The 6 Artists That Gene Simmons Picked As His Influences

The 6 Artists That Gene Simmons Picked As His Influences

If you want to learn more about playing bass guitar, you need to follow some of KISS bassist Gene Simmons‘ steps because he has great inspirations for his own. In this article, we will look at some of Gene Simmons’ inspirations as of today in 2022.

Having played as a KISS member since 1973, Gene Simmons was 14 when he first picked up a musical instrument. He owned a guitar after hearing Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs, and Steve Cropper, and learned guitar basics from The Who legend Pete Townshend in the beginning. One year after he learned a little bit of guitar, he started playing bass at 15.

At that time, Gene Simmons developed himself by playing bass guitar over time. Although he was new on bass, he saw The Beatles attending The Eddie Sullivan Show and was very impressed by watching them on the show. After that night, he started writing his own songs and creating bass lines.

However, as he has been named an influence following his works with KISS since the mid-1970s, Gene Simmons revealed what he experienced from his inspirations over the years. So, let’s see below who are Gene Simmons’s influences in music.

The Artists That Gene Simmons Picked As His Influences

There are tons of words Gene Simmons told for his influences since his early years. While some of his words were to praise his influences, others were to talk about their music. So, let’s see Gene Simmons’s influences.

6. Paul McCartney

image: MJ Kim

The world-known bassist Paul McCartney became world prominence with his contributions to the rock pioneer The Beatles between 1960 and 1970. After the disbandment of The Beatles, he embarked on a solo career, where he gained major success with his total of 18 solo studio albums. As of today, he is the richest rockstar in the world with a $1.2 billion net worth.

Gene Simmons has huge respect for Paul McCartney. This past July, he updated his social media account to send a heartwarming birthday wish for Paul McCartney, naming him a man that changed his life.

“Sir Paul McCartney: Sending heartfelt Happy 80th (!!!) Birthday wishes to a man who changed my life,” Simmons says. “Here’s to many more.”

Furthermore, Simmons once stated that Paul McCartney is an underrated bassist. He touched on the bassist’s approach to bass sound and praised him by explaining the way he played.

“To begin with, he didn’t approach bass like a bassist,” he said. “He understood what chords were and if you understand chords and melody, then your approach to bass is definitely different. Because, I don’t know, it’s like having an X-ray vision.

“In fact, McCartney is really underrated. If you like ‘Taxman’ and if you liked his solo, that’s McCartney. He’s a killer.”

He also cited Paul McCartney’s band The Beatles as the thing he started writing music, saying: “Immediately within two years of hearing The Beatles, I started writing my own songs. I picked up the guitar, learned how to play the C and G and D chords, and started writing my own songs.

“In fact, I recorded one of the very first songs I wrote, which appears in the largest box set of all time I was just released.”

5. Little Richard

image: AP Photo

Little Richard was an American songwriter who inspired thousands of musicians throughout his career. He was activated from 1947 until he passed away in 2020. He was gifted with a loud singing voice and an incredible talent for playing instruments. There are 19 studio albums that were recorded by Little Richard and have influenced the musicians during their musical stints.

In his interviews over the years, Gene Simmons has briefly sent his compliments to Little Richard. But when Richard passed away in 2020, Simmons was one of those who was deeply devastated. He updated his Twitter account to pay tribute to the late music legend, recalling his met with him.

“Sadly, Little Richard passed away today,” Simmons tweets. “A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can’t be overstated. I had the honor of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, ‘I am the architect of Rock And Roll.’ Amen! ..Rest In Peace.”

4. Otis Redding

Otis Redding, who has been named King of Soul, is one of those names Gene Simmons picked as his influences. His first impression of music started very early as he played Little Richard’s backing band, The Upsetters, at 15. He brought his debut in 1964, named Pain in My Heart, and released six studio albums in total. Also, there are five studio albums that were released posthumously for himself.


He first heard Otis Redding far before he picked up his first instrument when he moved to the United States with his family when he was nine years old. He heard Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, and Fats Domino on the radio and liked them so much.

3. Jimi Hendrix

image: David Redfern

It is just one of the indisputable facts of rock music that Jimi Hendrix has guided countless musicians in their way of playing guitar. Gene Simmons is also among these artists, and he learned many tips from Jimi Hendrix in his early years.

Jimi Hendrix was one of the most respected musicians of the 20th century. Although he was in rock music for only eight years, from 1962 to 1970, the guitar mastermind was named the greatest instrumentalist in rock and roll music. In 1966, there were three UK top ten hits that Jimi Hendrix had for his solo band Jimi Hendrix Experience: The Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze, and Hey Joe.


In the past, Gene Simmons recalled hearing Fire from Jimi Hendrix. He said Jimi Hendrix was unique.

“When I first started hearing that guitar I just realized there was a new gun slinger in town,” says Simmons. “It was like nothing I’d ever heard before, and of course, once I finally saw Jimi Hendrix that was the end of it. Nobody like him then, nobody since.”

Also, he named Hendrix among his musical heroes, saying: “You asked me to pick 10 tracks that blew my mind. I could have picked a hundred… a thousand. That was what it was like to be a music fan in the 50s and 60s. You had the Beatles next to Diana Ross next to Zeppelin next to Hendrix next to Yes next to James Brown next to the Kinks…”

2. Elvis Presley

image: Wikipedia

Elvis Presley was a pioneer for rock, such as Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. He released twenty-four studio albums for his solo career. Also, he released seventeen soundtrack albums from 1957 to 1968. Besides his musical effort, he has more than 30 concert films that were starred by himself.

Gene Simmons touched on Elvis Presley when he defended “rock is dead.” He also counted Presley when talking about the artists he listened to in his youth.

“From 1958 until 1988, you can name hundreds and hundreds of classic rock acts,” Simmons reveals. “I’ve got Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin. On and on and on. Even Motown. Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson. From 1988 until today, [can you even] give me five? You can’t name [them]. Iconic? Nobody. How about that!”

Simmons also mentioned Elvis Presley while he was talking about the importance of quitting at the right time, saying: “Having said that, we’ve all seen boxers who’ve stayed in the ring too long. Or poor Elvis who ended up naked, bloated on a bathroom floor in Vegas. That ain’t Elvis. Quit while you’re on top. Quit while you have something that resembles people’s preconceived notion of you.”

1. Jackie Wilson

image: Getty

Born in Detroit on June 9, 1984, Jackie Wilson was a big influence on those who were new to rock and roll. He was nicknamed “Mr. Excitement” for his contribution to rhythm and blues.

There were 26 studio albums that were released on his own. Also, in 1986, he was honored to be a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as he was inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

When Simmons commented on Jackie Wilson’s influence on musicians, he said there would be no musicians without him. He also named him an “important figure” in music.

“Jackie Wilson, one of the preeminent templates for lead singers,” Simmons comments. “There would be nobody without Jackie Wilson. He was such an important figure in music that there were actually songs written about Jackie.”

“He was a guy that was very acrobatic, he could do splits, jump up way before guys like James Brown came across and started doing that stuff. Raised in the church, this was pure pop big band. A big band playing with a real pop background.”

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