When you get to be Gene Simmons’ age — and have his wealth — telling it like you see it just comes with the territory. Not necessarily everyone agrees with Gene, but his opinion spews do make for some chuckles.
Like when Gene said that depressed people should just kill themselves.
Simmons was asked if he was still friends with former Kiss members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, both of whom have had addiction demons to fight in the past.
“No, I don’t get along with anybody who’s a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: ‘The world is a harsh place.’ My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear fuck all about ‘the world as a harsh place.’ She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, ‘I’m depressed, I live in Seattle.’ Fuck you, then kill yourself.”
“I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says ‘Jump!’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, ‘That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump.’ Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the fuck up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd."
Simmons later apologized for his remarks. But even Ace Frehley, whom he had described as having “a dark cloud over [his] head” called him out on that rant.
Then came the time Gene made the grandiose announcement that “rock [music] is finally dead”. Simmons blamed file-sharing and “downloading” for the murder of rock.
In Gene’s world, you have to fight for things. You have to scrap and prove you deserve it, go out and take it, pay dues. And it is understandable that Gene would believe this. He built what he has. At a young age, he came to America with his mother from Israel. She spoke no English.
Gene started small business ventures as a youth, got training as a typist, saved money like a pro, and started a band that became hugely successful. He played it smart, licensing thousands of products and running the band like a business. His work has paid off.
And Gene doesn’t like to see anyone else complain, get something for nothing, or be coddled on their way to the top.
So when Gene Simmons got the chance to start his own music competition show, called Coliseum, he vowed it would be different from all the other shows out there of that ilk.
“Coliseum is a no-holds-barred competition show between musical gladiators in the arena fighting to survive, fighting to be the champion, fighting to curry the favor of Rock Caesar,” Simmons said in a statement. That “Rock Caesar” would, of course, be Simmons, giving the thumbs up or thumbs down to acts on the show.
“TV shows are fantasy because they’re selling soap suds, Simmons told Hollywood Reporter. "It’s family entertainment, it’s primetime, the kids are there, and they don’t want to get too realistic.”
Simmons feels that some of the contestants that parade through other music competition shows are just not up to par.
"You can't sugarcoat shit, pardon me. You can mentor anyone you like, but it’s a waste of time if they don’t have the goods intrinsically.”
Gene’s band Kiss is known for theatricality, pyrotechnics, and putting on what was recognized as the best rock show in the business for years. He thinks people who want to win on his show need to focus on the whole package.
”Your qualification for being on this show is you can sing in the shower? Is that it, without paying any dues or writing songs or any stagecraft? … We want to create superstars, not just singers that get record deals.”
Gene promises it will be far tougher to get the brass ring on Coliseum.
"We want to open the trapdoors of life and get tough. There will be heartbreak, and people are going to cry and their dreams will be shattered, just like in real life.”
No network is yet attached to Coliseum. Simmons is currently shopping the show around.