gene simmons

*There’s a reason old tired azz leather face Gene Simmons of Kiss is king of the A-holes. He works hard at it.

In a new interview with Newsweek, he was asked to weigh in on the recent deaths of David Bowie and Prince. Well, as far Simmons is concerned, Prince’s death is “pathetic.”

“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” Simmons said. “All the other ones were a choice.”

Someone might want to remind Simmons that Prince’s cause of his death has yet to be determined, and is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, a law enforcement official told The AP.

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“I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them,” Simmons continued. “I thought he left [Michael] 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 is: a slow death.”

Simmons, 66, claims he’s “never been high or drunk” in his life and questioned the “insane gene” in people that makes them succumb to “the cliche of the cliches: drugs and alcohol.”

Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, on Tuesday, Kiss’ co-lead vocalist, Paul Stanley, apologized for Simmons’s comments, calling them “embarrassing,” “cold,” and “clueless.”

Embarrassed by cold clueless statements re Prince’s death. Without all the facts better to say nothing. My apologies — Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) May 10, 2016

But of course Simmons isn’t sorry. He relishes in being an insensitive a-hole. Earlier this year, he pissed off rap aficionados by telling Rolling Stone: “I am looking forward to the death of rap.” And of course he was just feuding on Twitter with Ice Cube over the matter.

Here’s more from the Newsweek interview:

Did you ever meet Prince?
Gene Simmons: I took Diana [Ross, his girlfriend at the time] to see him when he was first starting out. He was playing a club and we’d never seen anything like that. Backstage when we came up to say ‘you were great,’ we were expecting this huge personality and he was a very small, slight human being. He might have been five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn’t take a compliment: ‘Thank you, thank you.’ He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn’t look Diana Ross in the face—he kept his eyes to the ground.

The one question I have is: When we all start out and we have these big dreams and you finally get your wish—you have more money than God and fame—what is that insane gene in us, well, a lot of us, that makes us want to succumb to the cliché of clichés: drugs and alcohol?

Do the purported circumstances around Prince’s death hurt his legacy?
No. Your legacy becomes even bigger, you become more iconic, if you die before your time—Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and all that. They capture the youth.

It is less iconic… at some point my hair and teeth are gonna fall out, at some point you’ll see pathetic Gene Simmons at 80 years old with a colostomy bag and a wheelchair—I’ll grant you it’ll be a studded wheelchair and I’ll have a hot nurse wheeling me around—but at that point the imagery doesn’t connect with young Elvis or Marilyn Monroe. If you die before your time it adds to your iconic nature. But I’m not willing to do that—sorry. I really enjoy getting up every day. If it means at the end I become a pathetic version of what I am, so be it. My gravestone will not say: ‘I wish I woulda, shoulda, coulda.’

You can read the FULL interview at Newsweek.