KISS bassist Gene Simmons riffs on his makeup, costumes

By LAURIE LUCAS / Press Enterprise

The iconic Gene Simmons, he of the anteater tongue and studded boots, will be at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa this weekend to share secrets about how he does it.

Nope, not how he tricks himself out as his alter ego, KISS’ bass player and singer. We’re going to do that, deconstructing his costume and wild kabuki makeup as The Demon/Dr. Love/God of Thunder.

Instead, on Sunday, multi-multimillionaire Simmons, 67, is going to talk about how he’s made it, deploying business strategies in the digital age.

And the way he runs all of his businesses – without personal assistants or many handlers or red tape – is how he paints and pours himself into his KISS armor and stacked boots: by himself.

Let’s see how he does it.


“It’s paint by the numbers,” Simmons said in an interview over the summer.

He said his sartorial and cosmetic role models are the Phantom of the Opera and Batman.


Costume: Weighs 35 to 40 pounds, including stretchy nylon and Spandex bodysuit, lots ‘o’ leather, vest, spikes and other metal hardware, codpieces, buckles, gloves and a choker.


Destroyer boots: Custom-made 4-inch platforms in front with 7-inch heels. They pull on over the knees and are adorned with metallic studs. The boots are designed like stilts on two metal supports all the way through to the bottom of his heels, Simmons said.

How the 6-2 rocker balances on these boots: “I arch my back, hunch into a curvature and stick my butt way out.” He likens the exertions of moving around for 2 1/2 hours to “an eight-mile hike.”


Prep time: Simmons spends two hours on his makeup alone.

Makeup: He creams his face with what he calls a white clown foundation. Then, he takes a black eyeliner pencil and stipples the design around one eye and connects the dots. Next, he outlines a widow’s peak. “The most difficult part is to mirror what we see on the opposite side,” he said. He refines the lines with Q-tips. He uses a brush to fill in black paint around his eyes, widow’s peak and mouth. He sets everything with powder patted with a shaving brush. “You can’t make a mistake. You’re fixing, fixing and redrawing,” he said.

Crimson tongue: He sucks red Life Savers for half an hour to stain it before show time.

Hair: He pulls a clump into a topknot.


What: Gene Simmons' Business Symposium

When: 3-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon

Admission: $29 and $39. Includes a copy of Simmons' business manifesto, "Me, Inc.," in which he shares a lifetime of entrepreneurial advice. Also includes The Gene Simmons Axe Petting Zoo event, where attendees can get up close and personal with the bass guitars Simmons plays onstage.

Information: 866-328-2021, morongocasinoresort.com/gene

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