Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gene Simmons at Pitzer

Gene Simmons speaks at Pitzer College -- and unlike Bono -- he had things worth talking about: entrepreneurship. Simmons, apparently, was an immigrant who lived the American Dream. You don't often think of him that way, but that's what he says about himself. Much to admire there.

I didn't see this as it was pretty much a Pitzer event. If you have the video, send it to me and I'll put it up. Here's how The Contra Costa Times describes it.

In a talk titled "Gene Simmons: The Medium and the Message," the musician often associated with demon-like makeup and a hanging tongue, portrayed a different side of himself - that of a successful entrepreneur.

"Believe in yourself," Simmons said to students. "You are at a right place, at a right time in history. You cannot fail. It's impossible.

"Get all the information you can and don't just do one thing. Always have a fall-back position."

Throughout his life, Simmons did what he preached on Saturday.

The resume he presented to students went beyond "36 years of rocking planet earth," and selling more than
100 million albums.

He told the students he was a co-founder of Cool Springs Life Equity Strategy, a venture that provides estate planning for those with net worth of $20 million or more. He's also an owner of Simmons/Universal Music, a record company.

Simmons' reality show on A&E, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," featuring his children and his long-time girlfriend Shannon Tweed, is now in its fifth season. He is also credited with discovering Van Halen, and has managed themusic career of Liza Minnelli. He has written two New York Times best sellers, "KISS and Make up" and "Sex, Money, KISS."

Simmons talked about his rough beginnings, being born in Haifa, Israel, in 1949, to a mother who was a concentration camp survivor. They immigrated to the United States when he was a child, and both did not speak a word of English.

"I made it my business to learn to speak English better than people who were born here," he told the students. "You are expected to make your own way.