Gene Simmons Removes Clown Makeup, Calls Prince’s Death “Pathetic”

We’ve barely had time to grieve the unexpected passing of legendary musician and icon Prince, and yet now we’ve got the sad news that one of rock ‘n’ roll’s soggiest has-beens thinks that it’s wise and kind and accurate to call Prince’s death “pathetic.”

The quote came from a recent interview in Newsweek, where Simmons talks of Prince’s death as pathetic and equates it to suicide, even though Simmons — and the general public — knows nothing of the actual, detailed facts surrounding Prince’s death. “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,” were his words exactly.

Not content to talk about Prince’s death, he also stooped so low as to mock the singer for being shy when having been complimented at the start of his career by both Simmons and Diana Ross, who were, at the time, incredibly large cultural figures. “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 you, thank you.’ He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn’t look Diana Ross in the face—he kept his eyes to the ground,” he said.

To his credit, Simmons does go on to say that Prince’s death doesn’t ruin everything that came before it, but makes the claim that this will only heighten his legacy. “No. Your legacy becomes even bigger, you become more iconic, if you die before your time—Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and all that. They capture the youth.” This is just before he goes on to say that Gene Simmons himself will at some point become pathetic, maybe when he’s 80 or something, because he’s totally not pathetic today, at the age of 66, when he’s talking to news outlets about how pathetic someone else is for possibly succumbing to drugs and alcohol.

Oh, and Simmons insists he’s never been drunk or high — except for when in a dentist’s chair, “where they knock you out,” because doing drugs doesn’t make his “schmeckel bigger.” Because sex is not an addiction, etc. Brilliant!

Update: Simmons’ bandmate Paul Stanley has chimed in: