Sunday, 17 August 2014

Gene Simmons, Arrogance, Rock & Roll, and depression.

As of late the comments that Gene Simmons, aka the Demon, have made on suicide and depression have been broadcast around the globe. Mix those words with one of the most loved comedians known in modern day history hanging themselves and you have one huge PR nightmare for "The Hottest Band in the World." Hell even the straight man of Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx, has chimed in. Now radio stations are banning KISS songs and I imagine it is causing problems with the tour.

Many people seem to be rightfully pissed off by the remarks and are writing it off as Gene being an arrogant asshole. Have never met the Demon himself I cannot presume that that is the case but his words seem to paint an interesting portrait. 

I must say at this point that I have been a huge KISS fan for a long time, yet in the shadow of the comments Gene said about suicide ("have some dignity and jump!”) I have put away my kiss collectibles, which used to have a prominent place on my living room shelves. At this point I am not sure if I am overreacting  or justifiably upset.

Arrogance seems to be inherent in the world of Rock and Roll, from the tirades and bad attitude of Axel Rose who thinks he is Guns and Roses, to Gene's characterization of the Demon. I have been quite surprised by the attitude of several of the Rock stars, even the ones I have respected in the past.

I have met musicians such as Bruce Kulick who seemed genuinely bored to meet his fans, to  Eric Singer who was amazingly personable and excited to meet his fans. Many of the personas of Rock Idols on stage are out right arrogant, you don't have to look too far to see that in pretty almost all popular styles of music. The Lead singer from the HeadstonesHugh Dillon, once refused to talk to Ed The Sock on TV because Ed was a sock puppet. Now whether you call that arrogance or just plain hilarious it paints a good picture of someone with a strongly defined view of self importance. Even members of the Canadian Iconic group The Tea Party  were observed on Much Music answering fan questions as if they were stupid questions.    

Hell even members of the one band that I have called my favorite Rock and Roll band for many years has shown some evidence of the Diva disease that is arrogance. Doug Pinnick, from the horribly under appreciated band King's X was quite rude to me when I met him. 

So where do we stand on the stupid, self important, or damaging quotes of people who live in a world that rewards unreal perception of self-idolization? Is the backlash against Gene and KISS warranted? The hell if I know but I can tell you that my KISS memorabilia will not be thrown out, still they will not see the light of day until I can come to terms with the anger I feel about the words said.

As far as Depression and Rock and Roll... Depression has been the spark that has ignited many excellent songs and have made many Rock and Roll Icons very rich. It almost seems like the beast that the creative must strike a deal with in order to become productive. Some even had to kill themselves to become icons; take Kurt Cobain for one. Still, it would make more sense to encourage the depressed artists that struggle in this world to have some hope to continue to create instead of telling them to "have some dignity and jump!”

For those of us who are struggling with depression and feel that it would be better to end it all instead of enduring another day of pain and disappointment, I really don't know what to say. I am too upset that I can't seem to have some dignity and jump.

                                                                                                                    Kevin Sweeney 

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