GENE SIMMONS: People Who Complain About KISS Merchandise Cut My Lawn And Pick Up My Garbage

May 25, 2007

Radar Online recently conducted an interview with KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Radar: You seemed to have a deep respect for the soldiers you met at Camp Pendleton. What did you come away with?

Gene Simmons: It is embarrassing what's happening to America nowadays. I'm embarrassed. The same thing happened in Vietnam, and I lived through that era. It was unbelievable. The answer seems to be, from some political experts, just get up and leave and the bad guys will decide, "Hey let's disarm and everything's going to be okay." I'm so fucking sick and tired of such idiotic behavior.

Radar: I'm guessing you're not in favor of the Iraq troop withdrawal bills being proposed right now in Congress.

Gene Simmons: It's not the policies and the bills; it's how we treat our military. It's how we treat our young men or women who go out there, at 18 years old, and risk their lives. There's no fame, they're certainly not getting rich, and a lot of them are dying, simply for something they believe. By the way, it's a volunteer army, all volunteer. The fact that anybody would have a fucking thing to say about that is astonishing. And the VA hospital that Sophie and I went to, it's about an hour and a half down the road from Malibu. These morons can't get up off their asses and out of their $10 million homes, get into their SUVs, and drive down to the VA hospital just to say, "Hey, what you do matters." Doesn't matter what they think of President Bush. It matters that 18-year-olds are getting out there and risking their lives. I didn't see a single person there. That's the most embarrassing thing. I'm furious at Hollywood.

Radar: Do you think the troops in Iraq don't get the respect they deserve?

Gene Simmons: I think it's worse than ever. Because it's never talked about. It's just never talked about. We used to have a dialogue. I mean, there were peace marches, and people forget this, but the Vietnam vets that came back were spat at. Now, it's just apathy.

Radar: But it seems like these people are protesting the war, not protesting the troops.

Gene Simmons: I don't see the difference. Aid and comfort to the enemy is when you do it through media and there are big headlines like "We've Lost the War" and things like that. What makes you think that any graduate of any madrassa in the Middle East doesn't blow that up? In other words, make a big copy of it and show it to everybody.

Radar: What do you tell people who make fun of all the KISS-branded merchandise, like the KISS coffin?

Gene Simmons: Oh, they're the people who cut my lawn and pick up my garbage. It's easy to sit in the peanut gallery and point fingers. People think that KISS is different from any other band. We're exactly the same as REM and U2 and every other band. They sell T-shirts, too. It's just that we can do things no other band can do. There ain't no ROLLING STONES comic books. No matter how much I think Mick Jagger's an icon and has outlived everybody in rock to this day, I don't want to see him in a cave flying through the air.

Radar: Have you stopped calling your tours "reunion" or "farewell" tours?

Gene Simmons: Who cares? Isn't it true, no matter what you say, when you get offstage and everybody's clapping, you come back on, and that's called an encore? Didn't you actually say "goodnight" to the people and leave? What makes you think life is any different? Life is all about supply and demand. This is going to be the last tour. That's it. Streisand, everybody says the same thing. And by the way, when you're saying it, you mean it. And then when the demand gets to be too much to bear, you go, "Okay, they want us."

Radar: I've been watching some older episodes of "Family Jewels", and certain scenes seemed to have been partially scripted or re-shot. Is it staged?

Gene Simmons: We don't have very much to do with that. The camera crews have to plan where you're gonna go and what you're gonna do. Nobody's told what to say, but in some ways, as soon as you turn on the camera, reality is a version of reality. People are aware there are cameras there, and they change their behavior. Including the bozos. And I wish I had a bat for every one of those guys who jumps up and down behind a newscaster on the street doing a story about a fire. There's some moron jumping up and down. There should be asshole police with bats. As soon as you start misbehaving, you should get the shit beaten out of you. Put me in charge. I'm telling you, I'd fix all that.

Radar: Were Shannon and the kids happy you started the show?

Gene Simmons: They didn't really like it. We did a 10-part thing with "Extra" — they did 10 five-minute bits and called it "The Simmons", kind of like an "Osbournes" thing. Except it wasn't a train wreck. People were shocked to find out [we] were the most charming, polite, responsible people they'd ever met. The ratings were big, and they were sort of shocked. They were fascinated by people who actually behaved well. Whereas everybody else on TV, whether it's Paris, God bless her — I think she's an American institution, by the way — or the idiots of Hollywood ... [In the background, Shannon shouts "Losers!" Gene chuckles.] That was Shannon ... she's shy.... When you watch any reality show, it's a train wreck. You're watching dysfunctional people.

Radar: Had you watched "The Osbournes" and thought, Oh, I don't want to get into this ... I don't want to be portrayed this way?

Gene Simmons: We were fearless about it. We are who we are, and we can't be anybody else. And Ozzy's been a friend for 30 years. I think he's a sweetheart. But neither you nor I can speak about his family. That's his family and that's what he does.

Read the entire interview at Radar Online.

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