Because it's important that everyone keep up with everyone else's opinions on everything, Gene Simmons of KISS was asked for his thoughts on various musicians' deaths in a Newsweek interview on Tuesday. He said he considered David Bowie's death "tragic," because it was a "real sickness," but Prince's death he thought of as "pathetic" and a "choice."
The 66-year-old rocker told Newsweek, "I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. 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."
And Twitter did what it does best: react.
Simmons has since apologized for his statements, tweeting a screengrab of a lengthy note.
The full text of the apology reads:
I just got such sh*t 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.
Bottom line: addiction is a real illness, and Prince's death was a tragedy. And David Bowie's was, too. Maybe if Gene Simmons stops pissing everyone off, he can avoid someone saying something really awful when he passes.