Saturday, August 16, 2014
Gene Simmons Attempts to Clear His Name After Cruel Comment on Depression
It is no secret that lately Kiss bassist and front man Gene Simmons has been drawing much negative attention to himself in the press. Some of it is political, but what really has the public upset is the following comment he made when asked why he does not have a good relationship with former Kiss members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in an interview with Songfacts:
“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. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: ‘The world is a harsh place.’ My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear f— all about ‘the world as a harsh place.’ She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. For a putz 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I’m depressed. I live in Seattle.’ F– you, then kill yourself.”
Seems a pretty harsh thing for him to say, don't you think? It's easy to say things like that when you personally have never experienced the kind of hell that addicts and victims of depression go through on a daily basis. This comment has caused many radio stations across the nation to start banning Kiss from being played on their stations, which personally I think is a little silly because Gene while being a major representative of the band does not speak for the entire group. Besides, can't you just enjoy the art but hate the artist if that's the way you feel about it? After all, Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose has said and done some outrageous things over the years but you don't see their music getting banned from the radio.
Back to the topic at hand, though. This comment really got the attention of Motley Crue bassist and chief song writer Nikki Sixx. Sixx, who is a recovering drug addict and victim of depression had this to say on his radio show Sixx Sense:
“To be honest with you, I like Gene but in this situation, I don’t like Gene. I don’t like Gene’s words, because … there is a 20-year-old kid out there who is a Kiss fan and reads this and goes, ‘You know what? He’s right. I should just kill myself.’”
I think Sixx hits the nail right on the head here. Gene Simmons has a huge amount of influence. Therefore, he has a major responsibility regarding said influence. He needs to be careful about what he says because saying something like that could cause one of his fans to do something tragic. Even the loss of one person due to this would be a grave tragedy.
However, after all the public outcry about these comments Gene has come forward with two apologies to take back the comments he made. The first one from his personal Facebook page on 8/15 says this:
"Depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones.
I have not commented on various allegations made in the media, but I want to make this statement for the record and to clarify.
I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression.
I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics.
Somewhere along the line, my intentions in speaking very directly and perhaps politically-incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics have been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression.
Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention.
And I do not intend to defend myself here and now by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with.
This is not about me. This is about clearing up misconceptions and being clear. My heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression."
Later on he made another apology meant to be more detailed on the same day on the official Kiss Facebook page:
"I want to make this statement about my views on depression for the record and to clarify my prior remarks.
To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression, I was wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression. I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments. I recognize that depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones. I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression.
I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. Fully, you will know that and I do not intend to defend myself here and now, by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with. Rather, I simply want to be clear that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression and I deeply regret any offhand remarks in the heat of an interview that might have suggested otherwise."
To wrap this all up, it seems to me that Gene is just backtracking in order to have positive PR again. He may yet recover, but I don't think anything will ever be quite the same again. After all, how can you say you are empathetic towards those with depression when you make a comment like "For a putz 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I’m depressed. I live in Seattle.’ F– you, then kill yourself.”? Personally, I'm a little surprised that he would say such a thing considering how much he knows about business. Saying stuff like that to the public isn't exactly going to help you sell more albums and merchandise. Be that as it may, I personally will still continue to rock out to Kiss but Gene Simmons will definitely not be one of my favorite people.
What are your thoughts about the whole situation? Leave comments below.