Men's Health

A**   holes

GENE SIMMONS DOESN’T CARE IF YOU CALL him an asshole. In fact, he considers it a compliment. “I don’t think ‘asshole’ is a bad word,” he says, with a smirk that rarely leaves his face. “It means you’re a leader. You’re out in the front of the line, making the big decisions. The followers are behind you, and when they look up, all they see is an asshole. Because that’s their only view. That’s not the life I want. I’d rather be the guy in front who sees no assholes.”

We’re backstage with Simmons at the Park West in Chicago a few hours before he takes the stage. It’s him and his band, not his usual gig singing and breathing fire for Kiss, so he’s not in his familiar demon makeup, codpiece, and platform boots. For tonight’s show, just a day after his 68th birthday, he’s in street clothes—leather jacket, way-too-tight jeans, and sunglasses that don’t come off in a dim dressing room. He’s invited us here to talk about his favorite subject. “I’m delusional in my sense of self,” Simmons says, pausing to check himself out in the mirror. “I’m aware that I’m not the best-looking guy in the world. But I’m also aware that I could walk into any room in the entire world and walk out with anybody’s girl. That’s just a fact.”

Simmons wrote a book, , which includes such section titles as “Get Better Friends,” “Speak English and Speaka guide to attaining power by behaving like Gene Simmons, i.e., an unrepentant prick. The book’s cover features a money bag, which Simmons tells us, without a hint of sarcasm, is something he’s trademarked. “I’ve owned the trademark to the money bag symbol for 28 years,” he insists. “It’s not my fault other people were too stupid not to think of it first.”

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