Entertainment

Gene Simmons On Lifting, Hiking, and Why He's Never Done Drugs

The Kiss front man talks fitness, his famous tongue, and his new one-of-a-kind 'Vault Experience' box set.

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Gene Simmons Onstage with Kiss
Frederick M. Brown / Getty

Just Say No

I’ve never willingly been high or drunk in my life. Now, when I’m under a doctor’s care, they take me out. But when I’m awake and alive, I’ve never even had a joint in my hand, much less in my mouth. No coke, no nothing. When somebody toasts some­body, I don’t want to insult anybody, so I may have a drop or two of champagne or whatever they have. I find it vile and disgusting, but that’s just me. I think everybody should live their life any way they want.

Walk Hard

These days I hike. It’s all about cardio and keeping your heart pumping. I go on five­-mile hikes up hills in the Santa Monica Mountains. No cellphone, no music. I just go. I’ve also got a decent­-size house with three floors and no elevators. Anytime you want to get a cup of coffee, you’re forced to go up and down the stairs. Over the course of a year, I’m sure that’s miles.

In the Vault

When I hike, it’s a time for me to think­-tank. My latest idea is the Vault Experience. It’s literally the largest box set of all time. It contains 150 unreleased tracks from 1966 to 2016. It’s about 38 pounds and three feet high. There are 10 CDs. There’s a Gene Simmons action figure. There are Kiss demos. It goes for $2,000. Now, here’s the crazy part: I’m going to hand­-deliver the box sets to whoever buys them—at a party in their area. Nobody’s ever done this before, because it’s nuts.

Pumping Iron

Did I used to lift weights? Oh, yeah. We used to go to Gold’s Gym in Hollywood. I also used to do Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. All of it physically knocks you out. At different points in your life, it’s good to do different things. The younger you are, I’d recommend more weightlifting. As you get older, cardio is the main thing. Get out there and walk. And if you can jog a mile in six minutes, you’re doing great at any age.

Tongue-Tied

I was just born with a big one. I don’t know how else to say it. I was always the tallest in class. I remember in sixth grade, when­ ever we’d line up to do anything in school, I was always in the back of the line. There were these two girls in front of me, Stella and Irene. They’d go, “Hey, Gene, do that thing with your tongue.” I’d stick it out and wiggle it, and they’d giggle like turkeys about to get their heads chopped off. [Makes gobble sounds] Have I ever done exercises for my tongue? Well, sure. Every time. You can fill in the blanks.

Motivational Speaker

When I co­-owned the LA Kiss, the Arena Football League team, I gave the players pep talks. I told them the tortoise won the race, not the hare. And that there’s no substitute for willpower and never giving up. There are smaller guys who beat the shit out of bigger guys because they’re more incentivized. I mean, if you said something about my mother, I don’t care if you hurt me, I’m going to take you out, bitch.

Rock On

At 68, I get up onstage with Kiss, the hardest­-working band in show business, period. I carry 45 to 50 pounds of armor and studs and wear eight-­inch platform heels. I love Jagger and McCartney, but if they got into my outfits, they’d pass out in the first song.

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