Gene Simmons has boldly claimed that artists like Beyoncé, Bono, Mick Jagger and Bruno Mars wouldn’t be able to perform in his famously over-the-top costumes, due to their excessive weight and unwieldiness.
In an extensive new interview with Entertainment Tonight, the KISS frontman explained that, especially at age 72 – more than 50 years since he first debuted with the band – fitness is crucial to maintaining his prowess as a performer. “We work hard at it,” Simmons assured journalist Kevin Frazier, telling him the band currently enjoy “no drugs, no booze, no smoking. None of that stupid rock and roll stuff.”
He continued: “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.”
Because of his intense workout regime and five decades of experience in the getup, Simmons says, he’s uniquely endowed to make it through KISS’ lengthy sets in intricate, theatrical costumes. As he boasted to ET: “You got to understand – 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 armor is about 40 pounds. The guitar and the studs is 12 pounds by itself. Then, you got to spit fire, fly through the air and do that for two hours. They would pass out within a half hour.”
Simmons then declared KISS to be “the hardest working band out there” – something they “take pride in”, especially considering their five-decade tenure is almost at an end. The band are currently gearing up to embark on the last stint of their final world tour, with their last-ever gigs slated to go down this November (as part of this year’s edition of the KISS Kruise).
On why he sees now as the right time to farewell KISS, Simmons opined: “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.
Later in the ET chat, he continued: “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.”
Among KISS last-ever performances will sets at this year’s Download, Rockville and Louder Than Life festivals.