That One Time Gene Simmons Got High
Veteran journalist Jaan Uhelszki recalled the moment she witnessed Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons getting high for the one and only time in his life, after he ignored her warning to avoid eating hash brownies.
Uhelszki, a co-founder of respected music magazine Creem, was able to tell Simmons’ bandmates Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer about the night in Detroit in 1974, which delighted them because they’d only ever heard it from Simmons himself.
“We’d heard that story a hundred times, but we never knew that there was a witness,” Thayer told her, as recounted in the May edition of Classic Rock Magazine. “We weren’t even sure it was true!” Singer added.
“It was the promoter’s birthday as well as a party for Kiss, so there was a giant birthday cake," Uhelszki wrote. "But after it was cut, waitresses made the rounds with plates of chocolate brownies. ‘Don’t even think of having any of those,’ I cautioned Simmons. ‘Why not? I love brownies,’ he replied, a little queriously. ‘I know you love brownies. But just don’t. They’re hash brownies.’ He looked bewildered, as if trying to figure out why anyone would want to defile chocolate with drugs.”
She went on to tell how Simmons grabbed three and “devoured” them, while the bassist tried to claim it had been six. “It was three,” Uhelszki told him. “One would have put you over the top.” She said that, once the hash had begun to take effect, “it was like being with E.T. tentatively discovering the wonders of planet Earth, complete with long fingers outstretched to touch ordinary objects.”
Simmons asked, “Are my feet as big as I think they are? Does my head look funny? Is it really small? Why are my hands so big? Are my teeth shiny?” As they left the party in a car, he continued with “a steady stream of questions, the border between what he was thinking and saying all but demolished.”
Suddenly deciding he wanted milk, Simmons directed the driver to a late-night store. “When we entered the place, Simmons said in a carefully articulated but booming voice, ‘May I have a glass of milk, please?’” Uhelszki recalled. “I remember the man behind the counter as if it were yesterday. ‘We don’t sell glasses of milk, son.’”
For his part, Simmons denied any memory of those events. “Mostly what I remember was how proud I was of the size of my … manhood,” he said. “Funny, I don’t recall that at all," Uhelszki replied. "But then I didn’t have any brownies.”
Simmons, who's always insisted prescription drugs are the only kind he's ever taken, last year said he was "wrong" about cannabis, soon after he became chief evangelical officer for Canadian cannabis firm Invictus.
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