HE’S nicknamed the Demon and is famed for his serpent-like tongue – but Kiss legend Gene Simmons is no devil when it comes to rock 'n' roll excess.
Unlike many of his peers, the bass-wielding rocker, 71, has always shunned alcohol and drugs, and its paying dividends now he's in his seventh decade.
With the energy of a man half his age, the ability to rock out for two hours a night wearing a heavy 40lb outfit, and a full head of thick hair, Gene isn't your average septuagenarian.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun to promote his new G² guitar collaboration with Gibson, Gene says: "You can talk about hair creams and d**k extension formulas and all that stuff, but there's no substitute for genes.
"I'm 71, come into the ring with me. I'll show you what this guy can do. I'm 71 because I've never used drugs or booze.
"You can fill your body with garbage. Put it into your car and see how far your car goes. I don't care if it's a Rolls-Royce, it's going to splutter and die. The more s**t you put into your body the more you're going to be a walking pot of s**t.
"I don't mean to say I don't love cake or pasta, or things like that, but crack is out of the question.
"Drugs don't work, booze don't work, cigarettes – all the people who think you look cool. You're f*****g around with cancer. It just doesn't work."
Despite his contempt for substances, Gene's one vice over the years has been women.
In 2016 he told The Sun he'd bedded 4,800 of them and had Polaroids to prove it, before burning them in a 'ritual' with his wife of 10 years Shannon Tweed, 63.
For Gene, drinking and womanising just don't go together. He said: "As soon as you get drunk you're going to throw up on that chick you've been talking to, you're going to throw up on the new shoes she's bought. If you drink enough your d**k won't work and the next day you're going have a headache."
Meanwhile living in LA, he's been at the epicentre of the vegan explosion in recent years, but he's not tempted to ditch meat for quinoa and tofu just yet.
"I don't want to go to the extreme of being a vegan and stuff. I like some plant based food. I don't mind a real burger once in a while. Even the word moderation is a lie. Just have a little bit of crack… it doesn't work."
Kiss – whose current line-up is Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer and Gene – are now just two years away from the band's 50th anniversary.
The iconic face paint, explosive stage shows and rocking live albums having inspired generations of legends, from the Foo Fighters to Metallica.
And they are one of an ever-decreasing pool of veterans whose popularity refuses to wane with them still selling out arenas across the globe.
On New Year's Eve Kiss played at the five-star Atlantis resort in Dubai to a virtual audience of millions.
While he's full of respect for contemporaries like the Rolling Stones and U2, Gene believes their frontmen wouldn't be able to do what he does on stage.
"By the time you're done, you're carrying more than soldiers in their backpacks. I've got to fly through the air, spit blood and sing songs, no tapes, play the instrument live. It's physically exhausting. It always has been.
"I love and respect Jagger, and Bono's great, but put any of those two gentlemen into my outfit the first half hour those guys are going to be on the floor. They won't physically be able to do that. The physicality of what we do has limitations. If I was Keith in the Stones or the Edge I could wear comfortable sneakers and a T-shirt and stand still."
But how much longer can he keep going?
Once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, the band still has more than 100 shows of its End of the Road Tour to perform including a headline slot at Download festival.
But with 22 studio albums under his belt and having written all-time great tracks like Rock n Roll All Nite, Deuce, and Christine Sixteen, Gene can retire a happy man.
Belting out anthems into his 80s isn't something the married father-of-two is willing to do.
"I don't want to do that," he said. "Bloated Elvis is not my idea of Elvis."
Gene has been keeping himself busy during the pandemic creating a new range of guitars with Gibson, the first of which, the G² Thunderbird Bass, will be released later in the year.
It's been a project of love, and the results satisfied Gene when he played the instrument in Dubai.
He said: "As soon as my guy plugged in my Thunderbird, like a good kick in the nuts before a fight, there's no denying it. You're the guv'nor.
"We're gonna take this G² idea far. They're going to come in various colours, a left-handed version and a guitar version. There's going to be a bass and guitar double neck.
"We're going to run the full gambit. What I want to do once we get through this first launch is to do junior versions."
After half a century of rocking, it looks like Gene's legacy isn't done yet.
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