Glam rock bassist Gene Simmons has spoken out on his opinion towards KISS’s “fiercest critics”, stating that their presence has never fazed him as even Jesus Christ isn’t universally liked. The musician also went on to elaborate on why the band is embarking on their final ever tour, stating that it boils down to a matter of “self-respect”.
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Following the band’s performance at last week’s Download Festival, Gene Simmons spoke with Planet Rock and explained that when it comes to KISS, unchallenged critical acclaim was never their intention.
In the latter half of the interview, the interviewer brings the conversation to a close by commenting on the band’s decision to call it quits. He states, “On behalf of the fans, thank you for the last 50 years, and on behalf of your fiercest critics, thank you for calling it a day!”
It was here where Simmons explained his attitude towards the band’s naysayers, responding: “The fiercest critics? You have to take things with a grain of salt – not everybody likes Jesus and you’re just never going to be able to appeal to everybody. And who wants to appeal to everybody? You want to stay true to what you do.”
The musician continues to share an example of how he is well accustomed to people not always celebrating his discography, using his son’s girlfriend as an example.
“[When I asked my son’s] girlfriend Keltie, lovely girl, ‘Do you want to go to Download?’ [she responded] ‘No, the music’s too loud!’” He continues, “KISS! It’s KISS! She likes quieter pop stuff, and that’s great, everybody should have whatever they want.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Simmons also addressed the rationale the members had when announcing the band’s last ever tour, claiming that the decision stemmed entirely down to a matter of self-respect.
“Everything comes down to pride. Have enough self-respect to know when to leave with dignity because you love the fans,” he states, progressing to give examples of those he believes let their career continue longer than necessary. “We’ve all seen boxers who’ve stayed in the ring too long. Or poor Elvis who ended up naked, bloated on a bathroom floor in Vegas. That ain’t Elvis. Quit while you’re on top, quit while you have something that resembles people’s preconceived notion of you.”
“[We still] walk out there and introduce ourselves with ‘You wanted the best, you’ve got the best, the hottest band in the world: KISS!’… Not like ‘oh, I remember them when they were really good, you should have seen them back in year one or year two.’” he says. “It’s right here, right now and if you can’t deliver the goods on a certain level have the self-respect to say ‘thank you and we’re done.’ We’re approaching 50 years – how long can you do it?”
Planet Rock‘s full interview with Gene Simmons can be found below.