Gene Simmons – A rock ‘n’ roll brand, plus camera crew, meets Pacific University’s golf fundraiser.

Ross William Hamilton – The Oregonian

When we talk about Gene Simmons, we talk about the fire-breathing, blood-spitting founder of Kiss, whose kabuki-painted, comic book heavy metal has been familiar to head-banging kids (and their tormented parents) for nearly 40 years.

And so much more. The leering Lothario with his self-proclaimed thousands of conquests. The misogynist boor whose verbal harassment of National Public Radio’s Terry Gross is one of the most notorious public broadcasting moments ever. The gleeful modern Barnum who summarizes his contempt for rock-for-art’s sake by declaring that he “never wanted to be in a rock’¤n’¤roll band, I wanted to be in a rock’¤n’¤roll brand.”

Or maybe he’s the pussycat father in “Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels,” the documentary-style sitcom about the family he has with longtime companion (and 1982 Playboy playmate of the year) Shannon Tweed.

Simmons is all that and even more. And last weekend he was right here in Aloha, headlining Pacific University’s fourth annual Legends Golf Classic, a high-dollar, star-studded fundraiser for the school’s athletic programs.

Not because Simmons, or any member of his clan, has a connection to the school, either. That would be too predictable. This is all about Kiss guitarist — and Washington County native — Tommy Thayer. He didn’t attend the school either but is nevertheless a member of Pacific’s board of trustees, the one whose showbiz connections, along with his public-spiritedness and his unbelievably nice demeanor (call him the Homecoming King, it totally fits) make him one of the school’s most potent fundraisers and attention-getters.

Much of this is due to the Legends golf tourney, which weaves golf, rock’¤n’¤roll, pro sports and well-to-do Oregonians into a two-day event that is both a quick sellout and a huge fundraising tool for Pacific.

And here’s how it all went down.

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