KISS have done very well financially over the years, not only being a top concert draw with a great stage show, but seemingly having a knack for finding just about every possible marketing and branding opportunity. In a new interview with American Songwriter, Gene Simmons speaks on his wealth and explains why it shouldn’t be viewed as a negative for him to comment on it.
As Simmons explains, “We’re not supposed to revel in our riches. But that’s bullshit. That’s bullshit because everybody if I walk around and I walk into a room and said I’m worth a couple hundred million dollars, or a billion, or whatever they say, I don’t keep track. People would go, ‘Listen to that guy, what an asshole!’ But if I just won the lottery and didn’t work a day in my life for it, everybody goes, ‘Fantastic! You won a shitload of money and you didn’t work at all for it!’ I’ve worked for every penny I got. I should be the one that should be able to say, ‘Look at all the money I got.’ But nope, can’t do that.”
He continues, “I don’t know how to say this, but it’s better to be rich than poor. It is. You can create jobs if you’re rich. You can give money to philanthropy if you’re rich. A poor person never gave me a job. And the person who came up with the phrase, ‘Money is the root of all evil’ is a moron. Money is not the root of all evil. Lack of money is the root of all evil.”
Simmons states, “The reason people hold up 7-11 is they don’t have money. Why would I ever hold up a 7-11 when I could just buy the block? The reason for crime is people don’t have enough money. One of the cures for lowering crime is give people jobs, give them something to do so they can feed their families, so they don’t have to go out and steal.”
KISS were in the midst of their “End of the Road” farewell tour last year when the pandemic hit, but they ended 2020 in their very over-the-top manor, playing a world record breaking livestream show from Dubai on New Year’s Eve.
The “KISS 2020 Goodbye” show set Guinness world records for “highest flame projection in a music concert” (35 meters / nearly 115 feet) and “most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert” (that would be 73). In total, the show included more than $1 million in pyrotechnics alone. So KISS’ riches were also reinvested give viewers an even bigger and more impressive stage show.