Gene Simmons is smart, and he has the ego to prove it.
Simmons decided to go on to NPR (maybe he was asked) in 2002. The interview never aired, but good things never stay buried. What most people hear from this interview are heavy doses of misogyny and egotism. Once you cut through that, what I hear is more profound. Some excerpts:
Terry Gross: How would you describe the pattern on your face?
Gene Simmons: A banker's pattern. When you look at it, it says, "Boy! That guy's got a lot of money."
Terry Gross: "Well, let's cut to the chase. How much -- how much money do you have?"
Gene Simmons: "Gee, a lot more than NPR."
This is when The Resentment starts between the host and the interviewee. And, to be honest, it is Gene gloating over his money, but compounding it with his disdain for all things NPR. "All things NPR" is any organization that represents secular thought, but is ultimately biased and myopic (and too uptight to admit it).
From here on it really gets interesting, and Terry Gross and Gene start rubbing each other the wrong way. The words "obnoxious" and "defensive" are used to describe the musician. Then, they talk about sexual prowess. And what it is to be an "honest man" to a woman. Then, they steer into music, and we get this:
Terry Gross: "Are you interested in music, or is the goal of being in a rock band to have sex a lot?"
Gene Simmons: "I believe in my heart that anyone who gets up there and says what they're doing is art is on crack, and is delusional, and that in point of fact, what they really ... their modus operandi initially -- perhaps it changed when they started to question their sexuality, but clearly, initially -- it was to get laid and make lots of money. And anybody who tells you otherwise is lying to you. The reason we all wanted to pick up instruments initially ... you know, publicly, anyway -- I will grant you there are those people who really love music and simply want to do it as a private pleasure."
|All for a ladypiece!|
Gene: "I'm not delusional enough to think that what I do is important to life as we know it on this planet. No. But neither is what you do. You know, the world can get along very well without us. Farmers are more important. Teachers, and firemen, and so on, because if they're not around it really affects us. Your job and my job, whether you wear less makeup and I wear more makeup, is to entertain people. And I'm here to tell you: I'm very entertaining. I don't know about you. But this is NPR. [laughs]"
Again, that private pleasure notion of music versus the public "performativity" of concert music. Public expression of music, from an instinct perspective, is purely for personal gain. Yes, he does take a jab at NPR. NPR doesn't get criticized a lot, and maybe this is a bad thing. Freedom of choice, opinion, expression is something paramount in the entertainment business. And entertainment is irrelevant to life on this planet. But, the human ego is essential.
Terry Gross: But my impression is you don't have much sympathy for anyone. You -- you're so in to yourself! You're just so deep into yourself.
Gene Simmons: Well, I think ... I think everybody should be. If it sounds like admiration coming out of you, I accept it. I think ... it -- life is too short to have anything but delusional notions about yourself. Which is -- you should really like yourself more than you deserve to, because the alternative isn't very good. You should really think you are better looking than you are, because the alternative is ... sort of ... you know, some ... some bad notions. And so I'm aware, as a sane person, that I'm not the best-looking guy in the world. I'm aware of it. But when I go into a party, I will walk out with your girlfriend.
A lesson in human nature here. The boldest man in the room may not always be the smartest, but he'll get the girl. Sound advice from someone who used it over and over again. Gene Simmons also songwrites, plays bass guitars, and performs theatrics onstage while singing and playing bass.
I could go on and on about this one interview. There's many more notable quotes, but you should just listen for yourself. And, leave your subjectivity at the door. Yes, Gene is an abrasive personality, but he called my attention to how toxic even public radio can be.