June 1, 2023
Gene Simmons circa 1980

When Kiss lumbered on to the scene in 1974 with their self-titled debut album, no one could’ve predicted how much a part of popular culture their bat-winged, fire-breathing, blood-drooling totem, Gene Simmons, would become.

When Simmons – born Chaim Witz in Israel, the son of Hungarian Jews – relocated to New York at a young age he immediately embraced the American dream. As Kiss’s career exploded – quite literally – the bassist/vocalist proved he was no shock-rock novelty act, masterminding an extensive merchandising range and helping transform the band into a global business.

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