KISS bassist Gene Simmons and frontman Paul Stanley have worked together for 40 years, developing a hard rock empire that Simmons thinks is worth somewhere between $US1 billion to $US5 billion.
In Simmons’ new book on his business approach, “ME, Inc.,” he says that Stanley is “the brother I never had,” and uses him as the model for an ideal business partner.
Like real brothers, the two have had plenty of disagreements and arguments, but they have remained the band’s only two original members because they share the same vision and what Simmons tells Business Insider is a “blue collar work ethic.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just find a partner who brings something to the table and an expertise that you don’t have,” Simmons says.
He tells us that problems between cofounders inevitably arise, but they can only be overcome if there are shared values.
Simmons and Stanley met in New York City in 1970 when Simmons’ band Wicked Lester recruited Stanley as a rhythm guitarist. The two decided that the band lacked focus but that the two of them were on the same page. They brought on Ace Frehley as lead guitarist and Peter Criss as drummer and reinvented themselves as KISS by the end of ’72.
As the band exploded in popularity over the next decade, Simmons and Stanley took the lead in approving contractual decisions and songwriting responsibilities.
“I think the best one I saw was definitely Pauly Martin, Robert Bortuzzo, Beau Bennett and Nick Spaling dressed up as KISS,” Brandon Sutter said. “They had the boots and the makeup and everything. It was unbelievable. That’s definitely the best I’ve ever seen, so that was above and beyond.”
Winning the competition was definitely the goal, said Martin.
“Beau and ‘Borts’ won the year before,” he said. “So they let me and Spaling be on their team (this year). So it was nice of them to do that.”
Martin’s favorite part of dressing up wasn’t rocking and rolling all night – it was actually the ride to the party.
“The best part was we had to drive to the spot, so we were all in a car blasting KISS music with the windows down and we got a couple weird looks,” Martin said. “So that was a lot of fun.”
Each player adopted a different band member’s onstage persona. Bennett was KISS frontman Gene Simmons (The Demon), Spaling was Catman, Bortuzzo was Starchild and Martin was Spaceman.
Best known as the bass guitarist behind the legendary rock band Kiss, and more recently for his family's reality TV series, Gene Simmons is also an entrepreneur who owns a record label, a sports team, and a restaurant chain.
KISS IS EVERYWHERE! KISS Army Member Bryan Roberts spotted a new Android commercial that features some familiar figures re-imagined as Android robots! Look at 0:16 mark.