What Is Gene Simmons' Real Name, and Why Did the Kiss Singer Change It?

Gene Simmons has astounded audiences across the globe as an extremely talented performer. Primarily known as the bassist for the popular rock band Kiss, he rose to fame with his talent not only on the bass guitar, but also with his singing voice as well. When Simmons helped co-found the popular band, he struck gold as he hit fame.

Though we know him as Gene Simmons, that was not always his name. So that poses the question, what is Simmons’ real name, and why did the Kiss singer change it? To find out, we first need to find out who he really was and is today.

Learn about the rocker

According to Biography, Simmons was born in 1949 under his birth name, Chaim Witz. He lived in Israel with his mother, Flora, and father, Yeichel. In 1958, he and his mother immigrated to New York. Simmons was 8. He changed his name for the first time to Gene Klein.

Throughout Simmons’ high school years, he was in several small-time bands and had a love for The Beatles. This would eventually be what opened doors for him and a high school friend to start their own band. He participated in several other groups before finding the one that led him to stardom. Ultimately, Kiss was the culmination of those efforts.

Why Gene Simmons changed his name

When Simmons changed his name for the first time, he went from Chaim Witz to Eugene Klein. He had just immigrated to the United States and thought that the new name would be easier for Americans to pronounce. Later, when he looked for his stage name, he ultimately changed it to Gene Simmons. The name paid homage to Jumpin’ Gene Simmons, a one-hit-wonder who once opened for Elvis Presley.

However, he’s gone by a lot of other names. In a 2017 interview with Loudwire, Simmons spoke about some of his nicknames. Most know The Demon, his stage name. However, he confirmed he’s also gone by Dr. Love, God of Thunder, and, even lesser known, Reginald Van Helsing. 

And it gets funnier. The performer then took out his phone, showing that he has Siri refer to him as “My Lord and Redeemer.” As the artist explains, his philosophy is “You gotta keep changing it up.”

Simmons’ band name also has a funny story

As for the band itself, Kiss has its own story. As Rolling Stone writes, before they were Kiss, Simmons and frontman Paul Stanley performed as Wicked Lester. When Peter Criss joined the group, they changed their name. Apparently, the name Kiss came from Stanley, who had suggested it as a joke. However, the name stuck. And while rumors circulated Kiss was an acronym for Knights In Satan’s Service, Simmons put those to rest. 

These days, Simmons remains a rock ‘n roll legend. And Kiss continues their tour de force. The band’s End of the Road tour, promoted as their “final tour ever,” continues throughout 2022. And perhaps Simmons will even use this time to introduce yet another new name to his fans.

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