Gene Simmons Dubs Himself The Ultimate Judge Of Authenticity In Pop Music

What authentic rock and roll looks like.
Kiss bass player/reality-TV star/political gadfly Gene Simmons let his legendary tongue loose earlier this week during a press conference announcing his band's summer tour with Mötley Crüe. The two-headed bill, which will be at the PNC Bank Arts Center on September 21 and Jones Beach on September 23, will apparently be a chance for people starved of such to hear "real music":

"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them. No fake bullshit. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an 'A.'"

Kudos to Simmons, who managed to get sexism and name-ism and a swear (ooh, edgy!) into a single quote. (It is unknown how he feels about people whose names end in "y" or "i," although perhaps Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee can tell us.) And really, I would have loved to have heard this quote in person, and watched it come out of his fully made-up face. I probably would have asked a couple of questions, too:
•Does "no fake bullshit" mean no spitting blood at crucial moments? Because surely those are caplets, right?
•Does it mean that the coordinated headbangs during "Rock And Roll All Nite" (which, come on, you're going to end your set with) are out?
•Does it mean no backing tapes at all?

I realize that Simmons is playing to his base—those rock fans who still hang on to the bad-ass "realist" ideals of the genre, even though its cultural imprint is waning fairly rapidly (it probably doesn't help that big-name artists like the two on this tour are continually flogging their old songs and making mediocre-at-best new material)—with these mini-bombs. And it's been great for press ("SIMMONS/RIHANNA FEUD" headlines are all over the place; the normally salty Barbadian star has yet to respond, which'll probably take up another news cycle). But really, this again? From Kiss, the most licensed band in ever? And why did Simmons have to make "girls" the target of his ire? Is that more base-playing, or is he not-so-subtly saying that a woman's place is not on the stage, but behind it (or on Cinemax After Dark)?

For his part, Lee did a little bit of damage control while managing to also sound kind of like an asshole:

"No disrespect to Rihanna, she's a great singer, but we're in a slump for some shit that has some personality and appeal beyond a bunch of pop stuff that's floating around out there. I'm glad he said that actually because I don't think i can bear watching another f***ing award show that is just a little bit better than American Idol. It's f***ing pathetic to watch people go out and f***ing karaoke with a bunch of lights and video. It's all completely watered down."

You have to wonder what Lee's girlfriend—the electro singer Sofi, who sang in front of "a bunch of lights and video" when she toured with deadmau5 last year—thinks of this particular statement. Why not ponder it while listening to Kiss's best song?

Kiss - "I Was Made For Lovin' You"

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Too bad Gene Never learned to play the bass (Yes, you suck). REAL bass players DO NOT use picks... and siging???? Come on, your voice sucks live even with all of the tricks and effects.... Gene, go away.... I would LOVE to see Peter, Ace, and Paul unite with a REAL Bass player...


Did his comment hurt your little me-generation feelings? Strip it down to this - when you pay your money to go see a live show - spitting blood is a gimmick - an entertainment luxury. Lip-synchronizing is a sham that tells me "I don't care about my fans".


Come on, Ms. Johnston.  Simmons was referring to performers whose concerts amount to lip-sync dance shows where little-to-no music is played live. In that regard, he is correct. A performer who appears "live in concert" SHOULD perform live.

Sure, Kiss concerts have always used theatrics, but the band has also always played their instruments and performed their vocals LIVE. Simmons' point was that today the dancers, lights, and costumes have become the primary focus, and any real music performance is secondary. It is simply a fact that female artists like Rihanna, Madonna, and especially Britney Spears are guilty of lip-sync choreography presented as a "live concert."

Merchandising has nothing to do with it. 


Maybe Simmons should start listening to bluegrass.


I was at the press conference and that sound bite was contrived as ever. Clearly,Simmons had it brewing in his head, waiting to say it at the most oportune time during the press conference, so that hundreds of media outlets would pick the story up and give KISS some sort of relevance to the youth pop-centric culture.

The more articles that are written about the subject, therefore creating more press for KISS, the more Simmons gets what he wants.

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