Real Name: Chaim Witz (changed to Gene Klein, then Gene Simmons)
Birthday: August 25, 1949
Married: No, but has two children with Shannon Tweed (Nicholas and Sophia)
Gene Simmons was born in Israel in 1949. After coming to the United States as a youngster, he fell in love with The Beatles after seeing them on TV. He began to write music shortly thereafter. Gene worked his way through college and taught sixth grade for a few months before giving it all up for music.
Gene Simmons formed KISS with Paul Stanley in 1972. After disbanding a group called Wicked Lester, they decided that they wanted to form a group that they themselves would like to see: a band that gave something extra to the fans in terms of not only music, but stage spectacle as well.
After finding Peter Criss, through an ad he placed in Rolling Stone, and Ace Frehley, through auditions, KISS began rehearsing and playing anywhere and as often as they could. Landing a recording contract with Casablanca Records, KISS' first album appeared in 1974.
Gene's makeup character, the demon, reflected his long love of horror movies. It has mainly been Gene's on-stage antics that have gained the band critical notoriety; the blood-spitting, the fire- breathing and the flying have all become synonymous with KISS concerts.
In the mid-80's, Gene Simmons began acting in movies. First appearing in Runaway, with Tom Selleck, in 1984, Gene began appearing in a series of villain roles that he seemed born to play. Unfortunately, Gene's movie career took much of his time away from KISS and the music suffered. The albums released at that time, (Asylum, Crazy Nights, the new material on Smashes, Thrashes and Hits and Hot in the Shade) while not bad, were inconsistent efforts and rather bland. Gene's influence was not as prevalent as it could have been had he put his full effort into the band. Gene himself realized this and when he put his heart back into the band, they created one of their finest albums ever: Revenge.
Gene is sometimes referred to as the leader of the band, although he denies this. Peter once referred to him as a "drill sargeant" in an interview. Gene has a strong work ethic and this gives him a "do your best or leave" attitude. This attitude is one of the main reasons KISS has survived as long as they have. Some feel that Gene's work ethic is fueled by his love of money and that the recent re-merchandization of KISS is because Gene sees dollar signs at every opportunity. This might be debated, but even Gene helps this opinion along by signing his last name with a dollar sign in place of the S.