Beyond beer and babes: Business tips from rocker Gene Simmons
Rocker Gene Simmons of Kiss fame has a gig lined up in Hawaii.
But wait, this is a business column, not a show biz column -- yet he is the second rocker in a row in this space.
It'll likely be a sold-out show now that tickets are on sale. Not at Blaisdell or Pipeline, but at Small Business Hawaii, for $75, $90 or $1,000 for a table.
You are unlikely to ever see another biz conference flyer like the one on the SBH Web site. It pictures Simmons -- keynoter for the annual SBH conference Jan. 9.
He's also the star of the A&E series "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels," re-upped for a third season, so the network will send a crew here to shoot two episodes. Footage may include some of the keynote, "Ten Points to Make You Rich Like Me."
The well-insulated Simmons could not be reached, or TheBuzz would have asked if his counsel begins, "first, become a rock star."
In the 1970s, teenager Stewart Slom had Kiss posters on the walls and blasted the band's music -- from vinyl discs called records.
"I said, 'tear down those posters and get that music off,'" said his dad, Sam Slom, president and executive director of SBH.
More recently Slom happened by A&E during Simmons' show "and I was blown away by several things. Gene Simmons was all-business ... serious ... the real deal," Slom said.
He also liked Simmons' sense of humor, his patriotism and the relationships between family members.
"Back in the 70s, I lumped (Kiss) into the anti-war, anti-business, basically anti-American cultural values. I couldn't have been more wrong. Gene Simmons has never done drugs, he doesn't drink and is extremely patriotic," Slom said.
Simmons and Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley own the band-to-brand trademark which has been parlayed into more than 3,000 licensed products over more than 30 years. There is a Kiss Visa card, for example.
Simmons and Richard Abramson co-founded Simmons Abramson Marketing, whose clients include the IndyCar Series. Simmons is also into publishing, apparel and other ventures in addition to performing with Kiss and the new big band, Royal Crown Revue.
Slom's efforts to bring business biggies to keynote the conference often go unanswered. Oprah's staff never replied, for instance. Simmons' people responded within two weeks.
Nonprofit SBH can't handle Simmons' fee of "$60,0000 plus, plus, plus," but sponsors including Jeff Stone of Ko Olina Resort, Joe Nicolai of JN Automotive Group and others are covering lodging, transportation and other expenses.
Simmons, longtime companion Shannon Tweed, her sister Tracy and the lot will spend at least a few days here and the sisters' penchant for $20,000 shopping sprees "will be wonderful news to the shops in Waikiki," Slom laughed.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org