Gene Simmons to keynote tour conference

Billboard event set for Nov. 19-20 in New York

KISS co-founder, reality television star and entrepreneur Gene Simmons will be the Keynote Q&A for the fifth annual Billboard Touring Conference, set for Nov. 19-20 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

Billboard executive director of content and programming for touring and live entertainment Ray Waddell will conduct the Q&A with Simmons on Nov. 20 at the Roosevelt Ballroom. The Q&A will be filmed for an episode of his A&E reality show "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," now in its third season.

"Gene Simmons' fingerprints are on virtually all segments of the music industry, particularly as it relates to the live music business," Waddell said. "We are thrilled to have him onboard for our milestone fifth Touring Conference and we know his insight and the 'Gene Simmons world view' will be a compelling must-see for our attendees. Buckle up."

Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1949 and the only child of a Holocaust survivor, Simmons found global fame as the co-founder and bass player for KISS, which got its start in 1972 with a lineup that featured guitarist Paul Stanley, drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley. KISS scored eight Top 40 hits in the '70s and was one of the leading hard-rock acts of its day.

The band remains a touring, licensing and merchandising powerhouse, with its officially licensed ventures including the KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the first in a planned chain of franchises; KISS comic books; KISS condoms, and KISS-branded Visa cards.

Simmons also pursues other business interests independent of the band. His Simmons Abramson Marketing is the worldwide marketing/branding entity for the IndyCar Series, and he and co-CEO Rich Abramson's (No Good TV) is a YouTube sensation. His other businesses include a line of T-shirts and accessories called Gene Simmons Moneybag, the Simmons Comic Group, Simmons Records and his publishing imprint Simmons Books, which published his best-selling "Sex Money Kiss" and "Ladies of the Night."

Now in its fifth year, the Billboard Touring Conference unites today's top touring professionals to discuss the current state of the industry through potent panel topics, provocative discussions, and productive roundtables, as well as networking opportunities with touring industry power players and decision makers.

The conference is capped off by the Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 20, which honors the concert industry's top artists and professionals based on actual data compiled through the Billboard Boxscore chart.