He took to Twitter to say it’s been “hard to change with the times” and open up to more sympathetic views on addiction.
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) May 11, 2016
“I got such shit from my family for my big mouth again,” he writes. “I apologize.”
His remarks railing against Prince originally appeared in an interview in Newsweek. Simmons ranted about what he saw as the artist’s less-than-tragic death. Although Simmons said he loves Prince’s music, he’s furious with the rocker for “killing himself” through what has been speculated to be long-term drug use.
As a touring musician for decades, Simmons must have seen his fair share of drug use and addiction. Still, he isn’t interested in making excuses for Prince. “I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust,” he said. “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.”
For his part, Simmons said he’s made a “personal choice” to steer clear of drugs and alcohol. “I’ve never been high or drunk,” he says. “I don’t care if anybody believes me or not.”
Asked if he’d ever met Prince, Simmons elaborated on a backstage visit with his then-girlfriend, Diana Ross. “I took Diana to see him when he was first starting out,” he said. “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 5 feet 4 [inches], very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing.”
Looks like Simmons and his big mouth may have learned a lesson.