Dignified to quit while at the top, says Gene

Mike Cohen
3 min readJun 13, 2023

Jewish Telegraph, June 2023

ROCK legend Gene Simmons has blamed Mother Nature for his band Kiss’ decision to quit touring.
Kiss arrived in the UK this week for dates in Birmingham and Newcastle on their End of the Road World Tour, which started in 2019.
The iconic band will play their final shows at Madison Square Gardens in New York in December — although they have not ruled out playing one-off shows or a Las Vegas residency.
There has also been talk in the past about Simmons, 73, and fellow founder 71-year-old Paul Stanley overseeing a new version of Kiss featuring different musicians.
Haifa-born Simmons told Australia’s The Sunday Project show: “Well, look, at a certain point Mother Nature takes over no matter what your plans are. And at a certain time you’ve gotta have the dignity and pride but also the love and admiration of your fans to know when it’s time to call it quits.
“We’ve all seen boxers that stay in the ring too long, and we’ve all seen bands that stay on the stage too long. So, I’m still looking pretty damn good. But that’s not the point. The point is the physical nature of what we do is gonna limit how long we do it.
“We introduce ourselves with ‘You wanted the best. You got the best. The hottest band in the world’. I don’t want to be in one of those bands where the fans just say, ‘Oh, you should have seen them back in 1804 when they were really rocking’.
“Right here, right now, either be a champion or get off the stage. So we’re gonna quit while the quitting’s good, while we’re on top. And gratefully, I don’t know how to verbalise what an amazing journey it’s been, and it’s only due to the fans.
“Without them, I’d be asking the next person in line if they’d like some fries with that. Don’t kid yourself.”
While Simmons and Stanley are both Jewish, the other two members of the band — guitarist Tommy Thayer, the youngster of the band at 62, and 65-year-old drummer Eric Singer — also have Jewish connections.
Thayer’s father James is credited with liberating the Gunskirchen Nazi death camp, which he discovered while leading a platoon in Austria in May, 1945. This would have resonated with the two Jewish founders of the band as they both had family who survived the Holocaust and also members who were murdered.
Meanwhile, Singer’s father, Johnny Mensinger, was of German-Jewish descent.
Kiss, celebrating their 50th anniversary, had been due to open their European tour with a show at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park Stadium last weekend — but the date was cancelled due to “logistical problems”.
This led to speculation that ticket sales for their UK dates were not doing well. The rumours were dispelled on Monday as they performed at a packed Resorts World Arena in Birmingham.
After Tuesday’s show at Newcastle Utilita Arena, Kiss headed off to Europe, but they return to these shores next month with concerts at London’s 02 Arena on July 5, Manchester AO Arena on July 7 and Ovo Hydro in Glasgow on the following night.
Kiss originally planned to play their final shows in July, 2021, but Covid forced a rethink.
“December 1 and 2 is Madison Square Garden. Those are the last two shows of the band. We’re finishing up where we started,” Stanley — born Stanley Eisen — told the Howard Stern Show in March.
“Some people have kind of snickered and said, ‘This ‘End Of The Road’ tour has gone on for years’. Yeah, we lost two and a half years to Covid. We would have been done already. Yeah, this is the end.”
Simmons admitted that when they play their final show, he will “cry like a nine-year-old girl whose foot’s being stepped on”.

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Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories