Gene Simmons shoots his mouth off at the River Cree
As a member of Generation Nothing – that awkward demographic group who came of age between Generation X and Baby Boomers and had naught but KISS and Peter Frampton to soothe them through the horrors of disco – I can keep silent no longer.
Gene Simmons: Please shut the f*** up.
You used to be mysterious, full of menace, the scariest of the painted hard rock demons that captured my teenage imagination back in the day. Yes, it’s quite silly now next to Slipknot, but in its time, KISS ruled – and Gene Simmons ruled KISS.
The demon shook the illusion long before his reality show came along – by opening his mouth. He popped up as a “motivational” speaker offering sensible advice along the lines of “The root of all evil isn’t money, it’s not having enough money.” He did it again on Saturday, Aug, 6 at the River Cree Casino. All talk and no rock at $80 a seat. SNAP!
He’s turned into the rock ‘n’ roll Gordon Gecko! Didn’t see that coming, and while I have tried not to let it affect my opinion of KISS’s music, it’s too late now.
That he’s greedy is just the beginning of the things I don’t want to know about Gene Simmons – but can’t resist, thanks to his reality show Family Jewels. A true KISS fan cannot not watch it. Ozzy’s TV show was even more atrocious, but it didn’t ruin Black Sabbath, plus I’ve forgotten most of it. So has Ozzy, probably.
Gene Simmons is different. The man is very sharply and very consciously selling pieces of his personal life because – to be blunt – he has nothing left to sell. And it’s KISS fans who must suffer the most.
Gene, for the love of God: I don’t want to know that you’ve had plastic surgery. I don’t care that you’ve given up your lifelong pseudo-bachelorhood and finally proposed to Shannon Tweed, nor that the whole drama was probably set up months in advance. I don’t want to see you wheel and deal and squeeze every last penny from merchandising the KISS legacy. I am trying not to notice how you turned out to be the perfect stereotype of the showbiz Jew. Cut your hair, get a suit and stick a cigar in your maw and you’re a caricature in a John Waters movie. And I especially don’t want to see – let alone hear – the musical efforts of your smarmy bastard spawn, Lil’ Gene Junior and his crappy rock band. I just wanna rock and roll all night and party every day like I used to. Is that too much to ask? I’m not asking for the moon here, and certainly won’t begrudge you any success you’ve worked so hard to earn, but please stop. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH INFORMATION – and it has ruined KISS for me. I am deserting the KISS Army. Firing squad at dawn.
What I have touched on here is the recent little-known phenomenon known as Big Mouth Rock Star Syndrome (BMRSS), wherein said rock star spoils the fans’ enjoyment of his of his or her music by talking too much.
Notable examples include Bono, John Mayer, Michael Jackson – whose stupid actions spoke louder than his stupid words – and Bob Dylan, who curiously lost musical credibility by not talking enough. Elton John says a lot of stupid things, but he is immune from BMRSS because he’s old and British and gay.
KISS might not quite be in that league – which is part of the problem, frankly – but when it comes to “selling out,” few rock stars do it more thoroughly than Gene Simmons.
My memory of seeing KISS in the ‘70s is tainted with the thought that Gene, under all that make-up, as he plucked his one-note bass lines and wagged his tongue, was probably just thinking about how much he was going to get paid.