Kiss bassist Gene Simmons often grabs the headlines for his controversial comments. His band has been bashed heavily and labeled as “sellouts.” These are fair criticisms, but the reality here is that Gene Simmons views music from a very different perspective than most musicians. One could argue that Simmons has a much more realistic view of the music business and an artist’s place in it than those of us who subscribe to the old rock and roll cliches.
Gene Simmons explains his outlook
In Metallica’s LuLu album, they did exactly what they wanted to do, not caring about what fans wanted to hear. They got slammed in the ratings which dipped considerably. Gene Simmons understands this push/pull between what an artist wants and what the fans want all too well. He recently made a pretty good case for why making music for other people is just as valid an artform as making music for yourself. Simmons had a conversation with JustinBeckner when he said the following:
“… I’m untrained, I didn’t go to music school, I didn’t study music theory and, by and large, everybody that I know of is the same. I mean, Eddie Van Halen might have been an exception. I don’t know if Eddie or Alex Van Halen could read and write music. But clearly, what they did is based on what appealed to their ears. Whether you’re a painter, you’re [going to make paintings] no matter if you’re trained or untrained, what appeals to your very own eyes. Because that’s the judge and jury at the outset.
Then you can kind of move around your art based on whether you want to please other people or just yourself, which is the eternal push and pull. Whether you’re a writer, or a painter, or musician, or a sculptor, you’re either doing it for yourself or other people. If the two meet, you like what you’re doing, and they like what you’re doing, you’re really happy. But often, it’s a hard choice. [You’re going to say] I like it, I don’t care if anybody else likes it. Or the guy who does it all for people, even though he might hate it, which in my opinion, is just as valid and just as ethical as anything else.
Imagine going into a restaurant, and there’s a chef there who is world-famous and he personally hates spinach – wouldn’t touch it if he gags. And you walk up to the chef and say, ‘can you make me a spinach souffle?’ The chef would say, ‘of course’, and he makes you the thing and you eat it. He doesn’t have to like it. His job is to give you exactly what you want, even though he hates it. And that’s ethical. You do the best you can – you do the work. And so, I think it’s perfectly valid. [People say to me] You sellout. You’re damn right, bitch. I sell out every night.”
In other news, Simmons was spotted donning a robe and performing a couple of songs. He also answered fan questions on May 14 at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut.
Kiss were forced to put its farewell trek on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic. It was back in last October that Stanley said that the final concert of the “End Of The Road” tour will likely happen by early 2023. “End Of The Road” was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but has since been extended. The tour was announced in September 2018 following a Kiss performance of the band’s classic song “Detroit Rock City” on “America’s Got Talent”.