KISS bassist and entrepreneur Gene Simmons was recently interviewed by American Songwriter. It’s a great interview and provides great insight to Gene’s life prior to KISS and how things have evolved since being in KISS.
The subject of Simmons growing up poor and then becoming a wealthy man later in life came up and Gene was very straightforward about his thoughts.
“We’re not supposed to revel in our riches. But that’s bullshit. That’s bullshit because everybody—if I walk around and I walk into a room and said I’m worth a couple hundred million dollars, or a billion, or whatever they say, I don’t keep track. People would go, ‘Listen to that guy, what an asshole!’ But if I just won the lottery and didn’t work a day in my life for it, everybody goes, ‘Fantastic! You won a shitload of money and you didn’t work at all for it!’ I’ve worked for every penny I got.
Simmons continued, “I should be the one that should be able to say, ‘Look at all the money I got.’ But nope, can’t do that. So, I don’t know how to say this, but it’s better to be rich than poor. It is. You can create jobs if you’re rich. You can give money to philanthropy if you’re rich. A poor person never gave me a job. And the person who came up with the phrase, ‘Money is the root of all evil’ is a moron. Money is not the root of all evil. Lack of money is the root of all evil.
Simmons went on, “The reason people hold up 7-11 is they don’t have money. Why would I ever hold up a 7-11 when I could just buy the block? The reason for crime is people don’t have enough money. One of the cures for lowering crime is give people jobs, give them something to do so they can feed their families, so they don’t have to go out and steal. That’s the way out. And don’t get me started on drug addicts, that’s another thing. There are a lot of rich white boys who are on opioids and crack—that’s another story and I’m not qualified to comment.”
Though he may be a very wealthy man today, Simmons does do a lot of philanthropic work for various charities, including those that help children and developing countries.