Gene Simmons: The Billboard Kiss Cover
Gene Simmons: The Billboard Kiss Cover

You made a memorable point at Billboard's Touring Conference last year about professionalism and being on time for shows.

Pride. It's self-respect. For fuck's sake, just do it for yourself. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Shit out the Axl Rose disease in your system, get rid of that. Excuses are for the next guy that winds up in jail and becomes very popular there, becomes somebody's girlfriend.

Billboard video above: Backstage at the 2008 Billboard Touring Conference With Gene Simmons

Do you care what critics say?

Of course. But that will still never get them laid. They were ugly bastards before who never got laid, and no matter what, they still look like Bob Lefsetz. They shine my shoes. I bury them in my backyard. You guys are just jealous that we get seas of pussy and you get nothing. I go to see movies or a band when somebody that I know says, "I just saw this." I trust his word. Not somebody who gets free tickets who's a failed human being.

When it comes to building a career, what do a lot of bands get wrong?

They don't listen to Gene Simmons. When you're dishonest with yourself and your fans and sugarcoat everything you say, you're full of shit-you can smell that a mile a way. Be who you are. It's difficult for me to accept someone who's worth $100 million-and I am-who gets up and starts talking about rain forests and whales and acid rain. Shut the fuck up. Play your songs, and if I want information, I'll go to people who are qualified to talk about it. I don't want rock stars talking about the environment in the same way I don't want environmentalists talking about rock.

What's your take on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

I think it was a good idea, but it's clearly political. It's Boss Tweed, it's the old New York rotten system, where you get 10 guys in the back room who decide who's going to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I want nothing to do with that. It's a sham and those guys mean nothing. You should take a look at the photo of the guys that vote on it. Fucking scary.

What would you still like to accomplish with Kiss?

There's nothing we can't do. We're developing a Kiss animated show, like a superhero, X-Men kind of show. We have a Las Vegas Kiss show that's being planned. I just came back from Singapore. There's nowhere we can't go and nothing we can't do.

This is the weird thing. There's something going on here that even we and I don't pretend to understand. All I know is we are not going to take it for granted. We take it deadly seriously. And we intend to live up to our own legend. We intend not to let the fans down, the fans that have been there for 35 years and are probably in their 50s, some in their 60s, and the new 15-year-old fan who's heard about the legend of Kiss.

So many things in life are not real. Santa is not real. Superman is not real. Kiss is real. And we're going to make sure that when you leave that show, your first Kiss show or the 100th, you'll walk away, whether you love the band or not, and say, "That is the best fucking thing I've ever seen on planet Earth." That's a vow we make to ourselves and anybody who's willing to come out there and see us.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard