Gene Simmons, the bassist and founding member of the 70s glam band KISS has recently spoken out about his method of performance, claiming that artists including Beyoncé, Bono and Bruno Mars wouldn’t be able to perform in his notoriously elaborate costumes.
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Speaking with Entertainment Tonight in an extensive new interview, the musician proudly proclaimed that fitness is vital in him maintaining his onstage presence – over half a century since he made his live debut.
Discussing his devotion to healthy living, Simmons states he, and the rest of the band, have abandoned the more reckless lifestyles of their heyday, instead opting for a routine of “no drugs, no booze, no smoking. None of that stupid rock and roll stuff.”
“We work hard at it,” he says. “I hike almost every single day with Shannon [Tweed, Simmons’ wife], we do three to five miles a day, and it’s hard to keep this going.”
The musician continued to declare KISS as “the hardest working band out there” as a result of their five-decade-long career; even going as far as to claim that the majority of artists would struggle to perform on stage in the same outlandish attire he has coined.
“We love Jagger and Bruno Mars and Bono and anybody else, they’re all great, but if you put those guys – Beyoncé, put Beyoncé in my outfit with seven-to-eight-inch platform heels, dragon boots that each weigh as much as a bowling ball…”
“The entire outfit, studs, leather and armour is about 40 pounds.” he calculates. “The guitar and the studs are 12 pounds by themselves. Then, you got to spit fire, fly through the air and do that for two hours. They would pass out within a half-hour.”
Whilst insisting that the level of devotion KISS has to perform live is something that the members all “take pride in”, the musician also elaborated on why they, after over 50 years in the industry, are now deciding to bring the band’s legacy to a close.
“The last thing that you want to do is be a guy that stays in the ring too long and gets his ass beat. Get out of the ring when you’re a champion,” he explains. “You’ve got to have some pride and not stay too long. Always keep them wanting. I’m the most blessed and grateful guy in the world to be able to be in a band where I can wear more makeup and higher heels than your girlfriend.”
This comes ahead of the band preparing to embark on the final part of their last-ever world tour, with their final performances set to occur on their KISS Kruise in November.