Gene Simmons is backtracking on his comments that blamed Prince for taking his own life from an alleged drug overdose. The KISS bassist is now saying his family was disappointed in him for his careless accusation.
Simmons spoke to Newsweek May 10 and bought into speculation that drugs fueled the music icon’s passing at age 57.
“His drugs killed him,” the former reality TV star said to the magazine. “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 [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.”
His comments are drastically different from the condolences he shared online after learning about Prince’s death April 21.
PRINCE, sad to say, has passed on!!! He was a Giant. My deep condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) April 21, 2016
Now, the 66-year-old has tweeted his regrets over the remarks. Much like Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio – who blamed his hatred of drug use on his similar remarks about Prince back in April – Simmons says he gets “angry at drug users because of my experience being around them coming up in the rock scene.”
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) May 11, 2016
This is the latest time Simmons had put his foot in his mouth regarding Black artists and genres. Back in March, the rock performer proclaimed that hip-hop was on its way out, which prompted Talib Kweli to defend the genre. The rapper tweeted for Simmons to “keep rap out his mouth.”
In 2012, he referred to Rihanna as a “karaoke singer” while promoting his then upcoming 40-day tour with fellow 1980s hair band Mötley Crüe.
“We’re sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them,” he said at a press conference. “I don’t care what your music is, have some integrity, be real, or full disclosure before the fact. Hold up a sign that says, ’70 percent of what you hear is fake. It’s a tape. I’m a karaoke singer.’ “