Patriotism can be planted, sprouted, and bred in anyone – especially in an iconic American rock star Gene Simmons. And once the seeds have been sown, there are no limits to hold him back. There is actually a lot of grass roots love for the motherland from this high flying, stage make up bearing, and absolutely rocking bassist.
This co-Kiss-frontman makes no secret of his Israeli roots. He was born Chaim Weitz, in August 25, 1949 in Tirat HaCarmel, Israel. During his homecoming visit to Israel, in March of 2011, he even spoke Hebrew as well as English in one of the press conferences they held in the country. Other than these two languages, Simmons can also speak Hungarian and German. In one interview, he even mentioned that his visit to Israel was one his life changing experiences.
Early Years and Moving to the US
When Simmons turned eight, he and his mother immigrated to the United States and stayed in Queens, New York City. His mother, Flora Klein, was from Hungary (which basically explains why Simmons can speak Hungarian). Feri Witz, Simmon’s father (who was also born in Hungary) chose to remain in Israel along with the rest of Simmon’s brother and sisters. He adopted his mother’s maiden name when he changed his name to Eugene Klein, which was later changed to Gene Klein.
Formation of Kiss
Gene Simmons was actually involved in other bands even before he cofounded Kiss. There was nothing extra special or magical about the early beginnings of Simmon’s band career. However, it reflected the human struggle for greatness that every human being had to go through in order to come up with that success that everyone dreams of.
As a teenager he formed, disbanded, and formed a new band, joined other bands in the process, and so forth. That’s the same story we hear from every budding artist that has ever walked the earth. It reflects the fact that greatness, even rock star greatness, is something that we all have to work hard for. In fact, Simmons even had to do odd jobs aside from playing in bands just to have more money ready for his needs. On top of that, he even attended Sullivan County Community College.
During these formative journeys he met his would-be fellow front man Paul Stanley in the 1970s. Both Stanley and Simmons were never satisfied with their current band, Wicked Lester, and they left, which also meant walking away from a record deal with Epic Records. Four years later they formed Kiss and the rest is simply rock history as we know it. Together with Kiss, Gene Simmons sold more than a hundred million albums worldwide – an act which is hard to beat let alone match.
Patriotism Expressed in His Works
Like all the greats who were able to forge successful life stories, Simmons also found it in himself to reach out to those who didn’t make it that well in life. He supported causes for grief support, children, family support, and victims of AIDS and HIV. He has supported and given aid to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Kids Wish Network (an organization that supports children and their families who are going through tough times).
Gene Simmons was a man who is very outspoken about his patriotism and love for America. He once said that he is eternally grateful for America for rescuing him and his mother from Nazi concentration camps. He also supported the George Bush Administration’s foreign policy when America invaded Iraq in 2003. He was once quoted as having said that “if you have a problem with America, you have a problem with me.”
Of course, that was not just hot air as he was actively engaged for the good of his countrymen. In fact, Simmons and his wife Shannon Tweed have also promoted and gave financial support to the Saskatoon SPCA. In return, a litter of kittens were named after the two. His patriotic work was also evident in his ardent support for the men and women in uniform. Back in January 2011, he hosted a charity party for soldiers who came back from Iraq and Afghanistan along with other wounded soldiers and veterans.
Beyond the stage make up and the exhilarating and outlandish drama on stage, Simmons was a man with a big heart for both his land of birth and the land that cradled him into the man he is today. Gene Simmons, behind the mask is an American patriot.
Dick is a free lancer writer of http://www.biographyarchive.com/