GENE SIMMONS – “The Best Teachers I Had Were Rock ‘N’ Roll And Comic Books”
January 19, 2021, a month ago
Speaking to American Songwriter, KISS’ Gene Simmons spoke about when got him into rock ‘n’ roll, his love for comic books, his partnership with Gibson, and more.
Simmons on what drew him to comic books: “You know, I couldn’t read or write English and when I first came to America, I turned on television and there was a guy flying through the air with a cape on. I didn’t know what—what is that! As far as our culture, we gave the world the Ten Commandments. Moses could split the sea and everything but the guy couldn’t fly through the air. By the way, it’s worth noting, that all the superheroes were created by Jews. Yes, they were. Yup—Superman, Batman, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Human Torch, Sub Mariner, Captain America—Jews created it. Jack Kirby? Not his real name. Jacob Kurtzberg. Stan Lee? Stanley Lieber. And Bob Cane was actually Kahn.
“Anyway, the point is that I started reading comic books, first of all, because it was easier to read because you didn’t have to read them. You could look at the pictures, which were much more exciting than books. And I also couldn’t read English. Comic books actually helped me understand the jargon, the commonly accepted form of the American language versus what was written in books. I could speak very, very little Japanese, fairly good German, fluent Hungarian and fluent Hebrew. But if you read literature, that’s not the way people speak. It’s not the way songs are sung. It’s a completely different nuance. So, comic books made me understand. Then when I heard rock, words like ‘you ain’t,’ which was considered vulgar, I heard how people actually spoke. The best teachers I had were rock ‘n’ roll and comic books.”
“You live and die by the instrument in your hands. You can stick your tongue out only so many times, but you have got to deliver the goods.” - Gene Simmons
Gibson, the iconic American guitar brand, has entered into a joint venture with Gene Simmons, international rock legend and co-founder of KISS, America’s #1 gold record award-winning group of all time, in all categories (RIAA), to create G². G², from Gene to Gibson, will introduce new collections of right and left-handed electric guitars and basses across Gibson’s Gibson, Epiphone and Kramerbrands, and develop new entertainment content that will be streamed to millions of fans worldwide on multiple online and social platforms.
To kick off the collaboration, G² will release the new G² Thunderbird Bass later this year. The G² Thunderbird Bass, which will be available in ebony with silver appointments and ebony with blood red, made its worldwide debut on stage with Simmons recently during KISS’ epic New Year’s Eve concert in Dubai.
“I have been designing and trademarking bass guitars for decades, and when I heard Gibson’s vision and learned about their creative process, it just made sense for us to join forces to take things to the next level,” said Simmons. “Gibson is an outstanding company and has earned its place as a leading guitar brand with fans around the world. These guitars and basses will all be handmade, with a sound that is off the charts. The design is so beautiful and collectible that they are simply works of art.”
Following the launch of the G² Thunderbird Bass, G² has plans for a Flying V bass and Flying V guitar.
“Gene is not only one of the most celebrated musicians and rock stars of all time. He is also an entrepreneur, record producer, actor and overall creative person. His brain is always working, and I love that about him,” said Cesar Gueikian of Gibson Brands. “When we first connected, we immediately engaged in the most interesting conversations about guitars, entertainment, and business. Our shared vision compelled us to explore a partnership that would include developing instruments and creating a new platform to entertain and inspire new generations of Gibson and Gene Simmons fans to create music. Expect epic things.”
Tune in to watch the interview with Gene Simmons and Mark Agnesi, Director of Brand Experience, Gibson Brands, live, Monday, January 18 on Gibson TV, at 10 AM, CT, here.
(Photos - Gibson)