Gene Simmons celebrated his 72nd birthday last night (Wednesday, August 25) during KISS‘s concert at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio as part of the group’s “End Of The Road” world tour.
Video footage of the Toledo crowd, as well as Gene‘s KISS bandmates, singing happy birthday to him can be seen below.
KISS frontman Paul Stanley also wished Gene a happy birthday on Twitter. Paul shared an early photo of the pair, and he wrote in an accompanying message: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY GENE! We started as partners but all the years made us brothers. You’re a good man and a GREAT Demon! In it to the end. Paul“.
Earlier this year, Stanley spoke to the St. Louis, Missouri radio station KSHE 95 about his continued partnership with Simmons — this despite their seeming like extremely different types of people. He said: “He’s my brother. His family is my family. I think of Shannon, his wife, as my sister-in-law. We’ve never been closer than we are now. We’ve come so far and done so many great things for each other, it would be ungrateful if we were anything less. We’re there to cheer each other on and text each other. We’re more than good.”
In July 2020, Stanley admitted to “Live From Nerdville With Joe Bonamassa” that he “didn’t particularly like” Simmons the first time they met. “But there was pragmatism involved,” he said. “You have to prioritize and figure what’s most important to you to reach your goal. And I knew that Gene and I were much stronger together than me alone. I’m not really sure that he knew that, but that became irrelevant. It was, ‘How do I get where I wanna go? How do I achieve what I want?’ And Gene was essential to it. And here we are 50-plus years later. It’s astounding. We’ve created something that seems like it will outlast us.”
In 2019, Stanley told Dean Delray‘s “Let There Be Talk” podcast his relationship with Gene wasn’t affected by the release of Stanley‘s 2014 memoir, “Face The Music: A Life Exposed”.
“Gene‘s always been very accepting,” Paul said. “And we’ve only gotten closer and closer over time, which is just terrific. I said things in the book that I felt were true, and I would stand by what I said. But it doesn’t negate that in the scheme of things, he’s been a terrific partner, he’s a brother, and he’s family. Certainly there were things that I spoke about in the book that aren’t true anymore, but they were, to me, at some point. And that book was really my overview of my life. And I really didn’t say anything to hurt anyone, and I didn’t wanna throw anybody under the bus. There were a few people who walked under the bus — I didn’t have to throw ’em. I think Gene has always respected that I have my own perspective. And, again, I couldn’t be closer to him than I am now. Totally. I speak to him often.
“It would be crazy and sad to go through what we’ve done together and what we’ve accomplished and have ill will or animosity,” he continued. “If anything, the two of us look at each other and go, ‘Wow!’ In those moments of candor, or when we’re just talking to each other, or texting each other, there are those texts where it’s, like, ‘Wow! Look what we’ve done.’ So, yeah, anybody who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. His family is my family. Shannon, I’ve known Shannon probably 35-plus years. [Gene‘s kids] Nick and Sophie, I feel like their uncle.
“Look, when [my son] Evan was born, the first person in the room to see him was Gene,” Paul added. “Even when things have been tough, or there’s been tensions in the past — and not in the near past — we always were family. When we had our big earthquake in the ’90s, basically I wasn’t talking to Gene at the time, and as soon as the ground stopped shaking, I called him. I said, ‘Are you okay?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ And then we kept not talking to each other. But the most important thing was making sure he was okay.
“I’m very, very lucky to have him. And I don’t necessarily agree with everything he does. But does anybody?”
In “Face The Music: A Life Exposed”, Stanley insisted that his relationship with Simmons has slowly improved over time. But Paul also wrote: “[Gene] chose to ignore his underlying issues and instead committed himself to creating an external façade and persona that, unfortunately, he felt required to knock down anyone who threatened his singularity in the spotlight.” He also dismissed the notion that Simmons is some kind of financial genius. “Gene‘s most successful venture in business was promoting the perception that he was a savvy businessman,” Paul wrote.
A few years back, Paul admitted that he “read a little bit of” Gene Simmons‘s book when it first came out but that he had a different recollection of some of their shared history. While reading Gene‘s book, Stanley felt, “Gee, I thought I did that. I thought that was me. You thought you were me,” he said.
KISS‘s farewell trek was launched in January 2019 and was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but is now expected to last well into 2022.
KISS‘s current lineup consists of original members Stanley and Simmons, alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).