May 12, 2016


Gene Simmons Apologizes for Calling Prince's Death 'Pathetic'

Jason LaVeris/Getty Images
Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

Last week, in an interview with NewsweekKiss bassist Gene Simmons made remarks about the death of Prince, many of which were criticized as callous by his family, friends and fans. Simmons' take on the music icon's premature passing—the cause of which has yet to be confirmed by medical authorities—was indeed terse, as he chalked it up to drug and alcohol abuse.

"How pathetic that he killed himself,” Simmons said, before surmising "that’s what he did." He added that drugs and alcohol abuse is tantamount to a "slow death."

Now, Simmons is issuing a rebuke of those words, having written a longwinded apology that he posted online Wednesday (May 11). He noted that his feelings of drug use and users are colored by his experience growing up around addicts, who have made his life difficult. His full statement is below: 

"I just got such shit from my family for my big mouth again. I apologize - I have a long history of getting very angry at what drugs do to the families/friends of the addicts. I get angry at drug users because of my experience being around them coming up in the rock scene. In my experience they've made my life, and the lives of their loved ones, difficult. I was raised in a culture/crowd where drug addicts were written off as losers, and since that's the narrative I grew up with, it's been hard to change with the times. Needless to say, I didn't express myself properly here - I don't shy away from controversy, and angry critics really don't bother me at all. If I think I'm right, I'll throw up a finger and dig my heels in and laugh. But this time, I was not. So, my apologies.

"PS: What I will say is that there is part of this that is journalists quote-mining things lve said in the past and applying it to new situations. This, too, happens often, and not just to me. So, quote mining, too, is wrong. It doesn't make my past quotes any more tactful, but still - be wary of click bait. The uglier they can make it seem, the more views they will get."

As he notes in the apology, Simmons has a long history of making rash statements without much foresight. In 2013, he said that Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are only considered icons because of their premature deaths and addiction to drugs. Ring any bells? 

Billboard notes that the prescription painkiller Percocet was found present in Prince's body when he was found dead on April 21. The artist was scheduled to meet with a doctor specializing in opioid addiction on April 22, just one day after he passed away at his estate in Paisley Park, Minnesota.