I like Gene Simmons. His music isn't necessarily my go to music but I do like his brand. He is a very savvy intelligent guy. He happens to be in my uncle's favorite band. I am familiar with his work and I have even bought some of his merchandise as Christmas presents. That being said, I am woefully dumbfounded by some comments that he made on July 31 during an interview with Songfacts that are just coming to the surface. To be fair, this was a rather long and interesting interview and this is only a small blurb of many topics he discussed but here is the quote that has recently put him in hot water.
When asked if he still gets along with the original guys he answered the following:
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.
By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, "I'm going to blow your fuckin' head off!" He'll go, "Please don't!" It's true. He's not that insane.
You can read the article and interview yourself in it's entirety here:
When he received the negative attention he did apologize stating :
"To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression, I was wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. I simply want to be clear that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression and I deeply regret any offhand remarks in the heat of an interview that might have suggested otherwise."
Now, I am happy he apologized but nowhere in that statement does he explain why his comments were wrong, leaving me to believe that maybe he doesn't understand why what he said was both damaging and completely insensitive. For me to accept his apology he would have to not only have educated himself on depression but also make an effort to educate everyone else that he made that comment to, on it as well. His apology to me speaks of backtracking and reeks of an ass covering fluff piece all people backpedal into when they say something inappropriate but have no idea why it is in fact, inappropriate. I would like to enlighten him and people that think this way about depression and other mental illnesses so bear with me and hold onto your hats girl's it isn't going to be pretty.
Mr. Simmons, I agree with you about your mother who suffered through a horrific event. The holocaust was absolutely horrible. I am not even sure there is a word to describe the horrors of that period of time. The crimes committed against innocent people were tragic and horrendous. I stand by that statement completely. Your mother must be a wonderful, courageous, and strong person to have lived through such, and I totally see where you are coming from at this point of your statement. However, your main issue is comparing your mother's traumatic life in the concentration camp to other people's traumatic life events and you can't effectively do that. All pain is pain and there is no comparison. Who are you to act as if this mythical twenty year old from Seattle hasn't gone through enough pain to be suicidal? Are you the pain police? Do you know his life personally? Maybe he was abused. Maybe he was molested as a child. Maybe he has no other family. Maybe he suffers from other mental illnesses. Maybe the horrors of his life are so profound to him that he doesn't know how to deal with them any other way than to beg for help as loudly as he can. Sure, he looks like a regular twenty year old from Seattle but then again, we all appear normal on the outside. The holocaust was caused by evil people, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains. There is no one to punish or hold accountable for the horrors of depression. So we end up not only feeling hopeless but also blaming ourselves for having depression in the first place.
I would like you to think about how much pain it takes to make someone to not want to live anymore. I would further like you to think about the fact that addicts, which you so despise, usually become addicts to suppress such agonizing things such as mental illnesses, physical pain, abuse issues, and feelings of self degradation and worthlessness. No one wakes up one morning and says," Today I want to become a drug addict." That life is neither fun nor noble. No one purposely chooses to end up with a needle in their arm in some dark scum covered alley smelling of urine and unwashed body odor.
As to the comment about holding the gun next to a suicidal person's head, let me be real with you for a minute. My great uncle decided to end his life by blowing his brains out all over the ceiling. Do you really think that if you had popped up beside him right before he pulled the trigger and put a pistol to his head he would have begged for his life? In what world does that make any fucking sense? And sadly, my great uncle wasn't loudly protesting what he was going through, although we all wish he had been. Maybe we could have saved him or gotten him help if we had known this was where he was at mentally. Or at the very least we would know why he felt killing himself was the only way out, we still don't know why and because he is not here to tell us that, we never will.
Or since you are obviously so knowledgeable about suicide and other people's pain maybe you could have been there to tell him simply to cheer up. Maybe your pep talk with a gun would have made him change his mind and my great grandparents could have ended up walking in and seeing him sitting there reading a newspaper and smoking a pipe rather than opening up the door and stepping in his brain matter....what do you think? Possible???
Or you could have also applied this logic to my mother the second before she swallowed a bottle of prescription pills when she was 31. You could tell her that just because she was raped from the age of seven to the age of eighteen by her father who was the community preacher, that her pain isn't as bad as your mother's so she should just quit her bitching. It doesn't matter that she suffers from Depression, Bipolar, and PTSD. Since you know all about pain and suicide and who has the right to be miserable or not, you could save us all from ourselves and our own "pity parties" before it is too late. We want you to stop us before we become too victim like for your taste, because your opinion seems to be the only one that matters.
You see Mr.Simmons, suicide isn't about attention grabbing, or pity, or unfounded misguided jealousy. It isn't about what you have or don't have, or what horrid God awful things have happened in your life, or if you were born into a perfectly wonderful family with no issues. Suicide is the final act of immense desperation. An act to simply end unbearable agony and hopelessness. As you said," He'll go, "Please don't!" It's true. He's not that insane." you have made a great misjudgment. At that exact moment in time when he/she is ready to step over that threshold and commit suicide, they are just that insane and make no mistake, they are victims. Victims of a disease that kills more people than AIDS, car accidents, homicides, or prostate cancer. But hey, what do I know? Maybe after losing one family member to suicide and almost losing my own mother to it, I am just a tad bit sensitive on the matter. Well, then I am just so very sorry to have to put a damper on your ignorant way of thinking.
Apparently, Mr. Simmons has never had to live with depression or known anyone in his circle of loved ones that has suffered from it. Apparently, he has never had to deal with the ragged, open, gaping wound left behind from a loved one's suicide. Well, good for him, I wish that we could all be so lucky. I wish that none of the 30,000 American families each year never had to know what it is like finding your loved one dead on the floor in a pile of empty pill bottles, or bleeding from the wrists, or after shooting themselves in the face, or after suffocating themselves with car exhaust, or see their broken bodies after jumping from a building, or God forbid finding them hanging from a belt wedged between the closet door and the door frame......
We are all victims of this disease whether we suffer from it or not Mr. Simmons and I think it would be more wise to understand that.