Gene Simmons: I was paid millions of pounds for a one-hour gig at a royal event…

Gene Simmons: I was paid millions of pounds for a one-hour gig at a royal event…

Gene Simmons, singer of Kiss, now lives in a mansion valued at £30million in California Gene Simmons of rock band Kiss grew up so poor he could not even afford to buy toilet paper and worked as a garbage collector and dish-washer. He now lives in a mansion valued at £30million, owns a comic book


Gene Simmons, singer of Kiss, now lives in a mansion valued at £30million in California

Gene Simmons, singer of Kiss, now lives in a mansion valued at £30million in California

Gene Simmons of rock band Kiss grew up so poor he could not even afford to buy toilet paper and worked as a garbage collector and dish-washer.

He now lives in a mansion valued at £30million, owns a comic book collection worth £3million, but has never forgotten that money is hard to come by.

Next year, Kiss will bow out with its ‘End Of The Road’ tour and will be performing in the UK in July. Tickets are available from website kissonline.com/tour.

What did your parents teach you about money?

My father left me and my mother when I was six. My mother was Hungarian and at age 14 was transported to a concentration camp in Germany.

She provided for us by the sweat of her brow and taught me to have a good work ethic. 

We moved to America when I was eight and she worked in a factory making coats. It was not unionised so they paid her whatever they wanted – half a cent for every button sewn on a winter coat.

Was money tight in your family?

Yes. If my mother did not work hard enough we did not eat. When living in Israel we had little, lived in one room and the toilet was a hole outside. 

I never knew about toilet paper and could only dream at the thought of blowing your nose on a piece of paper and throwing it away after using it only once.

I have never forgotten that money is hard to come by. I now have a big house but I could have one in many countries. I could own a fleet of jets, but I do not want any of that. I live comfortably.

What was the first paid work you ever did?

Working for a butcher after school when aged 12. They would chop off the chickens’ heads on a block and the fat would build up. 

It was my job to wash off the blood and guts. I got paid $9.25 a week which was a lot of money in those days.

Gene said he was paid a million pounds to speak at a royal event - and he didn't sing

Gene said he was paid a million pounds to speak at a royal event - and he didn't sing

Gene said he was paid a million pounds to speak at a royal event – and he didn’t sing

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?

No. I have never lived above my means. I washed dishes and picked up garbage, but I never struggled to make ends meet. If I was down and out, I never knew it at the time.

I always had a job and could pay my way.

Have you ever been paid silly money?

Yes. There was a royal event I had to speak at for an hour and they paid me millions of pounds. It is not proper to say which royal family it was, but they just wanted me there. God knows why. I did not even perform, I just spoke.

What was the best year of your financial life?

It was 2016. I made millions of pounds, but I have made millions every year for more than 40 years.

What is the most expensive thing you bought for fun?

I do not buy diamonds, gold or go on luxury vacations. I have an expensive comic book collection comprising lots of the original Marvel comics.

But I did not put together that collection just for fun – it is an investment worth two or three million pounds.

What is your biggest money mistake?

The biggest was lending $400,000 to someone I thought was a friend. I never saw that money again.

The best money decision you have made?

Staying in the US. I could not make the kind of money I get anywhere else in the world. America is where the action is.

Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market?

I save quite a bit into a retirement fund and I do play the stock market. I would urge everybody to as long as they spread their risk.

Do you own any property?

My home in California is a large house with acres of land. It is 16,500 sq ft and has eight rooms. We like big empty spaces. It is probably worth anything between £25million and £40million.

What is the one little luxury you treat yourself to?

Frozen yogurt. I am a glutton for it – I do not drink, smoke or get high. I like to put lots of toppings on it: hot fudge, caramel and cherry sauce, pieces of fruit, crushed walnuts and Oreos. 

It looks beautiful when I get it, but I mix it all up so it looks disgusting.

If you were Chancellor, what is the first thing you would do?

I would keep the UK in the European Union. I understand Europe is a mess, but remaining in the EU would be better for the British economy.

What is your number one financial priority?

Me. It sounds selfish and arrogant, but I have to put myself first because if I cannot support myself, then I cannot help anyone else.

 



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