During a recent interview with the Niagara Falls, Ontario radio station 91.7 Giant FM, KISS bassist Gene Simmons elaborated on the business philosophies he espouses during his speaking tours.
"[In school,] we learned all kinds of stuff that they taught us — Columbus and 1492 and all that stuff, none of which prepared you or I or anybody else for life as we know it on planet Earth," said Simmons (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "When we graduate high school, and even college, we're totally unprepared for what gets thrown in our faces: what's capitalism? What are taxes? What are mortgages? What are car loans? What's pre-tax, what's after-tax? We're just totally unprepared for it. Young folks get married in their early twenties, and they're shocked when they can't make ends meet because nobody taught them how to balance a budget.
"Most people don't have a fallback position," he continued. "My car [came with] five wheels. It's not a loaf of bread — it's a tire, whether you have it attached to the car or not. Buying a car is a pretty pessimistic point of view. By getting a fifth tire, it assumes you're going to get a flat tire. That's a good way to go through life. Whatever it is you're doing, whether you're swinging a bat at a baseball game or asking a girl out, you have to assume you're going to strike out. You have to have a fallback position. If it's not going to work out, and you don't have an answer to, 'What am I going to do if it doesn't work out' — because predominantly, things don't work out — you're f'ed up. The smart folks out there aren't the tallest, the best-looking or the best anything — they're just very pragmatic about stuff."
Simmons said that during his upcoming three-city speaking tour of Canada, he hopes to inspire attendees. "If you're coming to my speaking event and you want to talk about KISS and music and how long's your tongue and are you my real father and all those other burning questions, I'm happy to talk about that," he said. "But what I [prefer to] do is I grab the mic, I go into the audience and really talk to people about the choices they've done in life and how they can make more money. How you can make more money predominantly comes down to one, being selfish. Me first. We're not taught that. Two is having the right thing at the right place at the right time... If you can help yourself, you can help others. People who start businesses make sure that they pay taxes, and there's people who work for the company, and you've got to rent and buy equipment and insurance, and everybody gets paid first, and then the guy that owns the company gets paid last if there's any profit. Most of the time, businesses fail, [and] the guy that pays himself last loses everything. The workers lose nothing. My advice to everybody is, pay yourself first, especially if you've got all the skin in the game. If you start a company, make sure before anybody else gets paid, you pay yourself first."
The Demon acknowledged that such a point-of-view is "unromantic," but insisted that it's the right approach — even when it comes to relationships. "You want to get married? Okay, before you get married, have a cohabitation agreement or a prenuptial agreement. While you still love each other, figure out what the business is not in case, but if and when you finally get divorced. You'd better talk about those financial issues while you love each other than when you wind up hating each other. It's a better business model... When you love each other, you can make something work. If you hate each other after you've been married and you're miserable, it's going to be torture for everybody. Nobody thinks about that, because they don't teach that in school... You live and you learn. I didn't make that one up, because the stuff you and I learned in school does us zero good in life. They don't teach Life 101. I've got some of the answers, and folks in the audience will say, 'I've got another answer.' I go, 'Terrific.' That's how you learn. The same solution may not work for everybody, but at least you'll see the different ways of climbing up the hill. There isn't just one way. Let me hear the different ways — that one might work for me."
For more information on Simmons's upcoming Canadian speaking tour, visit GeneSimmonsCanada.com.