Kiss frontman and reality TV star Gene Simmons chats with media at the casino in View Royal on Saturday during a public meet and greet.

Gene Simmons and clan hit View Royal

It was worth the long wait and long lines as hundreds of people came face to face with rock legend Gene Simmons and family in View Royal on Saturday.



It was worth the long wait and long lines as hundreds of people came face to face with rock legend Gene Simmons and family in View Royal on Saturday.

The famed reality TV clan — Simmons, his wife Shannon Tweed and their kids Nick and Sophie — were met with screams and cheers from more than 1,500 people packed outside the Great Canadian Casino.

Speaking about the roaring audience, the Kiss frontman shrugged: “The rest of the world says Canadians are nice. It’s true.”

In quick interviews with the Gazette and other local media, Simmons, 61, played coy on if he plans to wed his long-time partner Tweed, as alluded to on their reality show Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Tweed was not wearing a wedding band during the event.

I’ve never been married. I desperately love Shannon Tweed. We’ve been together 28 years,” Simmons said. “We have two great kids. Tomorrow is another day. All I can deal with is today.”

After decades of success with  the rock band Kiss and the long-running reality TV show, Simmons says he has always lived the life he wanted.

When Simmons was a boy growing up in Israel and then the U.S., his parents only had one dream for him. “They wanted me to be anything (I wanted to be). Healthy and happy,” Simmons said.

His advice to kids dreaming of becoming rock stars is be prepared to go “where the fires are burning.” Waxing philosophically, he said if you have the talent and the drive often people have to find the right place at the right time for themselves.

“Whatever it is you want to become, sometimes where you are from doesn’t have it all. That’s just life,” Simmons said. “Be proud of who you are, but the mountain is never going to come to you.”

Now in its sixth season, Gene Simmons Family Jewels has cast Simmons’ partner and kids in the spotlight, and helped him gain insight into his own personality.

“I think it has made us a closer family,” Simmons said. “(The show) helps me realize my perception of myself isn’t accurate. Sometimes I can be short, arrogant, selfish. It’s good to watch.”

Despite a busy schedule with the reality show — which was filming during the View Royal stop — and touring dates with Kiss, Simmons still revels in the personal meet-and-greet events, such as in View Royal.

“Staying home and twiddling my thumbs and watching I Love Lucy reruns or coming out here, what would you chose?” Simmons asked.

Sophie Tweed-Simmons, Simmons daughter, said she loves travelling with her family and coming to places such as View Royal. “I have been travelling since I was 13,” said Sophie, 19. “I have been to 15 different countries and lived in five.”

Even with a rock-star father and model mother, Sophie said her parents are strict. “There is zero tolerance for drinking or partying. My parents do encourage us to go out, but just not to be idiots about it.”

Fans waited in the morning sun for hours and some all night for a chance to meet the rock icon and his family. Crowds waiting to get a glimpse of the Simmons family were mostly made up of families themselves.

Along with his parents, Landen Shaw, 11, brought his guitar in hopes of getting a photo with the Simmons family. When Landen met Simmons on stage, he played him a few chords of the Kiss song “I was Made For Loving You” and got some guitar pointers from the Kiss bass player himself.

“This has got to be the biggest day in View Royal history,” remarked View Royal Mayor Graham Hill. “I have been asked to welcome royalty here today.”

Rob Cuitanovic of Victoria, brought his children Sofia, 8, and Marco, 6, to meet the Simmons family. A hardcore Kiss fan, Cuitanovic brought the board game Kissopoly, “Kiss This” bottle of wine and a 1997 Kiss tour program.

He’s been collecting Kiss memorabilia for 14 years and seen Simmons perform three times. “I think it’s cool (Simmons and family are coming). As a family they are pretty grounded. Not like typical celebrities.”

“Meeting Gene would make my life,” remarked Kayla Butts, 16, who drove from Salmon Arm for a chance to meet the family. “My dad has listened to Kiss my whole life. My 95-year-old grandma loves them too.”

 

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

Canadians not afraid to take the plunge for the second time

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

John Cleese sets fall date for Victoria return

June show sold out, comedic actor returns Nov. 4

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Pacific FC signs 24-year-old defensive midfielder from Panama

González joins the roster following the team’s 2-2 tie game against York9 FC.

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read