KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons says that he stands by the comments he made about Prince's death.
Simmons made headlines in May when he told Newsweek about Prince's passing: "His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?" Simmons added that while he still holds Prince in high regard as a musician, it was "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."
After Gene's comments were picked up by various news organizations, the rocker issued a statement in which he explained that his "big mouth" led him to not "express [himself] properly," and that it came from seeing too many people in the music industry throw away their talents by abusing drugs.
Last week, during an interview with the FM99/WNOR radio station, Simmons was once again asked about his controversial remarks. Gene responded (hear audio below): "Look, I stand by what I said. It's very sad that people… This generation and the previous ones [believe that] drugs are a part of life, and I reject that. You play with fire, you're gonna get burnt."
He continued: "I knew Prince. I knew [David] Bowie and all that. Bowie died from disease. Prince died because of drugs. And any other way to do it is… any other way to describe it… so did Michael Jackson. Drugs killed them. But it was a choice. And so it's sad — it's sad that they went that way, because you have every reason to live. You hurt your fans, you hurt everybody. And drugs are a selfish thing. People use it because they… Who knows why? But I stated it for a fact. [I] said he died because of drug use. People got very upset, but that's why he died."
Prince's body was discovered on April 21 in the elevator of his Minnesota estate Paisley Park. The coroner later ruled that he had died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Back in May, Simmons's KISS bandmate Paul Stanley took the bassist/vocalist to task on Twitter for his derogatory comments about Prince, calling them "cold, clueless statements."
MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx later slammed Simmons as a "bully," claiming that "nobody in rock" respects the KISS co-founder.