Kiss frontman Gene Simmons is at the center of controversy yet again for his frank, and what some might deem inflammatory comments about Prince’s unexpected death. The 66-year-old spoke with Newsweek to say David Bowie’s death in January was “tragic” but Prince’s death was “pathetic”
“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” Simmons said. “All the other ones were a choice. [Prince] his drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”
The late music icon was discovered in an elevator in his Paisely Park compound April 21. Since his death, rumors swirled he suffered from an opioid addiction for which he was seeking treatment for.
While Simmons said Prince “was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them” he still thinks his death was shameful.
“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.”
Simmons, who said he’s never been drunk or high in his life recounted the time he took Diana Ross to see a young Prince when he first started out and couldn’t wrap his mind around how someone so talented could be so humble.
“I took Diana Ross to see him when he was first starting out. 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 five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn’t take a compliment: ‘Thank you, thank you.’ He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn’t look Diana Ross in the face—he kept his eyes to the ground.”
This isn’t the first time Simmons’ comments have raised a few eyebrows. The frontman said rap music will be dead in 10 years and recently vocalized his disappointment with NWA being inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame.