All success, whether it’s getting into a position of power or making money, depends on everybody else – they have to agree to give us those things, and all human beings are judgemental. They will judge how you walk and talk, so when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Dress and walk and talk like a successful person. When I first came to America [from Israel] I couldn’t speak a word of English so I had a disadvantage. I noticed that as I learned the predominant language and culture I started making more money. If you can’t communicate with the predominant culture, that’s a disadvantage to you. If you land in England and can’t speak the Queen’s English, scouse or cockney you have a disadvantage. If Siri doesn’t understand you and can’t help you find a bathroom, you’re fucked.
Drugs and alcohol and cigarettes just won’t help you get rich, unless you’re running a drug cartel and never get caught. Getting rid of your loser friends isn’t nice, but it’s a good piece of advice. If your friend just wants to go to the pub and drink, get rid of that loser and start hanging out with people who don’t want to do that kind of thing. Not that smoking and drinking shouldn’t be recreational – do what you have to to get through life – but make a distinction between upwardly mobile people and friends. Go down to the pub and hang out and have fun, but that ain’t business. Business isn’t mostly gonna be fun. It’s going to be a lot of hard work.
You shouldn’t be afraid to sell out. KISS never played everybody else’s game, the credible game. We started doing licensing and merchandising because we liked it and it was fun, but it clearly wasn’t credible then. We have LA KISS, our football team. We have a KISS golf course in Las Vegas, KISS cruises, KISS ad infinitum, KISS ad nauseum. KISS crack would sell. There are many bands who think it’s too much, that it’s too commercial, that we’re a sellout. My point of view is, they’re right. We sell out everywhere. It’s not for everyone, but it is for us, it pays out handsomely and I’m proud of it. I’m disliked by certainly as many people as like me, but you know what, not everybody liked Jesus.
You hardly work. There are 52 weeks a year, and on two days of each week you do nothing but watch football and go to the pub. That’s 104 days out of 365, plus holidays – Christmas Day, Boxing Day, I Forgot To Tie My Shoelaces Day… By the time we’re done adding them all up we’ve got more days where we do nothing than actual work days. While you’re young, use those days. Your day job pays your rent, so you can work, create new ventures for yourself and try new things with the rest of that time. Don’t go on vacation when you’re young. You haven’t earned it. And when you’re young, don’t get married. You’re not mature. You’re a stupid horny 14 year old boy trapped in a 25 year old’s body.
When have you made enough? I don’t like that question, because I’m insatiable. Look at Warren Buffett and Bill Gates – some of the richest men on Earth get up every morning and go to work. You could argue that having 50 billion dollars is enough, but then what do you do? Sit on your thumb and wait to die? Watch reruns of Coronation Street? Since we can’t give birth, the only thing men are designed to do is work. Still waters turn rotten – whether you need the money or not you have to keep moving, keep using what you have. And so “when is enough?” is a loser’s question. It’s never enough.1
I would be remiss fulfilling my financial duty to myself if i didn’t suggest picking up my last book,Me Inc, which espouses many of my beliefs. Buyer beware – if anyone asks me for financial advice, you don’t want a shortcut, because my journey has been mine. It may apply to you, but it may not, I’m sorry. All those “10 rules to get rich and famous” things don’t exist. If it was just a case of doing them, everyone would be rich. It is decidedly different for everyone – where you live, who you are, whether you have the right thing at the right time.
Interview by Mike Rampton
The skinny-jeaned corpse of 2007 indie is risen and dragging its battered Converse to a venue near you