• Axl Rosenberg


When I was a teenager, if my father ever insulted me (and when he did, it was usually because I was being a little asshole and totally had it coming), he would immediately thereafter look at his watch. He was timing me to see how fast I could come up with a witty retort. That probably sounds fucked up, but I’m actually really glad my dad did that – it’s definitely one of the reasons I grew up to be such a prick, but, without tooting my own horn, I am very good at being a prick (you’re reading this website, after all) in no small part because of my old man’s insistence that I learn to properly defend myself in a verbal battle.

If only young Chaim Witz’s father had been as determined as Poppa Rosenberg to whip his son into mental shape. ‘Cause grown-up Witz (that’s “Gene Simmons” to you) is like the fat bully in the school yard – he’s way too dumb to trade barbs at an adult level, so he just says something sophmoric and unfunny and tries to claim said comment as a victory.

For example, look at this video of Simmons “debating” with music-biz guru Bob Lefsetz. Lefsetz criticized Simmons’ understanding of the way the music industry works today, and all Simmons can come up with by way of retort is to make fun of Lefsetz’s name. Forget, for a second, that’s not entertaining; it’s not even on-subject. It’s like watching Chris Farley tell David Spade “You’re a thick… candy…” in Tommy Boy. I mean, I almost feel bad for Simmons.

And now Simmons is losing a verbal war in the press with Trent Reznor, for the same reason: he just cannot hold his own in a debate.

What happened is this: a little while back, Reznor did what Reznor does, which is talk shit in the press, but still seem incredibly cool because, frankly, he’s right. He called Simmons “an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids, like a clown going to work” and said one of the reasons he’s putting an end to Nine Inch Nails as a live act is because “in my paranoia, I fear that if I don’t stop this, it could become that.”

So how did Simmons reply?

“No worries. Trent grew up on KISS and cut his teeth on our toons. When he was recording ‘Downward Spiral’, he had two action figures on his mix console — Jesus and Gene Simmons.

“Once you’re a self confessed heroin addict, who used the stuff for years, you don’t look at life the way the rest of us do… I’m told.

“We all wish him well.”

Theoretically, Simmons is just as correct as Reznor – Reznor did once idolize Simmons, and Reznor was a heroin addict.

Okay. But Reznor is saying that Simmons is an old sell-out, and he’s clean now, and his heroin addiction has nothing to do with anything. Seriously. It would be like telling someone they’re wrong about something specifically because they’re a cancer survivor. It’s mean-spirited, sure, but neither intelligent nor funny. And so the conversation basically devolved  into this:

Reznor: You’ve really let me down, Gene. I mean, you’re just a shadow of your former self.

Simmons: Yeah, well you’re a stupid head! Ppppffffftttt!

So, in short: Reznor 1, Simmons 0.

Looking forward to the next round…


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