Belfast Telegraph

Gene Simmons: The Beatles freaked me out

Gene Simmons started to like the Beatles when his mother said they looked silly.

Years before the bassist joined rock band Kiss and helped to cultivate their iconic look of black and white face paint and dramatic outfits, a young Gene was enthralled by the Fab Four.

However he initially found it hard to relate to them, as they didn't look like anyone he knew in his home city of New York.

"I remember thinking they look weird. They were very small people by American standards, and they looked feminine. They didn't look Italian or Jewish or Greek or black. They didn't even look like hoodlums.

"[I started to think they were cool] because my mother thought they looked silly," Gene laughed to Bass Guitar magazine.

"They looked like what they sounded like. I was watching the music. I was listening with my eyes and I noticed the girls were screaming and that they were playing their own instruments."

This revelation soon led to Gene's own mega music career, and Kiss reigned supreme during the 70s. As well as the songs, the musician became the driving force behind the band's extensive merchandising franchise. His entrepreneurial spirit also led to him founding the Gene Simmons Axe Company, which makes bass guitars.

"I had one made because I noticed that musicians call their instruments 'Axe'. So I did some research and found out that nobody had ever actually trademarked the term, even though it was in common usage. So I trademarked the word then asked myself, 'Why doesn't a guitar look like an axe?'" Gene recalled.

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From Belfast Telegraph