Music pirates have made a powerfully bitter enemy of Gene Simmons, bass guitarist for the 1970s band Kiss.
In a recent interview with Billboard, Simmons curmudgeonly blames "college kids" for the "mess" the record industry is in, and blasted artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor for seeking a different businesses model to vend their music.
"The record industry doesn't have a f---ing clue how to make money," Simmons told Billboard.
"Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning."
[Ah, the lucrative college kid housing market. Excellent point, tongue man. - Ed.]
The dream of suing a person completely off the face of the earth has yet to be realized. The RIAA has thus far only been successful in being awarded damages from an individual equal to 2 per cent of the gross national product of South Pacific island of Tokelau.
"I open a store and say 'Come on in and pay whatever you want.' Are you on f---ing crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?"
Simmons said that he doesn't plan on making a new KISS album because he doesn't know how he'll get paid for it if people can just get it for free.
Still, Simmons continues that the most important part of the business is the music.
"Without that, why would you care?"
Simmons is currently filming the third season of his A&E reality show "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," working on an animated show on kids' network Nickelodeon called "My Dad the Rock Star," and writing his third book, "Ladies of the Night," an expose on prostitution. He's also developing his own publishing company which will open this spring and owns Simmons Comics, which makes three comic series based on characters he created.
So, you know, he's really hurting for cash.
"No one — and that includes the Beatles and Elvis — can touch our merchandising and licensing. Nobody. Outside of the music world, it's only Disney and Lucas. But in the music world, they can't shine our shoes." ®