If you're Calling Dr. Love today, be sure to wish him a happy 60th birthday from us. Yes, Kiss' Gene Simmons hits the big "Six-Oooh My God, You're Too Old to Spit Fire Anymore" milestone. The God of Thunder was born Chaim Witz in Israel, but you better address those cards and gifts to "Gene" instead (the name he took when he emigrated to New York at age 8). But don't think for a minute that Simmons and Kiss guitarist/BFF Paul Stanley (a spring chicken at age 57) are slowing down for one minute. With a distribution deal cut with Wal-Mart for its Sonic Boom album in October, expect to see a lot more of Kiss this fall. And Shout It Out Loud: The band announced Monday it'll play the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa on Oct. 21. Here's a special B-day present from us: top 6 reasons we still love Gene Simmons — one for each decade on our fair planet, big guy.
HE TRUMPS 'THE DONALD': Forget that other obnoxious New Yorker; Simmons is the real mastermind of capitalism. The Kiss business empire has more 2,500 licenses, including ones for a coffeehouse, postage stamp, Visa card, clothing line and comic books.
KING OF REALITY TV: Family Jewels?!? Simmons definitely showed his after talking the A&E network into that name for his show, which by the way is about 50 times better than anything starring Ozzy Osbourne and his creepy, unlovable kids.
HIS INDY CAR FETISH: Gene's love of high-speed racing has transformed him into the face of the Indy Racing League. Meanwhile U2's Bono is fighting global poverty. Noble but boooring.
HIS GIRLFRIEND IS A PORN STAR: Okay, so longtime live-in girlfriend Shannon Tweed is more of a soft-core, late-night Skin-emax type of porn star. But you gotta admire her acting chops in the Indecent Behavior trilogy.
HE'S THE DEVIL! Or at least he plays one on stage. The bat-winged facial makeup may have evolved over the last 35 years, but it's still deliciously evil. (Just don't tell your parents or they'll rip up those concert tickets. I'll never forgive you, Mom!)
THE FIRE AND BLOOD: Simmons spits them both in concert. Why? Because he can! It's messy and dangerous but that's what rock 'n' roll is supposed to be. Remember Gene: You're 60 now. Go easy on the lighter fluid.
Steve Spears is host of the Stuck in the '80s blog and podcast. Read more at blogs.tampabay.com/80s and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.