Metal Sludge

Metal Sludge

KASH FOR KISS … Gene Simmons on the future of KISS, selling their Music Catalog, Vodka and Cryto

Gene Simmons of Kiss

A Journal of Musical Things — Gene Simmons is at the other end of a Zoom call. He’s at his home in LA with the family and the dogs, interested in spreading the word about his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: a Canadian-sourced vodka called Moneybag. Here’s how the conversation went.

Alan Cross: The last time we spoke, you called me a “very handsome man.” That’s sustained me through the pandemic. Thank you. I do have some new questions for you. How many KISS products are there now?

Gene Simmons: It’s a living, breathing thing, so there are always new ones and old ones that lapse in their window of opportunity. But I’d approximate between 3,500 to 4,000. Lifetime? North of 5,000.

AC: You’ve always struck me as a straight-edge sort of person…

GS: I’ve never willingly or consciously taken drugs or smoked. I’ve never been high, I’ve never been drunk, and I’ve never smoked cigarettes.

AC: So why this new vodka?

GS: Why not? We have a restaurant chain called Rock & Brews and I don’t necessarily partake in all the stuff on the menu, but it’s not about me. As the head of a company…I’m not a fan of spinach, but if you want a spinach souffle, my job is to give you the best spinach souffle you’ve ever had. So I don’t personally drink, but so what? There are plenty of people who love vodka and Moneybag vodka is a superior vodka. If you love vodka, you’re not going to find anything better. It’s five times distilled.

AC: What else have you been doing during the pandemic? I’ve heard something about you and painting.

GS: I spent quite a bit of time last year in Whistler, BC, with Shannon, who is a Newfie (both of our kids are dual citizens). Because of the pandemic, I self-quarantined and I had time. So I rented out a warehouse. I’ve always doodled all my life so I started painting. I ordered eight-foot-wide and about four-foot-high canvases and just started painting, never thinking anyone would care or give me the time of day.

The paintings–almost 40 of them–happened to catch the eye of the largest art gallery in Las Vegas. There was a big art show. I didn’t know what I was doing, but apparently people like it. I’d never tried paintbrushes. I didn’t understand how the combinations of paint worked on top of each other, what acrylics did. You do it, fall on your face and get up and try again.

I also learned stuff about crypto from a nice guy named Tyler Winklevoss, one of the Winklevoss twins. He was kind enough to mentor me. And I dove into it. I threw millions of dollars into it. I bought Bitcoin at about $10,000. I personally believe it’ll go to $100,000 in six months to a year. I’ve got about 14 different cryptos: Ethereum, Litecoin–all kinds of stuff.

AC: I’m surprised there isn’t a KISS crypto.

GS: Working on it, sir.

AC: One last question: You’re not going to sell your catalogue to anyone, are you?

GS: How much have you got? Bob Dylan sold his stuff for $300-400 million. The problem–and I love the guy and worship the ground he walks on–but [his music] isn’t going to mean a lot to a 20-year-old. They don’t care about “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Maggie’s Farm”–they just don’t. Very few pieces of music stand the test of time. What KISS has that no other musical entity has is trademarks. Our faces are bigger than the music, bigger than anything.

Springsteen just sold for $500 million and what you get is the music, not the imagery. I’ve never seen a Springsteen cartoon, comic book, or action figures. KISS is the only one. So what you’re buying into–if anyone does the right price–you’re into buying the imagery that has stood the test of time. Our analogy is Santa Claus/Superman: Imagery that is trademarked so that no one can reproduce. And no other musical act has that.

To read the full interview with Alan Cross go HERE



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