GENE SIMMONS Talks Money: 'Being Alive Means I Want More'

KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently spoke to Bankrate.com about his business philosophies and his penchant for getting involved in other ventures have made him a mogul in his own right even beyond his band's achievements.

When asked how much he's worth, Simmons said, "A lot. An awful lot. But numbers aren't indicative of anything except how well you're doing in life. What I mean is, it's like judges holding up numbers to an Olympic athlete. This is how well you did this. I'm comfortable. I've heard people say money is the root of all evil, but of course they're nuts. Lack of money is the root of all evil. If I don't have a dime in my pocket, I might hold up a 7-Eleven. If I have $100 million in the bank, why would I want to grab a gun and hold up a 7-Eleven? People are very uncomfortable talking about money, but I'm happy to. Money is good. Anyone who tells you it's not ... How about buying your mom the hip operation she needs, or buying your child the food he needs. Love, unfortunately, is not the most powerful force in the universe. Love, despite what they tell you, is not going to put food in your mouth no matter how many times you say, 'I love myself and I love my child.' Only money can do that. And how much is enough? I believe that's a loser's game. I believe it's never enough. I like to think that Bill Gates, who has quite a bit more than I do, gets up an hour earlier, and works harder and tries to make more. Because more is what America's about. 'When is enough?' is limiting. It's like a world champion. If you're the fastest runner that ever existed, what does that mean, does that mean you quit, or you get up the next day and try to break your own record? I'd like to think you get up the next morning and try to break your own record, because being alive means 'I want more.' When is enough? When they stick you 6 feet underground."

With regards to how he decides whether or not to take on a business venture, Gene said, "The deal has to make sense. The aesthetic should pull the heartstrings. The word 'cool' is bandied about often enough. NASCAR and the National Hot Rod Association, the NHRA, are cool, and go to the heart of what America is about. So that's why we have KISS cars, and why I was the grand marshal of both two years in a row. Visa cards, corporate credit cards -- as far as I'm concerned that's about as cool as you can get. Corporate America is cool. People hate to admit it, but what's cooler than Starbucks and Coca-Cola? We buy their products and we love them."

With all his businesses, is there anything Gene turns down?

"Cigarettes and hard booze," Simmons said. "Those are two products I don't personally use, and that's something we can't have on our conscience -- somebody's health problems. But other than that, I'm happy to put KISS on almost anything. We even have KISS Kaskets." Read more.

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