Gene Simmons

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Gene Simmons (born August 25, 1949) is an Israeli-American rock bassist, singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and businessman. He is well known as "The Demon", the bassist in the hard rock band Kiss, a group he co-founded in the early 1970s.

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Early life and career

Simmons was born Chaim Witz [‏Hebrew: חיים ויץ‎, pronounced /ˈxɑːjɪm/] in Tirat Carmel, Haifa, Israel in 1949, and immigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City at the age of eight,[1] with his mother Flóra Klein — a Jewish-Hungarian immigrant (who was born in Jánd, a village in Hungary[2]). Florence and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only two members of her family to survive the Holocaust. His Hungarian-born father, Feri Witz, did not accompany them to the U.S. After arriving in the U.S., young Chaim Witz took the name Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), Klein being his mother's maiden name. In the late 1960s, he changed his name to Gene Simmons, after legendary rockabilly performer Jumpin' Gene Simmons.[3]

Simmons became involved with his first band, Lynx, then renamed The Missing Links, when he was a teenager. Eventually, he disbanded The Missing Links to form The Long Island Sounds, the name being a play on words relating to the estuary separating Long Island from Westchester County, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. While he played in these bands, he kept up odd jobs on the side to make more money, including trading used comic books. As "Gene Klein" he had become a member of science fiction fandom (coincidentally, the eye section of his "Demon" makeup with KISS would come from the wing design of comic book character Black Bolt)[4], and during the 1966-1969 era published several science fiction fanzines; titles included Sirruish, Id, Cosmos (which eventually merged with Stilletto to become Cosmos-Stilletto and then Faun), Tinderbox, Sci-Fi Showcase, Mantis and Adventure. He also contributed to other fanzines, of which the best known is probably BeABohema.[5]

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