KISS’s Gene Simmons has apologized to VAN HALEN frontman David Lee Roth after implying in a recent interview that the singer was past his prime, much like Elvis later in his career.
Gene’s comments came after he was asked by Rolling Stone about Roth performing as the opening act for any further KISS dates on their “End Of The Road” farewell tour, to which he replied: “[Roth] took being a frontman way beyond anything. And then, I don’t know what happened to him … something. And you get modern-day Dave. I prefer to remember Elvis Presley in his prime. Sneering lips, back in Memphis, you know, doing all that. I don’t want to think of bloated naked Elvis on the bathroom floor.”
Gene’s comments didn’t go unheard as Dave took to Instagram over the weekend to share an image of a young boy wearing shades and flipping the camera the bird with the caption “Roth to Simmons:” Dave posted the image 18 times.
Now Simmons has clarified his original statement, telling US Weekly that his words were misconstrued.
“I am so sorry and ashamed, actually, that I hurt David’s feelings,” Gene said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I’m the guy, actually, that saw [VAN HALEN] at a club [in the 1970s], signed them to my production company, flew them to New York, produced their first 24-track 15-song demo and championed the band. And, actually, we took David out as our opening act on the [KISS ‘End Of The Road’] tour. And in the course of an interview… You hear me talking — I just sort of stream of consciousness… I don’t mean to hurt people’s feelings, and every once in a while, diarrhea of the mouth comes out.”
He continued: “I read that quote, and somehow the way they put it together… I think I said something like, ‘Nobody touched David in his prime — not Robert Plant, not Jagger, not anybody… He was the king.’ And then somehow there was a segue to Elvis bloated on the ground and fat and naked and I don’t wanna see that. I wasn’t talking about David, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is I hurt David’s feelings, and that’s more important than the intent. So I sincerely apologize for that. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings. It reminds me of the guy that gets out of a truck and says, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, buddy. I didn’t mean to run you over.’ Well, what the fuck’s the difference? You’ve been run over.”
Asked if he thinks the reason Roth felt so slighted by his comments is the fact that he respects Gene and values his opinion, Simmons responded: “I don’t know. Nah. I don’t think anybody gives two shits about what I think, and that’s the way it should be — treat everybody sort of on an equal plane. This is gonna get me in trouble too — even the Pope poops every day. You know, this kind of the humanity of it all. I’m not better than you; you’re not better than me. And feelings — that includes the Pope, who’s a good guy and everything — feelings are human. And anybody can hurt your feelings. I mean, you can be the king of anything, and a kid can come over and say, ‘Eh, you stink,’ in front of everybody else, and it can hurt your feelings.
“So, for that I’m really sorry about. I never meant to hurt his feelings. But in the way the words came out, yeah, I could see where that was the impression. Not my intention.”