Gene Simmons Says People Shouldn't Be Shy About Enjoying Their Wealth

Gene Simmons is arguing against the idea that flaunting one's wealth is rude or obnoxious.

The KISS bassist, who grew up poor in Israel and New York City, said in a recent conversation with American Songwriter that his success is one of the great joys of his life, yet he's been routinely lambasted for publicly discussing his affinity for making money.

"We're not supposed to revel in our riches, but that's bulls--t," he said. "If I walk around ... and said I'm worth a couple hundred million dollars, or a billion, or whatever they say — I don't keep track — people would go, 'Listen to that guy. What an asshole.' But if I just won the lottery ... everybody goes, 'Fantastic! You won a s---load of money and you didn't work at all for it.'"

On his own account, Simmons says he "worked for every penny" he has. "I should be the one that should be able to say, 'Look at all the money I got.' But nope, can't do that."

Beyond his cash appreciation, Simmons added that money rewards people with the power to do good in the world for a lot of people.

"I don't know how to say this, but it's better to be rich than poor," he continued. "You can create jobs if you're rich. You can give money to philanthropy if you're rich. A poor person never gave me a job. And the person who came up with the phrase 'money is the root of all evil' is a moron. Money is not the root of all evil. Lack of money is the root of all evil. The reason people hold up 7-11 is they don't have money. Why would I ever hold up a 7-11 when I could just buy the block?

"The reason for crime is people don't have enough money. One of the cures for lowering crime is give people jobs, give them something to do so they can feed their families, so they don't have to go out and steal. That's the way out."

With Kiss, Simmons just played a world record-breaking New Year's Eve pay-per-view concert in Dubai.

The affair cost around $10 million to produce. During it, Kiss set world records for the highest-ever flame projection in a music concert (35 meters) and the most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert (73 projections).

The band was also hopeful of setting a new record for the highest-grossing pay-per-view rock concert in history.

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