Gene Simmons is a rock music legend and he just appeared on America’s Got Talent, with his band KISS. Upon appearing on the show, the band has announced a Farewell Tour, titled “One Last KISS, End of the Road”. Simmons posted the announcement on social media, following the AGT performance, writing, “By the way, we just announced the One Last, KISS End of the Road World Tour! It has been an amazing journey with you all. We couldn’t leave without saying goodbye. This show will have the most explosions, the most hits and be the loudest yet!”
While this may be the “end of the road” for KISS tours, it’s certainly not the end of the road for Simmons, who continues to come up with new business ventures and opportunities. Simmons recently helped raise money at a 9/11 event, he has a new book titled “27: The Legend & Mythology of the 27 Club” coming out and he has been promoting his Moneybag soda line. Sitting down with Simmons to talk about his latest projects and, just life in general, it’s easy to see that, behind the makeup, Simmons is just a caring and funny guy. Get to know more about Simmons in our interview below, as we ask him about his soda, book, and the KISS tour rumor that had been going around, prior to the announcement.
HEAVY: Let’s get started with your new book that’s hitting shelves on September 25th. It’s called “27: The Legend & Mythology of the 27 Club”. For those unfamiliar with the term “the 27 Club,” how would you explain it to them?
SIMMONS: The astonishing thing is how many famous folks have either committed suicide or died for other reasons, but 27 seems to be the age … Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison … It just goes on and on and on. People are going to enjoy the read because it’s fascinating, but, what I hope people take note to just “hold on a second”, because one out of five people in America either suffers from depression or self-esteem issues, or they know somebody. And, that means that you can help, just by getting involved in the conversation. Sometimes you can save lives just by talking to people.
I’m not a doctor. I’m not a philosopher, but it’s a serious subject. Someone could be suffering and often, it just takes someone to come up to you and say, “How are you doing?” It can take just one person to try to help.
HEAVY: So, what motivated you to take on this subject?
SIMMONS: Well, I’ve written a few books. The last one was “On Power,” which was kind of a business book … There are certain subject areas that fascinate me. I’m already halfway through the notes on my next book, which is going to be called “The Art of War In Life and Business”. I often wake up in the middle of the night and just have ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come when the phone stops ringing.
HEAVY: Well, you seem to have done it all. Is there something that sticks out to you that you would love to take on?
SIMMONS: Next is a health food line. I also have a cannabis company … launching a music festival … a lot of stuff.
HEAVY: Nice. Well, going back to your book and all the music artists who continue to lose their lives at such a young age, do you think we hear about it more because of social media and how fast news travels today?
SIMMONS: I don’t know. I do know that, as things get easier, we become less social. I mean, how many times do people walk down the street because they get run over by a car because their face is buried in their phones? Sometimes it’s funny.
(Simmons then shows me a video of a woman falling into a fountain because she’s busy paying attention to her cell phone instead of where she is walking.)
I think technology is a great tool, but we are becoming less social.
HEAVY: Let’s get into your soda. How did you come up with Moneybag Soda?
SIMMONS: Well, let me introduce you to Paul (Janik Jr.). How did it all happen?
JANIK: Well, my brother and I own a bottling company that has been in our family for three generations now. And, we’ve been huge KISS fans our whole lives. So, we had taken a ride out to Cleveland to go meet Gene to get some posters signed at Wizard World. We started talking to Gene, and we had our kids there. We were just shootin’ the shit and, so, finally, he asked what we do. We told him we’re bottlers and he ended up calling me about a week later. He then introduced us to the MoneyBag logo that he has the trademark to.
HEAVY: Did you pinch yourself when that happened?
SIMMONS: (Jokingly) I pinched HIM!
JANIK: It’s been fantastic, really working with Gene. As soon as I said “hello” on the phone, my wife saw the look on my face … My brother and I are huge fans. Gene is such a great guy to work with and he didn’t pay me to say that either. We put all of our artistic creativity together and came up with some great products.
HEAVY: I see the brand has kind of a vintage look to the bottles.
JANIK: We really did this to have something that appeals to the masses and our theme is vintage … vintage flavoring, all-natural flavors. Real ginger in the Ginger Ale. Real vanilla in the Cream Soda. None of this was designed on a computer. These were all hand-drawn logos and we kept the vintage look.
HEAVY: So, where does the drive come from?
SIMMONS: The idea that you all of a sudden come up with something. That’s not it. It’s opportunities and you can just do it by yourself. It’s the great American work ethic. You can do anything.
HEAVY: Changing gears a little. I hear that you might be in talks for a major KISS tour ..?
SIMMONS: It is true … that is a rumor. (He smiles.)
Just one week later, Simmons revealed the good news to KISS fans on his Instagram page.