KISS’s Gene Simmons caused some backlash recently for telling an interviewer that depressed people should just kill themselves. Though published before Robin Williams apparently did just that, the superstar comedian’s death raised sensitivity levels surrounding Simmons’ comments. Legendary Punk singer Henry Rollins put himself in similar hot water for comments made directly about Williams in his column for L.A. Weekly. Rollins wrote about how he had no respect for people who choose to kill themselves. The musician/writer/TV host was inundated with angry letters from those who have suffered or currently suffer from serious depression (or know people who do/did). Unlike Simmons’ “sorry if you misunderstood” apology, Rollins’ was dripping with sincerity; he admitted he deserved the blowback (and wrote a thoughtful follow-up column). While both apologies suspiciously came just as each musician had cable TV shows premiering, Rollins’ didn’t come off like an eye-rolling 5-year-old forced by Mommy to apologize to the kid he just pushed down the slide.
Prog Rock-turned-Pop band Genesis had all but convinced fans that a reunion tour (perhaps even with early years singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett, who’d reunited with the other members recently for a documentary) was coming soon. The band’s Facebook page promised “exciting news” and unveiled what appeared to be a new logo, only to later reveal … a 37-track career retrospective album featuring Genesis songs and side/solo project selections titled R-Kive. The material is all previously released, meaning — especially in this age of downloads and streaming — they might as well release the collection on 8-track.
The No Fucking (Way) League
The “pay-for-play” scam of musicians — where artists play shows for “exposure” instead of money — is usually the domain of seedy promoters preying on aspiring artists. But now it appears organizers of one of the most coveted slots in music are considering charging superstar acts to perform. According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL want Katy Perry, Rihanna or Coldplay to perform at next year’s Super Bowl — and they want them to pay for the honor. The league already doesn’t pay half-time performers (though it reportedly covers travel and production costs) and now it’ll allegedly ask artists to give the NFL a portion of post-Super Bowl-bump tour earnings (or some other form of kickback). Considering the chilly response from musicians’ reps, the NFL might just have to go back to college marching bands or Up with People if it follows through.