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Q+A: Gene Simmons Book Reveals Behind-The-Scenes Secrets, Sex of KISS Rocker

A local author has penned an intriguing parody book and behind-the-scenes look at rock legend Gene Simmons. Packed with interesting facts, the tome “Gene Simmons Is a Powerful & Attractive Man — and Other Irrefutable Facts” is published by Plume Books from the Penguin Group and also is available as an eBook. Gene authorized the book and also wrote its foreword.

Christina Vitagliano, founder of the Monster Mini Golf indoor, glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed miniature-golf entertainment centers, including the KISS-themed venue opposite the Hard Rock Hotel here in Las Vegas, pays homage to one of rock’s living legends.

With tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Gene himself sets the tone of the book: “I have known Gene Simmons for a very long time. Over the years, I have witnessed astounding feats, met incredible people and seen amazing places, but none so astounding, incredible or amazing as Gene Simmons himself.

“I look at Gene Simmons, a 60-plus-year-old man with the energy and vitality of a teenager, and think he is exactly the living legend he always knew he would be. To this day, I am still Gene’s closest friend, ally, admirer and confidante. I am his biggest fan. So I can say with complete confidence that even now, Gene’s best is still yet to come. The best thing about Gene Simmons is that there will only ever be one. It’s been the honor of a lifetime knowing him.”

He admits in the book to sleeping with 5,000 women because he wanted “to get all the girls.” “There was only one reason why I made the decision to become a rock god: Girls!”

Gene has sold more than 100 million albums with KISS and $1 billion in merchandise, including his bestselling books “KISS and Make Up” and “Me Inc.”

“Facts” included in the books: Gene can get to the center of a Tootsie Pop in one lick. Gene is nicknamed “The Demon” and travels in the Death Star instead of a tour bus. He says he does not need a toaster as bread gladly sets itself on fire for him, and when he walks into a strip club, girls pay him.

I talked with Christina about where the idea came from for the wacky book:

“I’ve worked with Gene on the KISS Mini Golf in Las Vegas we built about three years ago. I developed a relationship with Gene business-wise, and he is so intense and so unique that you need a sense of humor to make it through a relationship with Gene Simmons. I do have a sense of humor, and I enjoy working with him.

“He’s very direct on every level, and I admire that. Mixed in with all of that, he has a sense of humor, and that’s unusual.”

And he’s also a little bit self-deflating.

Yeah, that’s a very good word, Robin. I tell people that you have to have very, very thick skin to work side-by-side with Mr. Simmons. And, if you do, it’s very valuable.

He had no qualms about the book, no qualms about writing the foreword to the parody?

No. When I presented it to him, my husband said you’re going to do what?! Don’t poke The Demon; that’s our saying. I felt readers would like him because he understands, and he’s really cool about making fun of himself because it makes him more human. It makes people understand that as powerful and intense as he is, he’s still just a regular guy underneath all that.

How long did the book take you from start to finish? The minute he said yes to the minute it came out.

It took around two to three months to write it because the book is all in jest and it’s fun, and it was more of a relief for me. I work every day all day long, I’m a workaholic, so if I was on a plane or at the end of the night if I was just sitting by the pool, I would just come up with Gene-isms.

How much input did Gene have with the book?

I wrote the entire book and presented it to him, and then he went through every page and approved or disapproved of everything, but he was fantastic. I think there were maybe a few things here and there that we took out, and not for any particular reason; just because he didn’t think it was funny. I have a lot of Gene’s stats in there, too, mixed in with the fun and parody.

There are also actual quotes from Gene, plus the things that either I read or learned about him, and he’d say, “You know, that’s not actually true. I know. I’ve been around him for years, but that’s not true.” So little things like that, but overall he was great with the entire parody. You’ve got to give him credit for that.

The book is titled “Powerful & Attractive”? Is he?

He’s extremely powerful. I’m going to end that there.

And that tongue really is the longest tongue in the world, yes?

Yeah. I wrote the book before I started to handle all of his backstage meet-and-greet appearances. The book was written before he asked me to handle that part of his business, so I took that over about a year ago. The title of the book is a fat understatement. I learned so much about him now that we’re working one-on-one with him with fans who just adore him; he’s their hero. You see a whole different part of him, and it’s very endearing and amazing that most people don’t see.

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