Gene Simmons says his band Kiss is more famous than Mickey Mouse.

The long-tongued bassist with the glam rockers - famous for their black and white painted faces - claims the band's image and merchandising are more successful than any other group in history and instantly recognisable.

He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "You don't know how big the image is. By some experts, it is believed to be the most recognised pop culture image on Earth - even above Mickey Mouse.

"You know, there's no U2 comic book, there's no Mick Jagger action figure. We have our own Visa card. You can go into Wal-Mart and get sweets with our faces on. We have a Dr Pepper soft drink campaign now. It's unbelievable!"

Gene, who does not drink alcohol, and his bandmate Paul Stanley put the success of the 'Love Gun' group - which, in its present incarnation, also includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer - down to their hard work ethic and anti-drug stance.

Paul said: "When everyone started talking about sex, drugs and rock and roll, I was saying, 'You keep the drugs, and I'll take the sex and the rock and roll.' "