We’re two and a half weeks past the death of Prince, which is apparently the amount of time it takes someone to make the mistake of asking noted asshole Gene Simmons what he thinks about any given bit of musical news. That someone, in this case, being Newsweek, which ran an interview today with the aging rock lizard, in which he weighed in on the recent spate of celebrity deaths, declaring Prince’s “pathetic”—because if anybody knows about being pathetic, it’s presumably Gene Simmons.
Referring to the spate of high-profile deaths that have repeatedly passed him over, Simmons said, “Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness. All the other ones were a choice,” he added, saying of Prince’s death, “His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”
After horking up that meaty glob of rhetorical slime, Simmons went on to heap praise on the Minnesota-based musician, calling him, “Heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust,” and recounting a story about a time that the two of them (and Simmons’ then-girlfriend, Diana Ross) met. But then he swerved back into Gene Simmons territory, saying, “Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did.”
Condemnation aside, Simmons did say he thought Prince’s death will probably be good for the artist’s long-term reputation, because Gene Simmons doesn’t see people, only their personal marketing brands. “Your legacy becomes even bigger, you become more iconic, if you die before your time—Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and all that,” he said, before, declaring that he won’t receive similar benefits, as the moment for Gene Simmons to be loaded into his own KISS coffin “before his time” has long since passed. “At some point my hair and teeth are gonna fall out, at some point you’ll see pathetic Gene Simmons at 80 years old with a colostomy bag and a wheelchair,” he said, conjuring one stomach-turning image before leaning hard into an even grosser one: “I’ll grant you, it’ll be a studded wheelchair, and I’ll have a hot nurse wheeling me around. But at that point the imagery doesn’t connect with young Elvis or Marilyn Monroe.” Which suggests, amazingly, that Gene Simmons thinks there was a time in his career when such a connection could have been conceivably drawn.
UPDATE: Gene Simmons has issued an apology for his comments on Prince’s death. He did so via Twitter, which is a well-established venue for walking back some ill-advised rant. Simmons claims his “use and lose” upbringing has made him especially judgmental of addicts, and asks his followers for the sympathy he probably should have just shown Prince in the first place. Oh, and he’d really appreciate it if journalists wouldn’t insist on citing his previous objectionable remarks when reporting on his current ones.