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The Gene Simmons Story


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When Roger sent me his Songfacts interview with Gene Simmons, I read it with rapt attention. Simmons always speaks his mind, but this time he fired a flamethrower.

He had some particularly strong comments regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which he called a "sham," and when Roger asked if he still gets along with his former bandmates, Gene let loose. "No, I don't get along with anybody who's a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim," he explained, before launching into a rant punctuated by remarks about having no sympathy for suicide.

We published the story on July 31, and the suicide comments hit a nerve; some blogs and news outlets picked it up, condemning the remarks as insensitive to those with depression.

Then Robin Williams died.

Suddenly social media channels were filled with discussions about the roots of suicide and what could be done to prevent it. This shined a harsh light on what Simmons said, and on Nikki Sixx' radio show, the Crüeman made a counterpoint from the perspective of a former drug addict.

After a group of Australian radio stations banned Kiss music, Simmons offered an apology.

Let me state that last part again: Gene Simmons issued and apology. The man who literally spits blood came forward to clarify his remarks.

"My intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression," he stated on his Facebook page.

It didn't take long for major news outlets to jump on the story: The Rolling Stone headline read "Gene Simmons' Depression and Suicide Comments Anger Nikki Sixx"; The Los Angeles Times put it in the most perspective, pointing out that the comments were made before Williams' death, and that they were just a small portion of a far-reaching interview.

Of course, it was not our intention to get Simmons in hot water, and when I read the story I thought his statements about rap music would be what hit the hot button. Like most of our interviews, it's in Q&A format, which removes the filter of editing - we'd rather hear what the subject actually said then get selected quotes wrapped in journalist perspective.

Roger's work on the piece is outstanding - his intro is very clever, and he got tremendous insights out of Simmons without ever baiting him.

Anyone looking for offensive remarks made by Simmons in the past won't have to do much research (start with his NPR interview a few years back). This just happened to hit a very sensitive nerve at a very sensitive time.

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Gene Simmons is an ass. He's always quick to point the finger of blame at other people, but loathe to take responsibility for his own failings. He's a dissipated, dirty old man and a serial adulterer and he is at best, a mediocre musician. The only thing at which he truly excels is self-promotion.

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I always thought it was great that he was a rock star who didn't do drugs, drink or smoke.

Then he married a floozie & started speaking.

As someone who battles depression & has a haunted suicidal past I find his remarks disgusting. Simmons has opinions about everything yet knows nothing about anything.

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