bought EVERY item at 70% off. That’s still too much…way too much for that crap…but more power to you and your genius.

  14. Point Proven! Checkmate.

    • choppernewt Says:

      Not sure what point you proved Chris, but congratulations, whatever it was.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve stayed at SP’s place and was stuck in a room full (by which I mean FULL) with the most frightening, enormous collection of KISS memorabilia I’ve ever seen outside of some kind of convention booth, so if this phantom point that was proved is that SP ain’t a real KISS fan, I gotta tell you you’re mistaken. Dude loves some KISS.


  15. Chris…

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re too young to know better. But when you are rude and tactless, it’s impossible to respect your opinion.

    >If you don’t like his show, watch something else. If you hate KISS, listen to Manilow instead

    And if you don’t like this blog, don’t visit.

    Besides, whether someone is a KISS fan or not, they’re still entitled to an opinion.
    I’m a KISS fan, but I’d never buy any of that Moneybag clothing, personally.

  16. T5- thnx for stoping in. Luckily Chopper Newt erased my fourth point. (Talk about rude and immature…)

    Chopper- I do have a few KIISS things…

    Sir Pent (remote from Vegas)

  17. Funny, I also contemplated erasing Pent’s extremely crass remark, but Chopper got it first. I also thought about erasing the whole damned exchange, maybe even this whole post!

    • choppernewt Says:

      Oh, hell no, this is what comment boards are for… jackasses expressing dumb opinions. My only problem was with what was basically flat-out name calling, and that’s just because it tends to kill the fun. Pent is an effective weapon that sometimes requires subtle aiming.

      Half our hits come from KISS searches. Let’s not kill the golden goose.

  18. Sort of like a Pent-shot gun? Well, as I wrote, I contemplated erasing it, but didn’t.

  19. If Gene is a genius or not is not the issue. No on on this blog is qualified to make that assessment unless as Sir Pent pointed out they are a therapist or such. The point I was trying to make is simple. We all wish we were successful and financially well off. It tends to irritate us when we see others making money for basically doing nothing. However, airing a laundry list of issues as to why you personally think he is not a genius is really just sour grapes. If you have any KISS merchandise at all, you are just another sheep like the rest of us.

  20. Cool. I have absolutely no KISS merchandise whatsoever.

  21. choppernewt Says:

    Yeah, me neither. I fraking hate KISS. No sheep, we – eh Gecko? I do need some Hannah Montana stickers to put on my netbook, though, if anybody’s got some spares. Talk about a genius…

  22. Oy. No matter how sarcastic and mocking I am, I’m always one-upped at it by Chopper Newt.

  23. @Chris- you obviously have poor reading comprehension skills.
    I am now dismissing you as you are not worth my time.

  24. He´s a business man… behind a rock band there are a lot o business and he learn throught years of KISS;

  25. I dispute that he’s a “true” business man.

    Gene is rich and famous because he was 1/4 of a successful enterprise that was spearheaded by “real” business men.

    – – – – – – –

    If you were to split up his money into 2 piles:
    1=Kiss/Kiss-related money
    2=money from his other business ventures

    Now, take away pile #1.

    Would Gene Simmons still be able to afford that big mansion?

    – – – – – –

    If you were to then wipe everyone’s memory that there ever was a KISS and all that you knew about Gene Simmons the business man was that:
    – he failed as a record executive
    – he failed as a record label owner
    – he failed as a movie actor
    – he failed as clothing line owner
    – he failed as a marketing company owner

    Would YOU give a man with THAT track record YOUR money?

    • choppernewt Says:

      YOU’VE given him a lot of YOUR money…

      • I’ve given KISS a lot of my money. I’ve not purchased any Gene Simmons Moneybag brand merchandise.

      • You’re antipathy to Gene Simmons is quite remarkable. Not that it isn’t justified…. I have no antipathy toward him, just apathy toward him and KISS as a whole.

      • I don’t dislike Gene Simmons. I’m actually a fan. I hope he makes millions and millions. He has written some of my favorite songs of all time.

        It’s just that over the last few years with his TV show and his website, the word Genius keeps getting applied to him. He’s not a genius, he’s famous.

        I might feel different if a band he produced had a hit.
        I might feel different if any of his record labels had a single platinum record.
        I might feel different if any of his movies made a profit.
        I might feel different if any of his clothing lines made a profit.
        I might feel different if his marketing firm succeeded in making his clients bigger.

  26. I heard that the new KISS album will be released on October 6 and will be titled “Sonic Boom“.

    Have you heard about that?

  27. Dear Sir Pent, you are a BIG ASSHOLE !!!!!!!!

  28. Dear Sir Pent, you are BIG A S S H O L E ! ! ! As I see.

  29. Sir Pentさん、
    You’re in Chicago. Are you going to “Lollapalooza” music festival there this summer?

    A Japanese metal band that I’ve listened to since the early ’90s will play there…

    • I am just outside of Chicago…but I will most likely not go to Lollapalooza. I’m just not an all-day-festival kind of guy.

      • I don’t care for festivals either.

        KISS was scheduled to play at the annual “Summer Sonic” festival this summer near Tokyo.
        I may have gone if they played…but they canceled.

        KISS is now tentatively scheduled to come to Tokyo this autumn (as a “KISS – Sonic Boom” tour…not a festival).

        KISS did play a festival in Japan in 2006.
        They called it their “Rising Sun Tour” because it was for ‘Japan only’.

  30. Gene Simmons is the Ultimate played out celebrity fail. Makes me want to rip the tv out from my wall and throw it out the window.

    If you support this man you have significant problems yourself, clearly.

  31. Interesting article, however I think it is important to realise that despite his business blunders outside of Kiss, Simmons has clearly had considerable success. If you look up Paul Stanley’s net worth (generated almost solely from his Kiss-related ventures) its about $125 million, whereas Gene’s (generated from both Kiss and his own ventures) is estimated at $300 million. These may or may not be accurate estimations, but it goes to show that if Gene has over twice the wealth as Paul, he’s clearly made a fair amount outside of Kiss, or else invested the money from Kiss far better and spent less-either way this demonstrates financial acumen. Also what many do not realise is that ‘failure’ in business is irrelevant-Buffett lost $20 billion in 2008, Edison ‘failed’ over 1000 times before producing a working light-bulb prototype, yet these men are not considered failures but incredibly successful. What is important is that the aspiring businessman learns from failure and picks themselves up again, which, to his credit, is clearly what Gene has done. I’m also a Kiss fan, but do not like Gene Simmons-he appears to lack empathy and be somewhat self-obsessed. Nonetheless I respect his achievements and whilst he has had many well-publicised business failures, he has clearly met with considerable success as his estimated net worth speaks for itself.

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