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Gene Simmons talks about the marketing of a rock 'n' roll behemoth Kiss

In an interview last week, Gene Simmons talked, in his calm melodious voice, about the state of the KISS  Army.

So you guys are about to go on tour?
Actually, we've been on tour for 21/2 years, on and off. We started in Melbourne, Australia, to 80,000 people. We went through stadiums in South America, then did the outdoors in Europe over a year ago and did a run of America and Canada. We just finished a second European leg and went to places we hadn't been before -- 90,000 in Nuremberg just to give you a sense. We're coming back to America again, playing places we hadn't before.

We've taken over promoting ourselves at the shows -- in other words, every ticket that's bought there, we take it all. What that also means is we can do something that's never been done before. At almost all the shows, with the exception of two, if you're 14 or under, if you come with one adult, the four of you will get in for free as our guest. We can only do that if we promote the event ourselves. That also means no service charges, that 20 percent crap when you buy a ticket, and we're taking a buck out of every ticket and giving it directly to Wounded Warriors, our servicemen who are coming back.

I guess Kiss has become a family show -- it wasn't like that in the '70s.
It's grown full circle a few times. When we first started there were a lot of 14-year-olds and they grew older and became moms and dads, and guess what, their kids liked us, too. They grew up and they had kids. It's been 36, 37 years since the first tour. We have three generations of fans.

I imagine that's a great merchandising opportunity for you guys?
You're right. We have 3,000 licences, everything from condoms to caskets. That also means the oldest American beverage, Dr. Pepper, also decided to present the shows and also do these commercials.

You were just at the Arena in December -- that building might not be there much longer. I don't know if you know that or not.
I didn't know. I didn't know it was going to go away.

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