In an interview with Newsweek, the 66-year-old rocker was asked about his opinions regarding the death of two music icons this year: David Bowie and Prince.
“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” said Simmons about the rock icon who passed away on Jan. 10, 2016. “All the other ones were a choice.”
Simmons then elaborated on Prince’s death this past April and why he felt the late guitarist killed himself, albeit slowly.
“His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?” Simmons tells Newsweek. “I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them. I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that.”
“But how pathetic that he killed himself,” he continues. “Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did. Slowly, I’ll grant you… but that’s what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death.”
For the record, Prince’s body was found with prescription painkillers in his possession. However, the late musician’s longtime lawyer has denied that he was “drugged up.” Plus, the medical examiner’s report hasn’t been finalized yet.
Now Simmons does compliment Prince during the course of the interview as recalled watching the Purple One live in concert when he was dating Diana Ross.
“I took Diana [Ross] to see him when he was first starting out. He was playing a club and we’d never seen anything like that,” he said. “Backstage when we came up to say ‘you were great,’ we were expecting this huge personality and he was a very small, slight human being. He might have been five-foot-four, very shy, with his eyes to the ground, very self-effacing. He just couldn’t take a compliment: ‘Thank you, thank you.’ He spoke in a whisper. It was shocking actually. He couldn’t look Diana Ross in the face – he kept his eyes to the ground.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Simmons defends his position that rap will died out soon just like rock and doo wop did. Although Simmons and Ice Cube have feuded on Twitter over N.W.A’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the aging rocker respects the hip-hop vet’s opinion.
“N.W.A is a legendary hip-hop act, perhaps the preeminent one—but it ain’t rock,” he states. “The day N.W.A. goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I want Kiss in the hip-hop hall of fame.”
Ice Cube, we hung out a little and took some photos,” he added. “We’ve gone back-and-forth on the Internet, but I respect him.”
Read the rest of Gene Simmons’ interview at Newsweek.com.
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