The Demon is finally buying into the Demon Weed, but it’s strictly business.
Gene Simmons, a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS and hard-core teetotaller, is joining Canadian cannabis enterprise Invictus the company announced this week.
As Chief Evangelist Officer, Simmons, 68, will be charged with working on “branding strategy for the recreational market that is anticipated to be legal in Canada in 2018,” the company said, adding, “His responsibilities will include providing marketing counsel, serving as a spokesperson in the media, public appearances and participation in the Company’s annual general meeting and investor meetings, among others.”
“Values and family are very important to me, and when I first connected with Dan (Kriznicat, Chairman and CEO at) Invictus, I understood immediately that we enjoyed a shared passion for these key life foundations,” Simmons said. “Instead of launching straight into business, we talked about the things that matter the most.”
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What has seemingly mattered most, marijuana-wise, throughout Simmons career, has been his repeated denunciation of drugs and alcohol.
“I’m not here to convince anyone of my lifestyle,” he said. “This is what I want for me,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2016, adding he said he doesn’t understand why someone would choose to hamper their ability to succeed by drinking and doing drugs.
The lessons didn’t stick with son Nick, who wrote in a 2015 piece for Vice headlined “My Dad, Gene Simmons, Is Full of S*** and So Are You”:
My father prides himself (read: brags about it to anyone who asks) on never smoking, drinking, or getting high in his life—save for one incident when some “special” brownies were mistaken for… well, normal brownies … He is still, to this day, profoundly anti-drug.
… I knew people who smoked pot. Most people I knew drank. But I could not bring myself to conclude, as he did, that any negative health impacts of those choices were deserved. Life is risk, after all. I realized that I don’t believe marijuana and alcohol should be treated the same as heroin and cigarettes.
Part of the deal, according to the Invictus, includes acquiring “all the issued and outstanding shares of Gene-Etics Strains Co.” from Simmons.
KISS formed in 1973. The band, known almost as much for their wild theatrics and stage makeup as their pop-metal, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Simmons onstage persona, The Demon, breathes fire as part of the show. The band has sold over 75 million records worldwide.
He and his family were the subjects of the A&E reality show Gene Simmons Family Jewels from 2006 to 20012.