Bob Lefsetz is an American blogger who writes about the music industry. His posts can be fascinating and I recommend that you check him out.
Last night I was travelling home on the bus when something made me check his latest post. Twenty minutes later I was still glued to my Blackberry, face inches from the tiny screen, trying not to crash into trees or get mugged as I walked home through the park. I couldn't stop laughing.
Gene Simmons, him of long tongue, pyrotechnics and Kiss fame had seen Bob's latest post and responded with the arrogance, flair and withering disdain that you'd expect from a bonafide Rock God (although, thinking about it, shouldn't Rock Gods be busy snorting cocaine off strippers' tits in private jet hot tubs, rather than squabbling with bloggers online?). Anyway, Bob duly ran the email from Gene on his site. And if you want a great read, I suggest you take a look at it, after the jump. It's hilarious.
Here's the transcript in the mean time - Gene is WRITING IN CAPITALS. Rock Gods tend to do that. I'd be interested to know whose side (if anyone's) you take. Post comments below!
From: Gene Simmons
Subject: Re: Gene Simmons
Date: March 12, 2009 3:25:07 PM EDT (CA)
To: Telma Costa
Cc: Bob Lefsetz
I'm cc-ing whoever this Lefsetz guy is.
Post on cover of SIMMONS RECORDS.COM.
And, if you can find a foto of this bozo, put it up there as well.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Bob Lefsetz
BEFORE WE START THIS REVIEW OF MY KEYNOTE SPEECH AT CMS FROM A GUY WHO'S BLOG WAS FORWARDED TO ME [Gene Simmons], I'M GOING TO TAKE THE LIBERTY OF TELLING EVERYONE I'M GOING TO COMMENT AS WE GO ALONG.
FIRST, THE NAME LEFSETZ. I WOULD TELL HIM TO HIS FACE. THAT NAME'S GOTTA GO. IT BLOWS. IF THIS GUY WAS IN A BAND AND WANTED TO SIGN WITH US, HE'D HAVE TO CHANGE HIS NAME. OR, SIGN WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
OTHERWISE, HAVE NO CLUE WHO THIS FELLOW IS OR WHAT HE DOES.
"Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and you stumble upon a member of the opposite sex. You're thrilled! You're gonna have someone to talk to, you're gonna make love until the Coast Guard finally figures out your ship sank and rescues you.
And this person may not be a beauty queen, but hey, he or she is all right. At least that's what you think at first. Maybe you even have sex and forget your plight for a moment or two. But then, even though you're exhausted, your partner just won't give up. Insists on having sex every hour, being coddled, all the while telling you how fucking hot they are. It would almost be enough to get you to jump back into the water and swim to your death.
That's what listening to Gene Simmons is like."
"He's not a dumb dude."
"But it's a full time commercial."
"And why? Doesn't he have enough money?"
WELL, RESPECTFULLY, IT'S NOT UP TO THIS AMATEUR TO DETERMINE IF I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. I'LL LET HIM KNOW IF AND WHEN I DO. UNTIL THAT TIME, IT'S BEST TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OWN MONEY.
"Isn't this like an ex-President buying time on television to give us his opinion on the budget? Running for an office he can't be elected to? Hey Gene, you were a star once, can you let it go? Can you stop trying to convince us that not only is your music great, but that KISS is the biggest act in the world?"
"I mean if we really want to get down to it, don't we have to give credit to Bob Ezrin?"
"The producer of "Destroyer", containing the KISS klassics "Detroit Rock City", "Shout It Out Loud" and the band's biggest hit, "Beth"? Not only did Ezrin produce those tracks, HE CO-WROTE THEM! I'm thinking without Ezrin, KISS is a footnote."
OH, I FORGOT TO MENTION, KISS STARTS THE SOUTH AMERICAN LEG OF THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR AT BUENOS AIRES STADIUM - 90,000 PEOPLE. LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT A TICKET.
"Ezrin went on to further greatness, producing one of the biggest albums of all time, Pink Floyd's "The Wall", as well as the critically lauded debut of Peter Gabriel. KISS? They took the makeup off and put it back on, reunited with the original members, kicked them out again and kept dunning us with endless product promotions."
ALL OF THIS IS TRUE. AND YOUR POINT IS..."?
"And that's what this "keynote" address at CMW was. A product promotion, for the latest iteration of Simmons Records."
I HAVE A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA AND I HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN SIMMONS RECORDS. TO DO OTHERWISE AT CMW, WOULD BE STUPID. I KNOW HE'S NOT INFERRING I'M STUPID. QUITE THE CONTRARY.
"Just because you're a big musical act, that doesn't mean you're a decent executive, that you can run a record company."
SAYS WHO. YOU? AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MAKE THESE ASSESSMENTS. WHAT'S YOUR QUALIFICATION, IN FACT, FOR SAYING ANYTHING...
"That's like saying a great football coach has to have been a star quarterback. They're different skills. One that Mr. Simmons has yet to master. Sure, he made that demo tape with Van Halen, but the band ended up on WARNER BROTHERS!"
THIS MORON DOESN'T KNOW DETAILS AND BEHAVES AS IF HE DOES. FACT ONE: AFTER SEEING THE BAND AT THE STARWOOD CLUB IN LA IN 1977, I SIGNED VAN HALEN TO MY PRODUCTION COMPANY, "MAN OF 1,000 FACES" AND PRODUCED THEIR 24 TRACK DEMO, 15 SONG DEMO AT ELECTRIC LADY STUDIOS. KISS WAS GOING OUT ON TOUR, AND I DIDN'T WANT TO KEEP VAN HALEN TIED UP, SO I LET THEM SHOP THEIR OWN DEAL, WITHOUT INSISTING I KEEP A SLICE.
WHAT HIS POINT ABOUT ALL THIS, IS BEYOND ME.
"Truly, it was relentless. Gene with that bizarre hairdo sponsored by Brillo"
NOW, NOW...NO NEED TO BE JEALOUS, BABY.
JUST BECAUSE I REMEMBER YOUR MOMMY BACKSTAGE AND THEN AT THE HOTEL IS NO REASON TO BE ENVIOUS OF MY GOOD LOOKS.
"maintaining that 360 deals are good for artists and that Canada can be the new Ireland."
CORRECT. I "DO" BELIEVE CANADA POSSESSES ALL THAT.
"U2 came from Ireland, what does that country possess that Canada does not? Isn't that like saying Mutt Lange came from Rhodesia, therefore Lithuania should be able to produce the best record producer on the planet?"
NO. NOT REALLY. AND, I'M NOT SURE ANYONE READING THIS HAS A CLUE WHAT THE RHODESIA/LITHUANIA THING MEANS.
"Really, it didn't have to be 2009, it could have been 1009. With a huckster up on stage, trying to convince us to buy from him".
NOPE. NEVER SAID YOU SHOULD BUY FROM ME. DON'T LIE, HONEY.
"Sure, there's salesmanship involved in becoming a successful musical act, but that's not ninety percent of the equation."
SAYS WHO, BITCH. YOU? AND, WHAT'S THE NAME OF YOUR BAND. AND WHAT'S YOUR QUALIFICATION FOR SAYING OR DOING ANYTHING?
"But with KISS, it is! The music is just the vehicle to make money. I don't excoriate this, I just don't REVERE IT!"
NO PROBLEM. GO FIND ANOTHER BAND.
"Gene showed a five minute promotional film that was such an assault, the guy in front of me put his hands over his ears."
I THINK YOU MISUNDERSTOOD. THAT WAS YOUR GIRLFRIEND. AND YOU WERE TALKING TOO LOUD. SHE WANTED TO SEE AND HEAR GENE SIMMONS. NOT YOU.
"Didn't Pete Townshend sing "A Little Is Enough"? Obviously, Gene's never heard that track, otherwise he would stop telling us how great he is and let us come to our own conclusion."
NO. I WON'T STOP TELLING YOU HOW GREAT I AM. FIND SOMEONE ELSE FOR THAT.
"It was sad."
NO, IT WASN'T. EVERYONE HAD A GREAT TIME AND EVERYONE ENJOYED THEMSELVES.
"Although Gene paid lip service to the Internet, it was like he wanted to jet back to the seventies, when the label was king, when record companies were flush with cash that they'd blow on a bunch of new acts."
THAT'S TRUE. I WANT RECORD COMPANIES TO BECOME POWERFUL AND FLUSH WITH MONEY AGAIN. I WANT BANDS TO REALIZE THAT ANY ENTITY THAT GIVES THEM MONEY (ADVANCES) AND NEVER FORCES THEM TO PAY THE RECORD COMPANY BACK, WHEN AND IF THEIR RECORD BOMBS (AND THEY ALMOST ALWAYS DO), IS THEIR BEST FRIEND. I KNOW OF NO OTHER BUSINESS THAT GIVES YOU MONEY AND NEVER ASKS FOR IT BACK. EVEN YOUR MOM WILL WANT YOU TO PAY BACK HER LOAN.
"Those days are through. Shit, imagine trying to get money from Simmons' company. That'd be like sucking quarters from a parking meter. Gene's notorious for not parting with his own money. Shit, I'm stunned he doesn't require new acts to pay HIM to be signed!"
THIS IS A SMALL PERSON, WHO'S NEVER DONE ANYTHING, NEVER BEEN IN A BAND AND DOESN'T KNOW HOW THE RECORD INDUSTRY WORKS. HE DOESN'T KNOW ME AND I DON'T KNOW HIM. AND HE WOULDN'T KNOW, IN EITHER CASE IF I "DO" OR "DON'T" PART WITH MY MONEY. AND IN ANY CASE, IT WOULDN'T BE HIS BUSINESS, OR MY GARBAGE COLLECTOR'S.
"I only went because the last couple of times Gene's spoken he has said some truly heinous things, blasting the audience, that he told us today to respect, for stealing his music. I figured he'd come out with a few clunkers that would crack you up.
But all I got was a damn advertisement."
I AM ADVERTISING SIMMONS RECORDS. THAT'S WHY I'M UP HERE TALKING ABOUT IT. THIS GUY IS A GENIUS.
AND I STILL CONSIDER FREE DOWNLOADS AND FILE SHARING STEALING. AND I WANT YOU TO PAY FOR MUSIC...AND FOR ANYTHING. IF A BAND WANTS TO GIVE AWAY THEIR STUFF FOR FREE...I HAVE NO PROBLEM. MY ONLY QUESTION IS, HOW DOES THE RECORD COMPANY, WHICH PAID GOOD MONEY UP FRONT, GET ITS MONEY BACK, IF THE MUSIC IS FREE"?
"I know Gene loves that I'm writing this."
SURE. I LOVE ANYONE WHO TALKS ABOUT ME.
"Almost to the point where I considered not writing about his speech at all. But I've got to. Because in order for music to ascend to its rightful position at the top of popular culture's leader board,"
(I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS LEADER OF POPULAR CULTURE TO TELL ME HOW TO POSITION THINGS).
"it's got to be more about its intrinsic value than the sell."
YES, AND NO. IT "SHOULD" BE ABOUT MUSIC, BUT IT'S ALSO GOT TO BE ABOUT BUSINESS. IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, IT WAS NEVER JUST CALLED "MUSIC." IT WAS, AND STILL IS CALLED THE "MUSIC BUSINESS."
"It's got to be more about music than showmanship. It's got to be more about creativity than expediency."
NO. HES GOT IT ALMOST RIGHT. IT'S GOT TO BE ABOUT BOTH.
"KISS had a gimmick. It's served the band well. A gimmick can get you noticed, but soon thereafter it becomes about the music. KISS took off its makeup and few cared."
HE'S RIGHT. ABOUT 10 MILLION.
"The Beatles gave up their suits, messed with their hair, even gave up playing live and the band got bigger and bigger."
I LOVE THE ANALOGY. KISS AND THE BEATLES. THANKS.
"The problem is, Gene Simmons thinks there's a handbook."
YES. MY HANDBOOK.
"Listening to him is like watching a bad version of "Glengarry Glen Ross"."
NO. NOT REALLY. I DIDN'T LIKE THAT FILM MUCH. I'M MUCH MORE FASCINATED BY ME.
"It's like going to a training session for Kirby vacuum salesmen. It's always interesting to hear how another person made it, but if you want to be successful in the future, you're better off ignoring everything Gene Simmons has to say."
THIS STATEMENT MADE BY A GUY WHO'S STILL LIVING IN HIS MOTHER'S BASEMENT.
"Unless, of course, you love money more than music."
ACTUALLY, I LOVE BOTH MONEY AND MUSIC.
"But since you're reading this, I doubt that..."
GOOD LUCK TO THIS GUY.
WE LOVE HEARING THE GOOD AND THE BAD.
AND WE HOPE YOU GET OUT OF MOM'S BASEMENT SOON.