When I was a little girl, my favourite toys weren’t Barbie Dolls (although I did own a few and they promptly got punk rock makeovers at my little rebellious hands). I adored my precious Kiss T-shirt and most of all my Kiss transistor radio. I was so young and naive that I thought that the low-tech device only played Kiss songs. I’m sure — had that been possible at the time — that Gene Simmons would have manufactured the musical accessory to do just that.
Simmons will forever be etched into my four-year-old mind as the scary rock n’ roll ogre who spat blood (residing in my subconscious alongside other terrifying figures like Medusa and the Creature From the Black Lagoon), However, today, as an adult, on a conscious level, I can appreciate his business sense and entertaining way of delivering motivating messages — an unlikely muse!
Over a month ago, I met the man, the myth, the legend when on assignment for British Airways’ High Life magazine, covering his Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. Apart from a previously hidden passion for pelting out punk metal vocals, the other surprise of my sojourn, was getting inspired by his talk. I only listened to a recording of it today and am getting even more milage out of it now.
The previously mentioned Kiss kiddie-friendly memorabilia notwithstanding I was never a huge Kiss fan. But I am a self-help addict. And, I can resolutely say that, from Paul McKenna to Jack Canfield — helpful as they have been — none of my motivational cheerleaders struck a chord (pun intended) to the degree Simmons has.
He spoke of course of merchandising Kiss — a feat which has been celebrated in business magazines like Forbes (‘What Gene Simmons Teaches Us About Entrepreneurship’ by Gene Marks). He also celebrated the art of listening and of embracing one’s one personal style — not particularly complex ideas, yet delivered with his ‘old Jewish dad’-meets-Dad’s-worst-nightmare’ humour, something clicked. His jokey wisdom doesn’t only apply to careers in rock — but to just about any field.
So, I’m sharing an abridged (20 minute) edit of Gene Simmons’ funny and poignant talk to put a bit of a fire in your belly. Warning: said fire may produce flame-spitting and other hard-rockin’ side effects.
Gene Simmons’ Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp Talk (abridged mp3, 1 minute load time)
Note: the interviewer was Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Quiet Riot); Lita Ford also chimed in from the audience