Richie Sambora Chose Bon Jovi Over KISS, Gene Simmons Reveals

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Gene Simmons, a titan in the rock music scene, not only made his mark as a member of KISS but also played a pivotal role behind the scenes in the music industry. His knack for discovering talent led him to cross paths with Van Halen early in their career, giving them a significant boost.

On the ‘Your Mom’s House’ podcast, hosted by Christina P. and Tom Segura, Simmons revealed some intriguing auditions for KISS, including those by Ritchie Sambora, Slash, and Lenny Kravitz.

Richie Sambora, best known for his role in Bon Jovi, reflected on his audition with KISS in a 2016 interview.

He admitted that, at the time, he wasn’t fully committed to the idea of joining KISS, feeling that the band was looking for a member who idolized them. While he respected their music, Sambora didn’t share the level of fandom KISS sought, ultimately leading him to pursue a path with Bon Jovi, a decision he made freely.

In a surprising twist, Simmons, who has famously championed a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle, recounted a humorous yet cautionary tale of accidentally getting high. This incident occurred in the mid-1970s at a post-concert party in Detroit, where Simmons, a self-proclaimed sweets enthusiast, unknowingly consumed six marijuana-laced brownies. The experience, as described by Simmons, was disorienting and far from enjoyable, highlighting his preference for a sober lifestyle despite this unintentional lapse.

Simmons’s longstanding commitment to sobriety has been a cornerstone of his personal and professional ethos. In interviews, including one with The Sun in 2021, he credited his avoidance of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes as key to his longevity and sustained success in the demanding world of rock music. This philosophy has not only shaped his career but also served as a guiding principle for his life beyond the stage.

Despite concluding KISS’s farewell tour in December 2023, Simmons remains a dynamic force in music. Recently, he announced an opportunity for fans to collaborate with him in the studio, showcasing his ongoing engagement with his audience and his desire to create new experiences beyond his tenure with KISS. Additionally, Simmons is preparing for his first post-KISS performance at the Summer Breeze Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, alongside Brent Woods, Zach Throne, and Brian Tichy, signaling a new chapter in his illustrious career.

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