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Rock star Gene Simmons is taking heat from one of his band-mates and others after opining on what he believes killed Prince.
“His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?” the KISS front-man told Newsweek.
“I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did. Slowly, I’ll grant you… but that’s what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death,” he added.
Simmons told Newsweek of a time when he went with his then girlfriend Diana Ross to meet Prince after a concert when the “Purple Rain” singer was just starting out.
“Backstage when we came up to say ‘You were great,’ we were expecting this huge personality and he was a very small, slight human being. He might have been five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn’t take a compliment: ‘Thank, thank you.’ He spoke in a whisper,” Simmons recalled. “It was shocking actually. He couldn’t look Diana Ross in the face — he kept his eyes to the ground.”
The rocker told Newsweek he has never dabbled in drugs or alcohol himself.
“I’ve never been high or drunk in my life,” he said. “I have to validate that: Except in a dentist’s chair where they knock you out. I’ve never been high or drunk. I don’t care if anybody believes it or not. It’s just a personal life choice. I can almost understand drinking or getting high if it made my schmeckel bigger, or made me smarter, but nothing happens.”
He said dying young helps the legacy of many stars like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe because you never see them old and feeble, something he aspires to be.
“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—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,” he said. “If you die before your time it adds to your iconic nature. But I’m not willing to do that—sorry. I really enjoy getting up every day. If it means at the end I become a pathetic version of what I am, so be it.”
His band-mate Paul Stanley took to social media to disavow, and apologize for, Simmons comments.
Embarrassed by cold clueless statements re Prince’s death. Without all the facts better to say nothing. My apologies https://t.co/Arb5XQ4o7l
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) May 10, 2016
Stanley was joined by others who went after the rock legend.
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Gene Simmons called Prince’s death “pathetic.” He then put on facepaint & continued his life as an adult who dresses up as an action figure.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) May 11, 2016
Seems like the only time @genesimmons can make media headlines these days is by being an old douchebag
— Zak Bagans (@Zak_Bagans) May 11, 2016
@billboard he should really pull his head out of his own ass, just sew his mouth shut…
— HockeyQueen (@Girouvy28) May 10, 2016
Others defended Simmons.
— JLennon (@LegalLENNON) May 11, 2016
Gene Simmons calls Prince’s death ‘pathetic’ https://t.co/uLLlcUyVYe Gene Simmons is right. Very right.
— J Robert Smith (@JRobertSmith1) May 11, 2016
I’d bet good money none of the idiots slamming Gene Simmons read what he actually said. He’s right.
— Tami #LCFC ✘ (@Brytani_Fla) May 10, 2016
Hey you Prince groupies. Just because you like his music, doesn’t make him a Saint. Gene Simmons is correct. pic.twitter.com/zArhha1s8w
— laugh@libs (@LibsNoFun) May 11, 2016
Killing yourself by drugs – esp. when you’re an accomplished adult – is pathetic. Gene Simmons is correct. pic.twitter.com/6OTCTe2PQX
— Matt 2AFight (@2AFight) May 11, 2016
— Alan Bennington (@InfoBoxed) May 10, 2016
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