Gene Simmons has apologized to David Lee Roth for an interview in which he was perceived as comparing the modern-day Van Halen frontman to the bloated, end-career version of Elvis Presley. The comments led to Roth taking to social media, posting 18 photos to Simmons of a child flipping the bird. Some believe Roth’s message was a subtle dig to Simmons — his fellow Jewish brother — with the number 18 symbolizing “C’hai” — which translates to “life.”
Earlier this month during a chat with Rolling Stone, Simmons was asked if David Lee Roth would or would not continue opening for Kiss on the band’s current leg. Gene Simmons said “Not. But it bears noting that during Dave’s heyday, nobody did what he did. He was the ultimate frontman. Not (Robert) Plant, not Rod Stewart, nobody. He took being a frontman way beyond anything. And then, I don’t know what happened to him. . . something. And you get modern-day Dave. I prefer to remember Elvis Presley in his prime. Sneering lips, back in Memphis, y’know, doing all that. I don’t want to think of bloated naked Elvis on the bathroom floor.”
In a new video interview with US Weekly, Gene Simmons backtracked on his statements: “In the course of an interview — you hear me talking — I just, sort of stream-of-consciousness, I don’t mean to hurt people’s feelings. I read that quote, and somehow the way they put it together. . . I think I said something like, ‘Nobody touched David in his prime, not Robert Plant, not (Mick) Jagger, anybody. . . ‘ He was the king. And then there’s was a segue to Elvis bloated on the ground and, y’know, ‘fat and naked and I don’t wanna see that.’ I wasn’t talking about David — but that doesn’t matter. What matters is I hurt David’s feelings, and that’s more important than the intent. So I sincerely apologize for that. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings.”
Kiss performs tonight (August 26) in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania at The Pavilion at Star Lake.