Gene Simmons, Sharp-Tongued Kiss Frontman, We Wish You a Happy Birthday | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Gene Simmons, Sharp-Tongued Kiss Frontman, We Wish You a Happy Birthday

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You can't miss Kiss. There are Kiss comics, Kiss coffins, Kiss movies, Kiss condoms, Kiss trading cards, Kiss radios, Kiss record players... Well, just about anything you can put the word Kiss on has the word Kiss on it. The responsibility for this marketing strategy mostly lies with Gene Simmons, the band's singer, bassist, entrepreneur, reality TV star, shameless self-promoter, and co-commander of the mighty Kiss army. Born in Haifa, Israel, on August 25, 1949, Simmons has spent his entire adult life eagerly expanding the band's imprint and making a mint in the process.

Indeed, from the time the band was formed in 1974 (following the first band he and musical partner Paul Stanley played in, Wicked Lester), the Kiss shtick has played as important a part as their music. Stanley's role as the fire-breathing, platform-booted Demon has given him a successful alter-ego, he's also quite a character in real life. This fact became all the more obvious when the band temporarily shed their makeup in the early '80s. Of course, abandoning their trademark personas sort of undermined the whole Kiss concept to begin with, because really, what's Kiss without the kitsch?

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Lee Zimmerman

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