The Truth Behind Gene Simmons’ ‘Pathetic’ Comment On Prince’s Death

KISS’ Gene Simmons is famous for being at the center of many controversial and provocative debates such as his statements on hip-hop, music piracy, Rihanna, Guns N’ Roses, or depression. He never hesitates to share his opinions on a broad range of topics. Simmons mostly makes very harsh statements, which unsurprisingly opens the road for a public backlash.

One of Simmon’s controversial statements that got negative reactions were his comments on Prince’s death. Known for his flamboyant style, Prince was a versatile artist who engaged in songwriting, singing, playing, and producing music. The image he created made him one of the most original artists of all time. Besides being a brilliant performer on the stage, Prince was a master of fusing different music genres like pop, rock, R&B, soul, and funk.

Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016. Prince was found alone in an elevator, and according to the autopsy report, he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. It was reported later on that in fact, he had intended to take Vicodin, which is a common painkiller but he had unwittingly taken fentanyl instead of that. It has been still unknown where he got the lethal pills so nobody was formally charged with his death. After this tragic incident, Gene Simmons again made some controversial statements about his death.

Gene Simmons Called Prince’s Death ‘Pathetic’

Back in 2016, in an interview with Newsweek, Gene Simmons described Prince’s death as ‘pathetic’ while calling David Bowie’s death ‘tragic.’ Simmons stated that Bowie’s death was tragic because it was due to an illness but Prince, on the other hand, died of a drug overdose. According to Gene, Prince’s death was just ‘pathetic’ since he killed himself.

Here are Gene Simmons’ comments on Prince’s death:

“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness. All the other ones were a choice. His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold? I think Prince was heads, hands, and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how 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 are: a slow death.”

Gene Simmons acknowledged Prince as a brilliant musician but his harsh statements on his death were found humiliating and faced with an inevitable backlash from Prince’s family, friends, and millions of fans. Besides that, the people who have battled with various addictions also showed strong reactions to Simmons. Many KISS fans criticized him as well by regarding his comments insensitive.

Gene Simmons Apologized For His Comments On Prince’s Death

After intense reactions to Simmons’ words, Paul Stanley initially took the stage and apologized to all fans on Twitter. Stanley implied that his bandmate’s statements were inappropriate and insensible. Following Stanley’s apology, Gene Simmons noticed the seriousness of the situation and decided to apologize.

Simmons took to Twitter and said that he grew up observing how drug addiction affected the people around it. Gene explained that his previous experiences caused him to feel so angry about these issues. Simmons added that he couldn’t express himself in the right way and he wasn’t right when he called Prince’s death ‘pathetic.’

Here is Simmon’s full apology:

“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 I’ve 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 clickbait. The uglier they can make it seem, the more views they will get.”

The rocker blamed himself for his thoughtless words that may have hurt many people but he also put some of the blame on the journalists and implied that they did distort his words. Gene Simmons is known to be alcohol and drug-free as a consequence of his difficult background.