Gene Simmons: Sexcapades with 4,800 women to 'boring' X-rated tape, a look at Kiss singer's wild rockstar life
While the proof of his encounters with 4,800 groupies was burned per his wife's request, Simmons' sex tape still remains available to anyone willing to shell out a few dollars
The era of rock and roll, for all its musical history, is more often than not remembered for its wildest moments including drug-fuelled shenanigans and sexual escapades. And when it comes to iconic rock and roll figures, Gene Simmons easily ranks up there as one of the personalities who have done and seen it all. So much so that most of his revelations tend not to shock anyone anymore. Yet when he told the world he'd slept with nearly five thousand groupies and documented it all on polaroids, it still managed to floor everyone.
Kiss was formed in 1973 with its original lineup of members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. They would go on to redefine the rock industry with their unique look, which included their signature face paint, wigs, and glamorous outfits, and their performances which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. While the band saw lineup changes through the years, Simmons has remained its bassist and co-lead singer, with his stage persona The Demon being seared into fans' memories as one of the most iconic symbols in rock history. But as beloved as he is for his music, Simmons has also left behind a legacy filled with controversy and stories that continue to shock and delight.
In 2010, the musician dropped one of many bombshells about his life. In an interview with The Sun, Simmons stated, "I didn’t do drugs in the crazy times but I did do sex. Did I sleep with 4,800 women? So they tell me. I did have the Polaroids to prove it, oh yes. But most of them were burned." As it turned out, the musician's wife, Playboy model and actress Shannon Lee Tweed agreed to marry him after 28 years together only if he, in turn, agreed to burn his collection of sex photos. Their bonfire, which Simmons called a "ritual," allegedly went on for days.
While his promiscuous lifestyle has been frequently reported on, owing largely to Simmons himself boasting about his 'conquests', no one was ready for the tally of his sexual partners to stand at 4,800. Despite his usual honesty, however, the musician attempted to block a 2009 interview he gave with NPR's Terry Gross from being posted online in which he stated, "If you want to welcome me with open arms, I'm afraid you're also going to have to welcome me with open legs," a paraphrasing of a lyric from the Who's 1981 song 'You Better You Bet'. The quote, nonetheless, made its way out into the world. His reluctance to allow this interview to reach the public's ears was certainly odd, given it came not long after the release of Simmons' sex tape.
The tape, which featured one Traci Anna Koval then identified only as 'Elsa', was leaked after she signed away the rights to in back in 2003. And while many scrambled to get their hands on the tape when it first came out, most later stated they were disappointed by the video on account of it being boring. Several statements were made about the singer not revealing his infamous tongue, and Koval would later state she lost many of her friends, including Ja Rule who allegedly kicked her out of his house while they were hanging out with friends. Simmons, however, seemed particularly unbothered by the tape itself and was more concerned with websites using stylized printing that resembled the one trademarked by Kiss. Set to Foreigner's 'I Want To Know What Love Is', the tape continues to be available online, despite Simmons' attempts to have it taken down via his lawyers. However, he remains unfazed.
Simmons is, as most people would know, no stranger to controversy. From his political views which include allegiance to his homeland of Israel, Islamophobic comments, a pro-Bush stance, and deep regret in voting for Obama, to his various appearances one of which got him banned for life from Fox News' 'Fox & Friends' after he burst into a staff meeting invited and told jokes while unbuttoning his shirt, Simmons' career has been built as much on his musical highlights as it has on his ability to get a rise out of his audience. And while the rocker now insists his wild days are behind him, their legacy does still live on thanks to Simmons' own interviews documenting all his experiences.
"I never knew what a big deal it was before Shannon and I had kids," the rocker stated to The Sun. "I never cared about it, I didn’t want to get married or have kids. But when they were born I was at the hospital crying like a 12-year-old girl." Raising a family has changed the rocker, who went from celebrating his musical accomplishments to recognizing his family was his greatest achievement. "Have Kiss sold millions of records? Yes. Are we are the luckiest b******s in the world? You’re goddam right we are. I feel like the man on top of the highest mountain in the world, shouting out at the top of his lungs, ‘Isn’t this great. How did we get up here?’ But my kids are more important."
His kids, luckily, don't think too much about Simmons' past. For the rocker's children, his music and politics and dalliances are no issue. He's just their dad, one who sometimes happens to get up on stage and sell out massive stadiums while he's at it. The musician stated, "When they were younger, they would see me performing on stage and say, ‘Oh God, there’s dad sticking his tongue out again.’"
It's hard to imagine a world where celebrities are not doing something wild. Rockstars dominated the '70s, but it's the age of pop now. And while the culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll may have faded into obscurity and Simmons may have given up his bed-hopping ways, he does name a successor truly worthy of his spot: Lady Gaga. In his interview, the musician added, "As soon as Lady Gaga gets rid of the disco stuff, she’s a rock star. She can do things Britney and Madonna can’t. If she had guitars behind her, she could knock it out of the park."
Given the singer's propensity for being a chameleon where music is concerned, that's hardly a reach. But seeing as Gaga is not averse to wild antics of her own, she certainly is the best contender to take Simmons' place. When he eventually bows out, that is. Kiss was on their 'End of the Road' world tour when the pandemic hit, derailing their plans while also delaying their final show. They'll resume playing when its safe to do so, and will hold the 2020 edition of 'Kiss Kruise' in October 2021. Kiss fans can thus enjoy Simmons sticking his tongue out at audiences at least for another year, no longer wondering where else that tongue has been in the meantime.