At 68, Gene Simmons has just become the chief marketing manager of a cannabis brand without ever smoking a single bud.
The founding member of rock band Kiss has an addiction of another kind.
A self-confessed sweet tooth, he only drinks decaf coffee and tops his cup with hot chocolate for added sweetness.
“I’ve never touched opioids, crack or weed, but I do have a thing for sugar. I will never say no. My downfall is cake,” Simmons tells The New Daily.
“I have also had the same dream ever since I was a young child – and it goes like this. Imagine your hands are tied and you’re trapped inside a room within a house that is made out of cake. There’s no windows and no doors. How do you escape? You eat your way through. I have woken up out of dreams chewing.”
Age has mellowed him a little.
Simmons is famous for live-in relationships with Cher and Diana Ross and has raved of his female conquests – claiming he has slept with more than 4800 groupies since Kiss began in 1974.
He never believed in marriage. But in 2011, at the age of 62, Simmons finally wed Shannon Tweed, his longtime love and mother of his two children, daughter Sophie and son Nick.
They first started dating in 1983. So what changed his mind?
“I guess with age comes a sense of mortality and I never thought about dying or being old and alone,” Simmons says.
“It’s something I thought I’d do given my wife Shannon has been there for me for as long as she has.”
Simmons attributes his success with women to American rock’n’roll singer and dancer Chubby Checker.
“When I first heard Chubby Checker it was the time of his smash hit The Twist. It wasn’t that the music itself was revolutionary, but it gave me a social tool because I became a twist champion,” he says.
“Because of that, I could dance and pick up chicks, which to young males is very important. All the girls wanted to dance with me. I met Chubby many years later and told him that story.
“But when I first came to America as an eight-year-old with my mother from Israel it was The Beatles that changed my life. They gave me the epiphany – I had never seen or heard anything like that and that’s when I imagined I could do it myself.”
As for as his new vocation as a cannabis advocate with Canadian company Invictus, Simmons says he was paid more than $3.24 million ($US2.5 million) for the opportunity and gifted more than $12.97 million ($US10 million) in product.
“I am against drug abuse,” he says.
“The only thing I have to say to people is do your research. I was completely wrong about my perception of cannabis. I may decide never to use any cannabis products, but I don’t have any problems with it.”
GENE SIMMONS’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
On sale now
Tuesday, August 28 2018 Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
Thursday, August 30 2018 Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Friday, August 31 2018 The Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, September 1 2018 Tivoli Centre, Brisbane