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Gene Simmons confuses Jimi Hendrix for rapper

By | Published on Monday 11 April 2016


It’s funny how you become the thing you hate, isn’t it? Once upon a time rock music was an act of rebellion against older generations, gleefully making noises that oldies didn’t understand and didn’t want to exist.

Now rock is the music of the older generations, and they’re the ones doing the complaining about the new kids. Even if the new kids are now pretty old themselves and everyone’s frankly had time to get used to them.

Gene Simmons recently said in an interview with Rolling Stone that he is “looking forward to the death of rap”, which he reckons will happen within the next decade. We could look forward to a time of “music coming back to lyrics and melody, instead of just talking”.

I’m not sure what he thinks is going to kill off the massively popular and well-established artform of rapping. Though I’m sure people said similar things about his music 40 years ago. “When will they stop prancing around in those silly costumes and make-up, playing those awful songs”, people of Kiss’s parents’ generation would say. The fact that people of all ages continue to say that to the present day is beside the point in this case.

Anyway, the point is, Simmons’ position was further weakened this weekend when NWA were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. “I want to say to Mr Gene Simmons that hip hop is here forever”, said MC Ren as the group accepted the position. “We’re supposed to be here”, added Ice Cube. “‘The question is, ‘Are we rock n roll?’ And I say, you’re goddamn right we’re rock n roll”.

Arguably, NWA do indeed have far more right to the status of ‘rock n roll’ than Kiss, unless your definition of that fairly meaningless term is predicated upon an act having guitars, rather that looking at musical and social history. But, whatever, Gene Simmons isn’t the kind of guy to let someone else have the last word.

“Respectfully”, he began, disrespectfully, “let me know when Jimi Hendrix gets into the hip hop hall of fame. Then you’ll have a point”.

Which is a bit like him saying fish shouldn’t be sold as food because lettuces can’t swim.