He's survived 22 Kiss albums (15 have gone platinum says [Gene Simmons], who keeps count), headlined concerts everywhere, embarked on an acting career (largely as a Hollywood heavy), romanced everyone from Cher and Diana Ross to Playmate Shannon Tweed and emerged as one of the elder statesmen of the heavy-metal underworld.
Simmons isn't kidding about taking control. House of Lords was originally known as Giuffria, but Simmons replaced the group's original lead singer-and changed its name. "I wanted something that sounded classy, and not too heavy-metal."
"Gene has great instincts about what kind of bands teen-agers like to hear," said Geffen A&R exec John Kalodner. "The big question is-how much time can he put into this, considering that he's also in a very successful rock band? Being a record exec is a 24-hour-a-day job. But he has good ears-he'll be just as good at finding new groups as any A&R guy that's at CBS Records these days."