Gene Simmons Goes to Camp (Pendleton)


Okay, I admit it, I watch Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels on A & E. Simmons’ band KISS was big big big in the ‘7o’s, but I wasn’t at that stage yet in my musical development and found “Twinkle twinkle little star” a far more appealing ditty than

(only 30 secs)

Besides, they looked like this:

I do vaguely remembering thinking the “cat one” was cute when I saw them on MTV back in the day. I also remember my mom getting very upset that some of the teenage boys in our neighborhood would dress up like KISS, replete with face paint of course, and jump out at her (and other adults, I’m sure). Sometimes, they would do this while she was driving, and she was understandably worried that she’d mow them down in the street. That would have sucked.

Anyway, back to this show, it’s not at all what I thought it would be because I had watched Gene Simmons’ Band Camp or whatever in England, and I really didn’t like him all that much. Let me just say that I find some of his choices would not be my own, nor would I be comfortable in his life; however, as I neither have to live nor sleep with him, I’m okay with that. He’s quite famously had sex with literally thousands of women, and though he has a lovely family, continues to do all sorts of these things. Again, though, not my business. But I really didn’t see the point in watching him; we didn’t have one thing in common, and I found his morals a bit . . . well, not to be all judgy (yeah, right), but I found them lacking, you know? And I found him arrogant. And I couldn’t figure out why he would be arrogant, on what it was based.

(the famous tongue)

(without makeup, remember when he was dating Cher and we first saw him without it?)

One of the things that keeps me watching the Family Jewels show, though, is how great his kids are and their family dynamic, in general. The Osbornes were clearly a close family, very loving and all that, but a bit dysfunctional and strange, too, with poor Ozzy doddering about unable to articulate a thought, if he had one, and the kids being a bit wild, and all the onus being on Sharon to hold it all together. It was stressful, sometimes, to watch their life, not so the Simmons (though of course, Gene isn’t married to Shannon, so they’re not really “the Simmons,” but it’s easier to write that way. Or it would have been if I hadn’t just explained it for four lines).

Anyway, they’ve got a son who’s about 18 named Nick and a younger daughter (about 14) named Sophie, and these kids are just great; they’re funny (well, they’re pretty sarcastic, and I guess some people don’t appreciate that in children), they’ve got amazing heads on their shoulders (Sophie is constantly reminding people who try to put her in sleezy or even slightly revealing clothing that she’s only 14, for instance, and a lot of 14 year olds . . . well, look around), and they’re clearly devoted to one another and to their parents. Nick said recently in an episode that he is the only of his friends, indeed the only teenager he’s ever heard of who actually wants to hang around with his parents. And he does want to do so, as does Sophie, and Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed clearly enjoy each other and the kids, as well. It’s really . . . nice.

Here’s a quick clip that will give you an idea about the show:

I’m not really writing to regale you with the wonders of the show, it’s not for everyone. I know that. But I am writing to regale you with a quick synopsis of the episode I watched last night in which Gene took Sophie to Camp Pendleton in San Diego to help her better understand the lives of military personnel for a paper she was working on for school (so sure, we’d all be better parents if we had that kind of money / clout). They get there, and they go through this obstacle course (funny), then Gene decides to take her to the Veterans Hospital. There, they go around and meet and shake hands with and offer support to scores of vets from the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi Conflicts (these are the ones I remember seeing, there may have been others). Gene got choked up talking to one old guy, and the vet told him that just his choking up like that was meaningful, that it was thanks.

And that’s what Gene and Sophie did . . . they walked around that VA hospital, saying thank you and letting those disabled and injured vets know that what they did, the sacrifice they made, their decision to do for us what we cannot or will not do, to pay the price that must be paid for our freedom (and freedom is not free) . . . letting them know that it matters. That THEY matter. And that the Simmons were grateful. It brought tears to my eyes, it really did. I was so touched by this unselfish act of a very wealthy man, a man who could have dashed off a check to ease his conscious (as he clearly has one), to appease his patriotism. But he didn’t do that; he went in person. And he shook hands, listened to stories, gave back. And yes, the skeptics among us may point out that he did it on his television show, and he did, but it’s a television show, they could have done anything, gone anywhere; they chose to do that.

And he didn’t just stop there, he called up his musician buds, got them together with some military musicians to arrange portions of the four songs of our military branches into one rockin’ number, and then they went and performed it. Watching this left me feeling proud and patriotic (and a little surprised that I actually knew many words to each of the four songs):

Gene Simmons and I have some things in common, after all: we’re both patriots and proud Americans. Oh, and neither of us can sing.


26 thoughts on “Gene Simmons Goes to Camp (Pendleton)

  1. Don’t watch the reality shows, they make me too angry.

    KISS however were a major part of my life growing up. I was a young rocker and idolised Gene and co. due to the fact they wore make up and couldn’t give a shite about rules, but then, it all went horribly Pete Tong when KISS (Kids In Search of Satan) released a cover of “God Gave Rock And Roll To You”. They completely lost it, they were out of make up, out of tune and out of my record collection.

    Still, life goes on eh.

  2. Hei Fuzz.

    I ‘know’ the man did not know that he had a show – do not watch and do not own a telly, you see.
    Watched the clip of the Family Jewels and it is rather good, must admit.

    Not bad for an Israeli to do so well in the US. “Simmons was born “Chaim Witz” (חיים וויץ) in Haifa, Israel. At age eight, he emigrated to New York City in 1957 with his mother Florence Klein—a Jewish Hungarian immigrant and the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust—after his father, Feri Witz, abandoned his family.” Wikipedia

    He still speaks fluent Hebrew and visits Israel. Another interesting fact on yer man is this: “As a teenager, Gene worked as an intern for Vogue” – wonder if it did improve his fashion sense and style one iota?!!

    Great entry. HUGZ from Rii xx

  3. PS.

    Never liked that style of ‘music’!! Yikes.

    And one more thing, he mentions the exact number of women that he has slept with to be 4,897 – Wikipedia – which makes me wonder: Did he have a notepad where he jotted all the names & numbers down?! If so, the man is a born statician and has clearly a natural aptitude for the said thing!!

  4. My brother was BIG into kiss. I like some of their songs. I really like Beth. I watched clips of this show and I did think it had a bit of humor.

  5. I liked the one when Shannon got the baby monkey . . .I was introduced to KISS by my next door neighbor who also introduced me to my second kiss of the literal sense =) Glad I outgrew both but I do still listen occasionally and catch Family Jewels on occasion too.

  6. Funny how our tastes change as we mature and experience things in adulthood that we only thought we had a clue about as teens! I actually entered a bannor making contest in the late 80’s, think it was 1986, and I made a huge bannor the size of a flat king sized bedsheet and I painted that exact picture with the four of their painted faces and along the top was the promo for our local San Antonio, Tx. rock station….”99.5 KISS presents KISS in Concert!!!” …I won the first place prize, I had front row seats and two backstage passes! My poor mom hated that kind of music, and so my dad drove us there and back, and I will admit that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are as womanizing as they claim to be! No, I didn’t do anything more than get a “KISS” and I asked him how long it took to do their makeup, and other than the two of them staring at us like we were fresh meat and making lots of lude comments, which didn’t offend me at the time but should have, it was …well…it was the 80’s, what could one expect! Nowadays, I still like only a few of their songs, and I actually feel guilty for making my poor mom so upset, but she was such a harsh disciplinarian, that I chose total rebellion, and now as a mom, I can totally appreciate all I put her through and how blessed I am to not have kids like I was! I like their patriotic song, and I agree, he can’t really sing! LOL! But when you’re rich, I guess it doesn’t matter! After the concert as I was walking towards my dad outside the arena, a guy in dark clothes with a ballhat pulled down over his face a ways so you couldn’t see his eyes, rushed up and took my bannor from me on the sidewalk and knocked me down! I was so mad, but now looking back on it, I feel sorry for him, He was willing to steal for what I won, and now look back on as a silly venture to begin with! Ah, the old days!

  7. Okay….I totally avoid reality shows, not my thing…and Kiss? Uh Uh….but I can appriciate anyone who takes the time to thank a veteran. My husband did 22 years in the Marine Corps, a Vietnam Vet himself, and no one was thanking him when he came home back in ’68 believe me. My mother and I volunteered at a Veterans Hospital years ago and there is no sadder place on earth. All these poor men abandoned, no families, no friends, it broke our hearts. So, kudos to Gene Simmons…I still don’t want to watch his show but…maybe I’ll alter my opinion of him a little! (:

  8. hubby and i used to watch the osbournes. we were totally addicted to it for about two seasons before it got really old. i haven’t really watched anything like it since. this sounds kind of interesting, though. and that’s really great that he went to visit the veterans hospital. that must have meant so much to them.

    i had a bit of a giggle over your little music snippet you put in there. if you’ve heard 30 seconds of ‘wanna rock and roll’, you’ve heard the whole song. lol!

  9. I am not a big fan of Kiss, but the shows seems to be interesting, hopefully will watch the reruns later. The kids as you say are well behaved. The women he had before Shannon Tweed or after :), she is not saint either she has her own adult shows. It is a nice gesture by him to go to the VA and thank the soldiers, I hope it is a genuine act. Later put some good songs, we can get acquainted to Kiss. Cheers 🙂

  10. Not a fan of KISS, but I am always surprised to discover how nice and ordinary some of these outrageous pop stars are. I do think the 2 things you mention are rather wonderful, Fuzzy – the visiting and the singing for the troops. And I watched the whole vid! Thanks for this. And thanks to him!

  11. I have to admit I watched the episode last night, until my 3 year old grandson said to turn it off and find something more interesting. I decided he was right. It was good mindless fun though…

  12. I’m really not much into ‘reality’ shows. Frankly most of them are a total waste of time. Never seen this one, so can’t really comment. Have to admit a liking for Ozzy though….he’s just a likeable loon.

  13. Generally reality shows suck. Not a KISS fan. Can not think of any of their music that would be considered of value though there may be. But I find it a pleasant surprise to read your blog and salute them for caring. They have moved upstream it would seem. 🙂

  14. :::giggling::: OK first off, wonderful blog! I’ve watched about one episode of the show, but as my profile states…commitment issues…TV…blah, blah, blah. Gene Simmons always reminds me of the Halloween that I was first allowed to go trick-or-treating without parents. I spent the night over my friend Racheal’s house. We listened to the song ‘Beth’ about 1,000 times that night,. (I too thought the one who looked like a cat was cute.) My first even remotely sexual dream was of french kissing with Gene Simmons. To this day, I have no idea where that came from. LOL!

    In any case, while I have always disagreed with his morals toward women, I’ve always found him to be oddly down to earth in other areas. And, I think that shows in his kids. And, I do believe that those tears and the patriotism were real. Lord, I just hope I don’t have another french kissing dream with him tonight! LOL! Even at age 10 (can you believe it), I woke up thinking WTH was that?!?!?

  15. Back in my garage band days…. the bass player had a KISS passion and we were (the rest of us) pressed into playing a couple of KISS tunes.. Beth being one of them. Unfortunately, our Bass player wasn’t much on vocals either… Being a southern band, we were much better at Lynard Skynard, Charlie Daniels and Bob Segar tunes…

  16. I have always found Gene Simmons kind of scary, ever since I was a kid, lol. Their music isn’t my bag but I would listen to it over Backstreet Boys 😀
    I’m pre-coffee and not quite with it yet. But I will say that it’s nice to see celebrities with a sense of humility and compassion, instead of spoiled brats. Yay!

  17. OH FUZZY!! Finally someone who likes this show as much as me–I never watched KISS—before my time really–but I am a CLOSET FAMILY JEWELS lover…how this guy raised these COOL COOL kids is beyond me–they are so normal and funny and totally hilarious and kind and it is one of the best shows out there. To watch them sit there and take this ROCK star down a peg or two is just HYSTERICAL and even if you “HATE” reality shows it is worth a ‘tune in’ just for the comic value. Their facial expressions are a hoot. And they all have comedic(?) timing worthy of Emmys in my opinion. The Camp Pendelton show was soooooo GOOD! IT brought a TEAR to my eye and I wrote into A&E and told them so! Hurray for an American doing something for Americans and our troops-(he helped out with their insurance among other things)–it was awesome!


  18. I have memories of trying to make the KISS record play backwards on my stereo!!! Hahahaha.

    I guess I’ve always found him to be a bit creepy. Well, actually…a lot creepy. Eeek @ Rii….and her quoting Wikipedia on the 4897 women! I remember when he was on an episode of The Apprentice….creepy. Have I mentioned that I find him to be creepy??

    Okay…I listened to the snippet, watched the show clip, and even watched the entire patriotic music clip. The show would probably catch my interest if I knew what station A&E was on..hahahah. I’ll admit to watching the Osbournes several times. You’re right…you can soooo tell that they obviously love each other and are a close family.

    Now….let me see if I can make a CD play backwards! Haha :p

  19. Hey there, Monty, so how come reality shows make you angry? And as I understand it, you were not at all alone in finding that the luster had gone when KISS went makeup-less. I didn’t realize it was because of that song (not that I’d heard of that song, though). Cool info.

    Hey Rii, I love that Gene Simmmons is so close to his mom; they often show him talking to her on the phone, and in one ep, they went to visit her. She’s so lovely. And yes, I knew (from the show) what his “real” name is, and the number of women he slept with (shudder on that one). And yeah, I’m with you on the not liking KISS overmuch, musically. Huggs xx

    Hey Bert, yeah, the show is really pretty funny, and Gene Simmons is surprisingly self-deprecating. And I just loved that song, Beth, too! Yay!!

    Hey Laurie, a fellow FJ watcher! Woohoo!!

    Aw, Spazzy, I just LOVE your story! And how generous of you to take that high road over the guy who took your poster. Yay you!! 😀

    Thanks, Rivergirl, I’m not a KISS fan, either, though I do like the show a lot. KISS was before my time and out of my interest range (I think they’re like a lot of bands of that era and appeal to boys and men more so than to women; with the exception of songs like Beth. We do like a nice power ballad, huh?). I was uber impressed by his patriotism, and thank your hubby, too, his years of service MATTER!! Huggs

    omg, Kerry, that is SO true, 30 secs is the whole song! lol

    oh no! Chris, you won’t see me posting KISS music, not a fan. But I loved this ep of this show; I’m big on the patriotism, and I also like that he’s teaching his daughter to be the same way in terms of open and generous and humble in the face of our country’s real heroes. He said something during the show about how rock stars aren’t heroes, though they earn so much and are fawned over, that our vets and active servicemen and women are the heroes. I just liked him so much for that!!

    Yay, Neil, me too!! Big time. Yeah, that rock song vid is rousing!! I’ve watched it several times now that it’s right on my page to see and sing along to and have a little well up of pride and all. 😀

    That ep, to me, was a bit more meaningful, NannaB, but I def. know what you mean about the show in general being good mindless fun. And don’t we all need some of that? Yay! 😀

    Thanks, Mitch (I think). 😀

    Yeah, Heyman, I know what you mean; guess that’s why I blogged it, it seemed so out of character and strange and good. But apparently, that’s very in his character. I think it’s great.

    Oh, LO, finally something that separates our identical twinness! I’m an avid television viewer. Crap tv, too, I must admit. Love it. And yay! Love your story about your “dream KISS” (feeling punny). Poor you, though, he’s icky. 😀 I definitely believe the tears and patriotism were real; not a doubt in my mind. He’s pretty outspoken about what he thinks and believes, and I can’t imagine him fudging that. Huggs

    Gotta love that Southern Rock, RiverRat!! Woohoo!!

    Gene Simmons IS scary, Tally, I agree. LOL. Shudder. And I SO agree on your point about the humility and compassion; I was (obviously) impressed. Huggs TFT

    Well, you should know a little now that you’ve read my blog post, Azad! So nice to see you. 😀

    omg, Kate, those kids are AWESOME!! What a wonderful family they have and their dynamic just oozes health and happiness, though you’d never imagine it, huh? Thanks for “coming out” on my page; no more closet fan for you!! LOL And YAY YOU! for writing to A & E, I should have done that, too. And I teared up and sniffled BIG TIME. I loved it all!!

    I didn’t see him on the Apprentice, Ang, but how strange to consider his massive ego on the same show with The Donald! Glad you read the whole blog, too, thanks for that! 😀 And I’m sure you can google your local tv channels, Goofy Girl. 😀

  20. KISS were everything I hated when I was a teenager – I was very much in the opposite (Mod) camp. However, I now have a sneaking regard for Gene Simmons having seen him on TV here with a show called Rock School. He had the challenge of turning some posh kids into a kick-ass rock band. In the second series he had to do the same thing with some rougher kids. It was all very watchable and GS was really good value. See

  21. Hey Andy, good to see you again! What’s the Mod camp? All I have is this image of Laugh-in with all the people doing weird dances to mod ’60’s tunes, and that can’t be what you mean. Um, can it? That’s it, Rock School. I saw the first one, with the posh kids, and I really really didn’t like him at all in that; I thought he was sort of . . . well, mean. And that he was brash and annoying, but at the end of the day, their concert turned out really well. 😀 It was kind of nice that he admitted he can’t sing in that show, though, that it was all about stage presence (or some such). I haven’t seen a second one, though.

  22. I LOVE that show… especially the one where his wife wanted another baby and he had to go and ‘produce’ a sample. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  23. omg, Pinkie, that one was HILARIOUS!! I love the way that Shannon “handles” him, you know? It’s so good. Have to admit, though, that I hope he marries her. Probably will if she can ocnvince him it makes economic sense or high ratings! Did you see the one where the two girls wanted his sperm, too, and showed up with a contract all drawn up? LOL What the hell are people thinking?

  24. I loved Peter Chris when I was younger too! I thought he was soooo cute (the cat one.)
    My favorite song from Kiss “Beth”
    I have on seen this show once or twice, my brother is a huge Kiss fan! He collects everything “Kiss” and he still goes to their concerts whenever they decide to reunite.
    Gene’s son is so cute! They look like a close-knit happy family.

  25. I love that song, too, Maggie and used to with my name was Beth because of it. 😀 Gene’s son is a doll, and he seems so level-headed. Did you see the ep when his dad said he could just go into “business” with him (nude car washes, and stuff), and he said, no, he’d rather go to college. Now that’s a kid I can respect!! 😀

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