Thursday, September 4, 2014


"There is no failure. Take a cue from the best athletes in the word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is actually a really good phrase. If you’re alive, you’re in the game. Every time you fail you learn something and next time you won’t make that mistake again."   -- Gene Simmons


Over the past few years, Gene Simmons has become increasingly well known outside of his association with KISS. In accompaniment to that, I have noticed that many people throw around the word “genius” when referring to him or addressing him. In interviews, emails, blogs, etc.
– Gene Simmons is a genius rock star
– Gene Simmons is a genius business man
– Gene Simmons is a genius marketer

I’m not sure why, seeing as I am such a lifelong KISS fan, but I think it’s ridiculous. How did this genius monicker get associated with Gene? Is it because he’s wealthy? Nope. He’s wealthy because of KISS. Is it because he is famous? Nope. He’s famous because of KISS. Is it because he is a successful businessman outside of KISS? Successful outside of KISS? Let’s examine further as chronologically as possible.

> Managing Bands: Gene originally “discovered” Van Halen. True story. However, he was unable to get Van Halen a record contract. How bad must you be if you couldn’t get Van Halen a record contract?
He also managed Liza Minelli for a time in the 80s. Remember how popular her music was in the 80s?

> Acting Career: Gene was in the monster hits Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park, Runaway and Trick Or Treat. Remember those? Got them on DVD?
Those aren’t really business though…those were jobs.

He did produce and star in the KISS themed movie Detroit Rock City. And yes, it also was a flop.

> Music Producer: Gene produced albums in the 80s. Probably the most well known was by a band called Black’N’Blue. Never heard of them? Most haven’t. They were awful and never even had a gold album.

> Record Label: In the 80s Gene had his own record label, Simmons Records. He discovered and released albums by such acts as Silent Rage and House Of Lords…and a few others. None managed gold success. (As a note, House Of Lords went on to have gold albums AFTER moving away from Simmons.)
In the new millennium Gene resurrected Simmons Records. After a year he released one album by an artist named BAG. Nobody bought it.

> Comic Books: Officially, KISS had an incredibly successful comic for Marvel Comics back in the 70s. Since then KISS has tried to release a comic book series 3 times for 3 different companies. None lasted longer than a year. (Technically this is a KISS thing…I just wanted to point out that a concept practically stolen from comic books has not been able to achieve any success in comic books.)

> Clothing Line: Gene tried to start a clothing line in conjunction with a successful company called Dragonfly. There was supposed to be a boutique in LA. It never opened and the line failed within a year. He has now partnered with Dussault. Have you seen all of your friends, family and co-workers wearing Simmons-Dussault clothes?

> magazine publishing: Gene started his own magazine, just like Oprah and Rosie. It was called Gene Simmons tongue. It didn’t even last 6 months.

> Book Publishing: Gene has released 4 books on his own book imprint line. Now keep in mind, these have all been KISS “themed” or “related” in some way and had some success. The imprint also released a book by his “not wife” Shannon Tweed, but few bought it. He has a new book out recently about the history of prostitution…it didn’t make the best-seller list. He has not released anything not written by or related to him.

> NGTV: This is a company that produces humorous content for YOUTUBE. Gene has been made the “Chairman” of the company. He does not create the content or run the business daily. I have no idea how much money someone can make by posting content onto YOUTUBE for free. [editorial: Gene appears to be little more than a paid spokesman that has been given a title.]

> Marketing: Gene has been given a lot of credit over the years for successfully marketing KISS. I just want to say that KISS really markets itself, doesn’t it? There also seems to be some confusion with the difference between “licensing” and “marketing”. Marketing is a process of promotion in order to generate interest in a product. Advertising, appearances, communication. KISS really doesn’t do that. KISS licenses their intellectual property. What that means is that company’s approach KISS and say, “If you let me put KISS’s logo on our toilet seats, we’ll pay you $XXX.” Licensing is NOT marketing. NOT refusing money from people that will do ALL the work putting YOUR property on stuff isn’t genius…it proves you are not a complete moron.

> Simmons-Abramson Marketing: Based on the perception that Gene is a genius marketer, Gene partnered with a well known marketing guy and started looking for work. Gene likes to brag that companies pay them $2Million for their services.
– INDY: SAM was hired by INDY racing 3 years ago to market their races. You’ve seen all the advertising and promotion, right? Well, the good news is that after 3 years attendance, viewership and merch sales are ALL down from 3 years ago. (Look it up, it’s true.) Isn’t marketing supposed to INCREASE all of those things?
– Frank’s Energy Drink: This is a new energy drink on the market. SAM has been marketing them for a year now. So I’m sure you’ve heard all about it. I’m sure you have seen it at retail locations all over. No? Did you see the sex tape of Gene in his black socks banging one of the Frank’s Energy Drink product models?

> TV: OK…Gene has the #2 reality show on A&E…within a certain demographic. It will be entering it’s 4th season soon. I can’t deny that this has SOME level of success. It does kinda feel like this is the second best selling burger at the local diner being compared to the success of the Whopper, though…

• Companies want to license KISS intellectual property because KISS has a large fanbase and they are part of popular world culture. KISS has a large fanbase and are a part of popular world culture because of WAY more than Gene Simmons. There were several other band members over the years that contributed, 3 others that developed the original concept right along with Gene. There was also a record label, management team, lawyers, choreographers, songwriters, etc.
The fact that KISS has been very successfully licensed does NOT make Gene a genius on ANYTHING. It makes him not a moron for not turning down the no-risk, no-effort, free money.
• Gene Simmons has failed fabulously and repeatedly at his business ventures outside of KISS. See ALL of the above examples. (The above does not include investment blunders that Gene and KISS are well known for…like failed horse farms and property investments.)
• Just because people give you money to do something (marketing), doesn’t make you a genius or even GOOD at what you do. It means you are famous and stupid people will stupidly pay large sums of money to get access to you and your perceived fame. It would be genius if you successfully grew there business via your marketing. Now, as shown above…SAM has failed regularly at what they do. So do you think people are paying SA because of their proven track record or because Gene Simmons is in KISS?

Gene is not a genius.
Gene has what he has because of KISS and because of stupid people with too much money.

-Sir Pent

Gene Simmons real business $ucce$$ comes from licensing KISS stuff.
Nothing else!

However his business books are always a good source of inspiration and motivation!