Interview with Gene Simmons, Rock Legend & Entrepreneur
On May 1, 2019, Gene Simmons will serve as Keynote speaker for Kahner Global's 4th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit West in Beverly Hills, CA. The event will host more than 150 industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking.
1. Tell us about how you got started in music and business.
When I was 13 years old, I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. That lit the fire.
2. When you met Paul Stanley in 1970, was it clear that you had something special or different?
Actually when we met, he didn’t like me in the least. But over time we figured out we were two different sides of the same coin. He is a pro. Our partnership has spanned nearly 50 years. Not too many people can say that about a business partner.
3. It was clear from the beginning that KISS was “not just another rock band.” Your love of comic books is what led to your signature face paint, costumes, and out-of-this-world concerts and experiences. From which comics did you draw your inspiration?
Marvel Comics… specifically Doctor Strange, Spiderman in the Silver Surfer.
4. When was it clear that KISS had an opportunity to merchandise and expand beyond the stage, and what was the first licensed/branded product you launched?
5. Your career spans far beyond music into fashion, hospitality, television and film, literary works, philanthropy, and more. How do you decide what your next move(s) will be?
I am blessed. Opportunities come to me. I do my research and choose my affiliations carefully.
6. Do you approach each industry, brand, or business venture the same way?
Everything in life is unique, demanding one’s own due diligence initially, and a good understanding of the 30,000 foot perspective. That sounds easier than it is. The real truth is, everything requires hard work.
7. You’ve received so many awards and accolades in your career, from KISS’ honor as America’s #1 gold record award-winning group of all time in all categories (RIAA), to the Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award and beyond. What award(s) are you most proud of and why?
My favorite award was given to me by my daughter, Sophie. The award reads “The Best Father In The World”
8. It is well known that you are, and have always been, in your words “perpetually sober.” What about the cannabis industry piqued your interest?
It is about freedom of choice. New research findings changed my mind completely.
9. It was announced last year that you serve as Chief Evangelist Officer for Canadian Cannabis Company, Invictus MD. What made you decide to lend your branding and marketing expertise to the cannabis industry?
Having done my own research, I became fascinated with the industry. I met with a number of notable Cannabis companies. I like Invictus and feel they have a solid foundation for growth. I was offered the opportunity, and I gladly accepted.
10. You’re currently working on several brands and business ventures, in addition to your work within the cannabis industry. What’s next for you?
New family office, a fully-funded film entity, work on behalf of IAC Automotive, Liberty Natural Foods fruits and vegetables, and many others.