Should Musicians Be Able To Remotely Disable Phone Cameras At Concerts? GENE SIMMONS Weighs In

July 8, 2016

On July 1, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons was interviewed by Jack Antonio for the "Do You Know Jack?" radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below.

Asked what he thinks about the recent news reports that Apple is working on a technology that could potentially allow music venues to disable a smartphone's camera, making it impossible for fans to tape concerts on mobile phones, Gene said: "When we first started out, this was before cellphones or technology and even voice mail. There was no cable, there was no nothing, so at the concerts, they took away your cameras — they didn't allow you to do that. So, in a lot of ways, the concert experience, especially with KISS, was real — it was emotional, it was deep. You know, people would pass out and cry; it was very emotional. And it's become… Technology, of course, has made everything less emotional. You know, when you get back home and look at your cellphone and the video there, and you go, 'Oh, I don't remember that from the concert!' Well, of course you don't, 'cause you were too busy texting or looking at your cellphone. But do I think they should have the technology to shut off your stuff? Well, maybe with your 'okay.' You know, at least beforehand, they say, 'Okay, you're about to enter a no-cellphone area' and stuff, that's fine. As long as you know, going in."

According to reports, Apple's technology would use infrared signals to send encoded data to cell phones to disable the camera function. The phone would detect the signal and either alter what's shown on the screen or shut down its video features completely.

A number of hard rock and heavy metal musicians have been asking fans to shut off their phones at live shows for years.

NILE mainman Karl Sanders in 2014 slammed fans who insist on shooting photos and video at the band's concerts, saying that they are not "involved in the show" and are cheating other people out of a place where they could be enjoying the music.

Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach said in 2015 that live performers should be given the same respect as films in movie theaters, which have a long-standing policy requiring audiences to silence their phones and putting away any recording devices during showings. The singer explained: "You can't go to a movie and have your cellphone on, but when you have actual live human beings, it's fucking okay? That's fucking bullshit! It's not appropriate in our society to stand up in a theater and film the fucking movie, but it's totally acceptable to do that at a concert? I've done four fucking Broadway shows and you can't pull out your fucking cellphone or you'll get kicked out! Do you know why? Because it's distracting. It's just not the way to watch and enjoy a show."

Bach went on to say: "I've toured with the best of the best. I've filmed shit on my cellphone from the side of the stage watching Axl [Rose] and everybody. Guess how many times I've watched that shit? Zero. I look at it and go, 'That sucks! Delete.' It sounds like shit and it looks like shit. I think it takes the mystery out of rock and roll."

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