"I was never interested in being a rock star. I always wanted to be Boris Karloff." ~Gene Simmons
I used to work at the Oakland Public Library, it was my first "real" job. I'm not a "go to work" kind of guy, & i could tell that most of my employers got this about me. The ones that didn't hire me really got it! ha ha. But, i had just gotten engaged & i was trying to get my act together & the library was a cool gig, why, most of the Cuts & 2/10 worked there at one point or another (still do?). Anyhow, i had to bury alot of my natural tendencies to work in a big bureaucracy like the public library & you know, it being a library & all, there is a certain feeling to it which might be counter to who i am. Anyhow, at the same time i was working on learning alot of the history i had missed in school, alot of the art theory i had been interested in pursuing in art school but it wasn't covered & alot of the general absorption of thousands of magazines, newspapers & books that i couldn't afford to just buy.
"I wanted to be in a band that gave bang for the buck. I wanted to be in the band who didn't look like a bunch of guys who, you know, should be in a library studying for their finals." ~Gene Simmons
As i worked to get my act together i had to confront alot of the ideas about the world view i had developed during adolescence. I had become steeped in the depressive culture of the far-left which mixed with the adolescent depression & hormonal insanity & drugs that coursed through my veins & just distorted the holy Jesus out of me. I'm not going to critique that whole schtick here, but let's just say it wasn't me & it isn't me & from what i've seen, the mentality is both a contributor to & a result of depression. What made all this particularly hard at the time was the election of George W. Bush, 9-11 & our military ramp up. The San Francisco Bay Area bristled at the election of GWB & he was effectively Hitler incarnate. Something about Bush's swagger & confidence & shamelessness really rubbed all those pencil-necks the wrong way. As the 2000s played themselves out, the left became more & more rigid & ideologically crazed.
Then Gene Simmons' "Kiss & Make Up" book came out & while i was supposed to be shelving or processing books one afternoon i read the whole thing in one sitting. When i put the book down i knew i had to quit my job. The next day i did. The whole time i was reading the book i recognized that what drew me to Gene Simmons when i was a kid was what drew me to him then, which was that he was straight forward, he grabbed life by the balls & he had NO SHAME. Not to leave out the obvious, just look. As i read the book i saw that these same traits were what the left hated about George W. Bush & other "entitled white men". There had been so much propaganda thrown around about "entitlement" when i was growing up. I was fairly convinced that i didn't deserve anything & that to take was to take from others. Alot of bollocks, but you'd be surprised how many people feel that way. So reading about Gene moving to the USA from Israel & how he felt like he had been transported from another dimension & that when he turned on the TV or read comics or watched movies he felt free, reminded me how i felt as a kid. He described Israel as "living in a box", which is not unlike how i felt growing up. He talked about all of the great American things like monster movies, superheroes, rock & roll, cars & girls glowingly, without shame, with the kind of optimism that you don't hear living in the Bay Area.
Gene Simmons on the Mike Douglas Show 1974
I was sick of the pessimism, the guilt, the shame, of not taking life by the horns & riding that fucker into the sunset. I felt cheated.
"I'm in a weird band. We've done very well. The American Dream is alive and well." ~Gene Simmons
Gene & Paul in an interview from 1987, acting like a funny pair of queens.
Here's the fantastic interview of Terry Gross (Fresh Air) vs. Gene Simmons.