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KISS' Gene Simmons on his family history, why he doesn't need friends - and his violent plans as Earth's benevolent dictator.

I’m an only child, so all my life I’ve been delusional. When I first came to America with my mother [from his native Israel] I heard about Superman flying through the air and having super strength. I remember being on a beach when I was eight, putting a towel round my neck and standing there with my hands on my hips, and as the wind blew my cape fluttered behind me. In my mind I had an image of millions of people grovelling at my feet and paying homage to me, Superman.

I wouldn’t say I was a good looking guy, but I could walk up to the best looking guy’s girl and walk away with her. I knew I wasn’t the best looking or smartest guy in the room but I also knew that, as Shakespeare says, the world’s a stage and we’re all actors. I had the people skills and the language skills. This idea of looking people in the eyes works very well with the female of the species. Was I doing the Lord’s work and spreading my seed at 16? The answer is yes.

I’ve always been happy. I’ve never had the need to have friends. The thing about friends is, while it’s a nice sugar coating and a cushion, you really can’t do what you want to do. There’s just too much I want to do – I don’t want to have to make excuses why I can’t hang out or go shopping. Taylor Swift is a wonderful girl – I’ve met her, she’s sweet, charming and kind – but this idea of going in a group of people to events, it’s not in my DNA. Friends demand time, watering – why did you say that, you hurt my feelings... I don’t want to worry about people’s feelings. You’re a grown-up, take care of your own feelings. I’m busy building my empire.

When I was young, my main ambition was to become rich and famous. As soon as I saw girls screaming at the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, I thought, that looks like a good job. You get to travel the world and women want to have your children. Not much later, I realised it wasn’t just about music – it was then, and it is now, the music business. And I took care of that. As I sit here speaking to you now, I’m proudly aware that KISS is the number one American gold-record champion of all time. Which is bizarre, because we only ever had about two hit singles.

When we started with fan clubs and licensing and merchandise, it was considered not to be credibleWith KISS merchandising, it’s like the world eventually caught up with me. When we started with fan clubs and licensing and merchandise, it was considered not to be credible. But I questioned who had the authority to define what was credible. All the biggest iconic artists of all time couldn’t read or write a word of music. We learn by ear. We don’t have qualifications. Rock ’n’ roll has no credibility. Classical musicians, jazz musicians – they have credibility. The idea of rock ’n’ roll has always been, forget the rules and do whatever you want.

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