Gene & Paul On Paul & Gene: KISS Founders Talk ‘Family’

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
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– Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are two very different sides of the same coin for KISS though they grew up together in Queens, N.Y. As the founding and creative forces behind KISS, they’ve been in the trenches together, for better or worse, for more than 50 years.

Simmons is the outspoken, bombastic one while Stanley is more soft-spoken and introspective. But together, they are whip-smart businessmen and consummate partners in creating a band that has changed the face of the concert business. They talked to Pollstar about their personal relationship on and off the road.

Gene Simmons: I’m an only child from my mother and I have half brothers and sisters whom I didn’t meet until I grew up. But I kept saying through the years that Paul is the brother I never had.

That doesn’t mean you get along all the time. He and I disagree about almost anything. We go to a movie, he thinks it’s great and I think it’s kid stuff. If I walk into catering and there’s chocolate cake, if I see the frosting is gone but the devils food cake is there, I know Paul’s been there.

The bottom line is, in a very real way, he and I are closer now than ever. He didn’t like me at all when we met. I’m kind of loud and self-centered and arrogant, at least people think I am. Over the years, and I’ve known Paul longer than anybody in my life, we’ve had a support system. I’ve got the best partner you could hope for. I can’t do what Paul does. He may not be able to do what I do. One and one equals three or four.

Paul Stanley: There would be no KISS without Gene and my partnership. He’s family to me, we built this from the ground up.

We started together when we were living at home with our parents. Regardless of whatever he may want to project sometimes in public, or say that I may not agree with, he is absolutely family and he’s my brother.

The beauty of our partnership is the lives we’ve been able to make for each other. Lives that we never could have foreseen, or wanted quite honestly, when we started this out. Here we are now, 50 years out, and we’re closer than ever.