On August 25th, we celebrate the God Of Thunder, the Demon and tongue in KISS, the one and only Gene Simmons!

As we celebrate Gene’s birthday and another year of new KISS merchandise licences (can you believe there is over 2,500 licenses to date – everything from bowling balls to coffins) we thought we’d dig a little deeper and see what we didn’t know about Gene Simmons.

This is a hard task considering KISS formed in New York in 1973. Being in the spotlight that long, there aren’t many secrets anymore. The world was a much different place in the 70s & 80s. KISS covered their faces in public and no one knew what they actually looked like until they “unmasked” in 1983. Since then, Gene’s starred in movies, TV shows and even in two reality shows, including Gene Simmons Family Jewels where he let the cameras into so much of his life that we even got to see Gene and his wife, Shannon Tweed-Simmons have plastic surgery.

So how do we uncover aspects not widely shared about Gene Simmons? We’re JACK 96.9 so that means we Google it 😉

Everyone asks about the tongue (yes it’s real and not a cow tongue as reported). It measures in at seven inches long, so if you ever have Gene over, make sure the floor is clean. So will we find out in this article that Gene Simmons is the ice cream eating champion of the world? Let’s find out.

Here we go… 9 things you didn’t know about Gene Simmons.

1. Gene Simmons Was Born Where?

Gene Simmons was actually born Chaim Witz on August 25th, 1949 in Haifa, Israel where he lived with his mother Florence until the age of 8 when they moved to New York City. It wasn’t until they moved to America that Gene learned to speak English through his new love of comic books and TV.


2. You’ll Never Believe Where Gene Worked Before Being In KISS

Gene had many jobs before he was in KISS, but the two most notable were as a 6th-grade teacher at Spanish Harlem in New York City and a brief stint working at Vogue Magazine.


3. What A Love Life

Gene Simmons has always been open with the number of women he has been with over the years, but before meeting Shannon Tweed in 1982, Gene Simmons had been linked to Liza Minnelli, Cher and Diana Ross.


(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


4. That (Clean) Rockstar Lifestyle

Despite the rock ‘n’ roll culture of the ’70s and ’80s, Gene Simmons has never done drugs, smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol.


5. Man Of 1,000 Talents

Gene Simmons can breathe fire 15 feet – he’s been branded as one of the top 5 fire breathers in the world. Pretty amazing since the idea of breathing fire came from KISS’ original manager in 1974. No one in the band wanted to do it so Gene was voluntold it would be his bit. The first time he performed the trick he had so much hairspray in his hair it lit right up, burning half a head of hair on stage. He’s since only lit himself on fire a handful of times … better than we would do!


Gene SImmons - KISS
(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


6. Gene Simmons & Peggy Bundy?

While recording his solo album in 1978, Gene hired Katay Sagal (best known as Peggy Bundy on Married… With Children) to sing back up vocals.


7. Take That C-3PO

Gene speaks 5 languages fluently: Hungarian, Hebrew, High German, Japanese and, of course, English


8. Gene Discovered One Of The Biggest Bands Of All-Time

Gene Simmons discovered Van Halen – He even signed them to his record label and began cutting demos at the famous Electic Lady Studio in New York City. Realizing both Gene and the band weren’t happy with the demos and due to Gene’s crazy tour schedule they decided to part ways and Van Halen went on to they sign with Warner Music. (Eddie Van Halen auditioned for KISS in 1982 when Ace Frehley left the band… imagine how different the world would be now if Eddie joined KISS)


9. He’s a philanthropist

Simmons has been recognized for his efforts to give back through various charitable endeavours. In 2013, he won the MEND Humanitarian award for his support of Mending Kids International, which provides surgical care to children in developing countries. “I don’t have the right NOT to give back and neither do you. Some mother somewhere is crying her heart out because her child can’t have what we have in this country and we can change that,” he said during his speech.


There is no doubt Gene Simmons has lived a great life, cheers to you Gene and many more years (and licenses to come).

(Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)


Filed under: gene simmons, KISS, Rock N Roll, Rock N Roll Hall of Fame