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Gene Simmons's Biography

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Gene Simmons was born Chaim Witz on 25 August 1949 in Haifa, Israel.

The Kiss front man and bass guitarist moved to Brooklyn when he was nine.

When he was 13, Gene Simmons was hooked on music by watching the Ed Sullivan Show featuring The Beatles. In 1971 he met vocalist and guitarist, Paul Stanley, and they formed what was to prove a long-standing association.

Before forming Kiss they had been in bands like Wicked Lester and Rainbow (not the Rainbow featuring Ritchie Blackmore).

In 1973, Simmons and Stanley recruited drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Freshley and formed Kiss.

Their main breakthrough came with the double live album, Alive! in 1975. Kiss went at it hammer and tongs with striking stage shows featuring eye-catching 'demonic' make-up.

Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over were released in 1976 and Love Gun and Alive II in 1977. In the following year they released no less than four albums.

Whilst Kiss continued to function in the 1980s with a couple of changes in the line-up, Gene Simmons expanded his interests. He acted in Runaway with Tom Selleck in 1984 and appeared in Wanted Dead or Alive in 1986.

Gene Simmons also started producing records and established a management company.

The 1990s saw a return to popularity for Kiss, and there were two tribute albums made featuring a diverse range of talent.

Kiss themselves released Revenge (1992), Alive III (1993), and Psycho Circus (1998). Gene Simmons also released a solo album, Asshole. Guest artists included the mother of Simmons' children, Shannon Tweed.

In the past Gene Simmons had dated Cher and Diana Ross whereas Paul Stanley was linked at one stage with Sam Fox.

The multi-talented Simmons created the cartoon show, My Dad The Rock Star, and in 2002 wrote the cleverly titled "KISS and Make-Up", followed by "Sex Money Kiss", the following year.

In 2004 Gene Simmons finished filming Rock School for Channel 4 in the UK. The series featured Simmons teaching classically trained 13-14 year olds how to rock.

The children formed their own rock band and with Gene Simmons guiding them, they learned how to write, record and perform - in time to be support band for Motorhead at the Hammersmith Apollo.

In the USA, Gene Simmons Family Jewels was transmitted by A&E, which featured Gene and Shannon and their children Sophie and Nick (as well as their dog, Snippy).

In 2008, Gene Simmons along with Carol Alt, Stephen Baldwin, Trace Adkins and Piers Morgan amongst others were candidates on The Apprentice hosted by Donald Trump.

However, Gene Simmons was fired from Celebrity Apprentice in the second week.

In 2009, Kiss celebrated their 35th year in the music charts with the release of their first studio album in nearly a decade, Sonic Boom.

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