December 11, 2016
I begin this post with a bit of trepidation. If you're a regular here, you know I rarely dip into the political. Today looks to be a bit different - on many levels. It's a result of my utter surprise after viewing an interview granted to AXS by Gene Simmons of KISS.
I like KISS. Four guys having fun making music and spectacle. I saw them perform live circa 1978 at the old Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. It could have been 1977 or 1979, hence the use of the word circa. The exact year hardly matters now. It was a great show and I have fond memories of a having a good time with friends.
Gene Simmon's onstage persona has always baffled me, but I'm not into demons. Baffled, I said. Not bothered. It's his gig and he runs with it. Good for him. But what I never knew until this past week is the persona hides an intelligent and articulate man.
Now to the point.
The man has made some mistakes in his life. Who hasn't? What blew me away is the fact he didn't make excuses for himself. He didn't blame anyone else. He OWNED his mistakes. He unapologetically said, to condense and paraphrase, he did what he did and like all of us, he's matured and now does better. Yes, I'm impressed. Not that he needs me to be.
Then he went on to touch on his political views. I probably looked stupid sitting there in front of the television with my mouth hanging open. Of the topics he addressed, the man articulated everything I also believe. Social issues - live and let live. Fiscal issues - we need to be more accountable. Giving back - the man does it quietly and out of the spotlight with programs he himself funds and oversees.
And then he delivered impassioned words about the music industry and piracy. Artists and writers spend a lot of time creating without proper recompense. In our culture, in our digital age, people have come to believe music and prose should be free. The artists and writers suffer to the point the best talents drop out because they can't make a living doing what they do best. It's a lack of structure that has fostered an environment that is stacked against those with talent. Anyone who obtains a work without paying the creator of the work is a thief. Yes, he put the name right on them. Thieves. Gene Simmons does not mince words.
As a LEGAL immigrant to America, he spoke on his position on immigration. Everyone should hear what he has to say because he's lived it which makes him an authority on it. Gene Simmons loves America.
I don't want to paste the link to the video of the interview because I don't want YouTube popping it up here on my blog, but go to YouTube and search "AXS Gene Simmons." The entire interview is about forty-five minutes because they've clipped out the commercials. I found it because I wanted to see the interview a second time. I may have to watch it a third time.
A question often asked, in a philosophical vein, is if you could pick anyone in the world to have dinner with, who would you choose? I never had a satisfying answer for that one. Now I do. Gene Simmons.
Who the hell knew...