Rocker Gene Simmons says there’s no huge secret to his ability to play a show night after night while wearing 50 pounds of gear (that’s between the armor and his guitar):
“I’ve never been high and I’ve never been drunk,” said Simmons, 67, who’s presently on tour with KISS.
Although a rock n’ roll lifestyle almost preaches indulgence of drugs and alcohol, Simmons said he went against the grain — for his mom, who survived a Nazi concentration camp while many in her family did not.
“I’m my mother’s only kid,” Simmons said.
Simmons said abstaining has helped him continue to fill arenas after more than four decades and stay on top of the music industry.
“I literally never drink. I hated it every time and have not taken more than a sip of anything, and have never been drunk in my life..”
“I’m not here to convince anyone of my lifestyle,” he said. “This is what I need for me.” But he said he doesn’t comprehend why someone would decide to hamper their ability to succeed by drinking and doing drugs.
Simmons said, if “you and I are lined up along with 10 other guys, do you believe you’ll do better than the guy who is a bit tipsy? Because the booze isn’t going to help him.”
He’s also critical of media outlets making booze seem like a health food with “red wine is good for you. “People say There’s my license to drink,” he said.
Simmons said he never desired to dull his senses because “if you stand still, you’re losing. We have to be like sharks. Either you move through the water or you drown.”
Instead of intoxicants, Simmons said his drug of choice is achievement.
And a KISS concert requires a regimen off stage and is a workout: “You’ve got to be in great condition,” he said.
He and his wife, Shannon, are routine hikers through the Santa Monica Mountains. “We do from three to eight miles, four to five times a week,” he said. Going down and “On level, you run, and you attempt a quick walk.”
Simmons, who is a partner in the Brews & Rock pub-restaurants, said that drinking is a personal choice — “You must be judge and jury of yourself” — but that his choice helps him rock and roll .