By Tiffany Hsu
9:00 AM PDT, April 7, 2012
The party was already plenty glam, especially for El Segundo. Tall, beautiful women everywhere. Free-flowing booze and plates of hot sausages. Rock stars from Velvet Revolver and the Village People. Lots of – maybe too much – leather. And then Gene Simmons appeared.
It wasn’t even just the fact that he appeared, it was how he did it – on a ledge high above his guests’ heads in the concert hall-esque dining area of Rock & Brews, his new El Segundo restaurant. (This was before another spectacle later in the week where he professed on Twitter to have NOT endorsed Mitt Romney.)
The rocker turned entrepreneur strode out, all black mane and self-assurance, as every guest raised a phone or a camera in a nearly synchronized swoop. His speech, which touched on Rock & Brews’ ambitious expansion plans, was brash, basic but also eloquent in a way.
From his perch, Simmons ran the crowd through the Pledge of Allegiance, spoke about the luncheon he had helped host for the Wounded Warrior program and presented two injured soldiers with a $25,000 check.
With a flourish, he unveiled a massive mural of painted rock stars, including Slash, Bono, Michael Jackson, Madonna and, naturally, himself. Around him hung posters from the Beatles, the Who, even Coldplay.
His partners, restaurateur and hotel businessman Michael Zislis and veteran rock promoter Dave Furano, may have more entrepreneurial experience than Simmons does. But, as Forbes writes, the onetime teacher is savvy in his own hyper-populist, uber-flamboyant way.
Like here, where he inserts himself into a song circle at the party:
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