Gene Simmons has apologized to David Lee Roth.
“I am so sorry and ashamed, actually, that I hurt David’s feelings,” Simmons told US Weekly.
The apology (in the video above) comes after Simmons made some unflattering comments about Roth during a Rolling Stone interview posted last week. Roth had performed as the opening act for KISS’s “End Of The Road” tour prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. When KISS resumed the tour, however, Roth was no longer the supporting act. Simmons confirmed Roth would not be returning to the tour. But he didn’t stop there.
“[Roth] 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, you know, doing all that. I don’t want to think of bloated naked Elvis on the bathroom floor.”
Shortly afterward, Roth delivered a short, sweet and very direct message to Simmons via social media. He posted an image of a young boy wearing shades and extending the middle finger. It included the words “Roth to Simmons:”
Then KISS frontman Paul Stanley went out of his way to praise Roth, then and now.
Simmons used his interview with US Weekly as an opportunity to make amends with Roth and clarify his original statement.
“I’m the guy, actually, that saw [Van Halen] at a club [in the 1970s], signed them to my production company, flew them to New York, produced their first 24-track 15-song demo and championed the band,” said Simmons. “And, actually, we took David out as our opening act on the [KISS ‘End Of The Road’] tour. And 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, and every once in a while, diarrhea of the mouth comes out.”
He continued: “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 Jagger, not anybody… He was the king.’ And then somehow there was a segue to Elvis bloated on the ground and 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. It reminds me of the guy that gets out of a truck and says, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, buddy. I didn’t mean to run you over.’ Well, what the fuck’s the difference? You’ve been run over…I never meant to hurt his feelings. But in the way the words came out, yeah, I could see where that was the impression. Not my intention.”
Just in! The coveted Van Halen special issue by LIFE is now available at Van Halen Store! Details & a sneak peek here.