Top ten answers on the board – here’s the question: what’s Gene Simmons most famous for?
Indeed, there’d be ten answers on the board, depending on who you ask: forming the rock band KISS, two reality TV shows (Gene Simmons Family Jewels; Celebrity Apprentice), a film actor, an author of seven books, being a merchandizing machine, a serial entrepreneur and much more.
Formed in 1973, KISS accomplished what less than a handful of other bands have. It includes releasing twenty one albums, consistently selling out arenas, and plastering their name on everything imaginable, and still going strong.
The group boasts over three thousand licensed and merchandised items, including condoms, caskets, a comic book, action figures – the list goes on.
In that same vein, Simmons has become not only one of the world’s most recognized personalities, but a successful businessman, whose projects included co-founding an arena football team, producing movies (including the upcoming Wesley Snipes vehicle, Armed Response), starting restaurants, publishing a magazine, and opening horse racing tracks.
What about Gene Simmons makes him so successful, so in-demand, so business savvy? Inside The Mind Of… is about to find out.
Your next business book, On Power – what’s the premise?
Gene Simmons: At the end of the day it’s better for the ‘good guys’ to have the power than the ‘bad guys’. So, it is your duty, technologically speaking, physically, mentally, your self-esteem, but also who you are, where you are, what you do, who you do it with – ‘cause you will be judged by the company you keep – to be powerful. And to keep getting more and more powerful, if only not to get picked on, if only not to be wrapping fish for somebody else who maybe isn’t a nice person, like you.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth” is a nice phrase in a holy book, but not in the real world. The ones who get to inherit the Earth are the powerful.
Your book Me, Inc. is filled with business advice. What’s something experience has taught you in business that you can impart to other people in business?
Gene Simmons: In simple terms, all those books and classes you take where people charge you a lot of money – 10 Secrets of Success, How to be Rich and Famous and Powerful in Ten Steps – they are lies. Clearly, they’re lies because if all we had to do was follow those ten steps, we’d all be rich, famous, and powerful, right?
But it’s not like cooking directions. You know, here’s how to bake a cake. Step 1, you put 3 oz. of butter, and sugar, and you know all that stuff. And then, the same result happens. By and large, the same cake gets made by everybody. In cooking, that works. In life, it doesn’t. Life is a journey and often it’s an individual one. But you have huge advantages to have the right thing, at the right place, at the right time.
So, with KISS – this band that I’m in, which happens to be North America’s number one, gold record award winning group of all time in all categories – if we’d have tried to do the exact same thing in the 1700s, in the middle of the Renaissance, we’d be laughed off the face of the planet, doing exactly the same thing, but at the wrong time.
Or, if we do exactly the right thing and at exactly the right time – but we do it on top of the Ozark Mountains, where there are no people. Well, it’s the wrong place. Not enough people. So, if you do it in a small town, you’ll be famous in that small town. You’ve got to be in the middle of the largest population center, and use media to get out there, because the mountain, Mohammed, is not going to come to you.
You’ve got to have a thing, a product, whatever, and you’ve got to convince people that they cannot live without whatever the hell it is that you have.
Some advice on how one chooses whom to work with, who to partner with?
Gene Simmons: It’s your responsibility, if you want to become more powerful, to get rid of the losers, the bloodsuckers, who will suck the life right out of you, by the way, happily, and then make excuses.
How does one balance family and business?
Gene Simmons: The truth is, life is business, and business is life. And the difference between how you run your business, and how you run your private life, is a figment of your imagination.
The decisions you make of what to do for a living will make you either more money, or less money.
You live in Western society, where you are free to do whatever you want to do. You can decide to do anything, be anyone. All those decisions are going to be important ones. So, I would encourage anybody who wants to take a gander, pick up On Power, my next book. Or start with Me, Inc., and that will give you some of the information.
The rest is up to you, because it’s always going to be up to you.