Over the course of reading about music, you may come across a curious thing called a “rockist.” What’s a rockist, you ask? Luckily, Gene Simmons of Kiss is here to provide a textbook example.
Earlier this week at a press conference hyping Kiss‘ upcoming tour with Mötley Crüe (do not adjust the date on your computer screen!), Simmons had this to say about Rihanna and pop music in general:
We’re sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them. No fake bulls–t. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an A.
Next, amateur porn star Tommy Lee jumped in with this:
No disrespect to Rihanna, she’s a great singer, but we’re in a slump for some s–t that has some personality and appeal beyond a bunch of pop stuff that’s floating around out there. I’m glad he said that actually because I don’t think I can bear watching another f–king award show that is just a little bit better than American Idol. It’s f–king pathetic to watch people go out and f–king karaoke with a bunch of lights and video.
Okay, first of all, he absolutely disrespected Rihanna. “No disrespect, but” does not cancel out the second half of his statement, which is essentially “I THINK YOU SUCK.”
Gene Simmons is also one to take about “realness” and gimmickry when he needs to dress up like this in order to get attention:
Then there’s the ridiculousness of his underlying assumption that music made using electronic instruments is inherently shittier than music made on the traditional “rock” instruments of bass, drums, and guitar. I’m not the world’s biggest Rihanna fan, but if you’re going to go after someone as an artist, “your music has the following flaws which I will now describe in concrete detail” is a much better way to do it than going after a person’s gender (and this is absolutely a gendered attack) and choice of medium. Would you talk shit on Bach‘s “The Well-Tempered Clavier” because it was written for piano? No? Than why talk shit on Rihanna for using synthesizers?
It’s great that Gene Simmons loves rock and roll. I love rock and roll too, but I also recognize that it’s possible to make great music using all different kinds of instruments and not just the ones popularized by The Beatles. To love rock and roll is one thing; to put down entire genres just speaks of someone’s mental inflexibility and inability to evolve.
Then again, perhaps he saw Katy Perry employing the time-honored “trash talk someone more famous than you” attention-getting technique earlier this week, and thought it might work for him. Newsflash: it won’t.