KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons recently told Insight magazine that if fellow rock performers continue to do outrageous politically-charged things such as stabbing a Bush mask onstage, they should expect their record sales to go down. "I don't think everybody that booed will stop buying PEARL JAM records or going to PEARL JAM concerts," Gene said of the April 1 concert in Denver's Pepsi Center where PEARL JAM frontman Eddie Vedder allegedly impaled a mask of President George W. Bush on a microphone stand, stabbed it into the floor and began stomping on it.. "But I do know that a segment of the audience will stop. I'm one. I've bought PEARL JAM records. I'm out. He [Eddie] crossed the line."
Simmons also explained that while he disagrees with Bush and Republicans on many issues he is supportive of the President's decision to get rid of Saddam Hussein. "I often don't agree with the Republican Party's stance on air, water, big business, Roe v. Wade, ad infinitum," he said. "But in time of war, it's time to cut it out, or we're not here. We can't wait for Saddam Hussein [to act]. He is not a threat to the United States in the conventional sense. But in a very real way, if this son of a bitch gives one suitcase filled with dirty materials — whether it's a nuclear dirty bomb or anything else - to an Al-Qaeda guy who's out of his mind. ... Do I have to wait for what will happen in order to say now he's a threat?"
Simmons' stance on this issue is due in no small part to his background. His mother was a Holocaust survivor, and he lived in Israel until he was 9. "My memory is not short," Simmons said. "I'm alive because my mother is alive, and my mother is alive because America liberated her from the Nazi German concentration camps. I'm living proof that there's a country out there that really cared enough to risk its lives, and yet after it beat the country that was spreading this disease, it didn't occupy it, for the first time in history." Simmons adds that France and Germany's ingratitude to the United States "pisses me off."
Gene also revealed to Insight that he canceled a planned feature on THE DIXIE CHICKS for his entertainment magazine, Gene Simmons Tongue, in which THE DIXIE CHICKS would have been on the cover, because of their declaration at a London concert that they were "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Says Simmons: "In time of war, to aid and give comfort to the enemy on foreign soil, on stage and in a public forum is perfect fodder for anybody's press overseas that has a slightly different agenda, and I think it's reprehensible. And just because you're cute and have D-cups doesn't mean it's any less reprehensible."
"America is made up of people who have the right to buy or not buy your stuff for any reason they choose, and if what you stand for and who you are incenses them, they have a right to not put money in your pocket," Simmons concluded. "For example, I have female fans. If I get up there and say something very sexist, the female fans have a right, because their sense of who I am was insulted, to not put money in my pocket. ... Nobody is curtailing Tim Robbins' rights. However, if a Tim Robbins movie came out today - and I've seen some of his other movies and I've enjoyed them — would I go see it? No."
In related news, KISS rocked the night this past Saturday (May 17) at the annual Wango Tango at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, presented by the Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM. Other acts at the Wango Tango included CHRISTINA AGUILERA, NELLY, SUGAR RAY and CRAIG DAVID, who reportedly performed with STING.
Says Simmons: " We literally blew up the skies above the stadium. While everyone was watching the fireworks, I was looking at their faces. Most had open jaws.
"Just what I like to see.
"We rocked 'em hard and it felt good. This was a good practice run for our upcoming summer extravaganza — KISS and AEROSMITH — on the same stage!!!"
Check out pictures of the Wango Tango performance from Film Magic (performance#1, performance#2, backstage) and Getty Images.