Although Gene Simmons found fame as a blood-spurting, fire-breathing, bass-playing demon with Kiss, his early years were about as far removed as you can possibly get from the notorious heavy metal band. Born August 25, 1949, and named Chaim Witz, he and his mother left Israel by the late '50s, relocating to the United States (New York City, to be exact). Witz's name was then changed to Gene Klein, as he discovered comic books and rock & roll soon after (he was even being groomed to be a rabbi at one point). As a teenager, he played bass in a number of New York-area bands (Long Island Sounds, etc.), and while in his early 20s, even tried his hand at teaching grade school. His teaching career was short-lived, as he meet another young rock & roll hopeful around this time: Stanley Eisen.