Gene Simmons Blasts Prince’s ‘Pathetic’ Death, but Thinks He Left Michael Jackson ‘In the Dust'

Gene Simmons Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Attacking Prince, Michael Jackson, J. Lo and Beyoncé in one conversation. Gene Simmons gave his controversial opinions on the tragic deaths of great music icons, modern pop stars, Donald Trump’s presidential run and more in a new interview with Newsweek.

The Kiss frontman, 66, who claims he has never in his life been drunk or high, slammed musicians who die from drug or alcohol overdoses. “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 said. "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.”

Prince died on April 21 at the age of 57. His cause of death has yet to be officially determined, but officials are investigating a possible overdose on painkillers.

While Simmons branded Prince’s death as “pathetic,” the rocker called David Bowie's death “tragic.” The “Life on Mars?” singer succumbed to a long battle with cancer on January 10 at age 69. “Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” the former reality TV personality told Newsweek. “All the other ones were a choice.”

“Your legacy becomes even bigger, you become more iconic, if you die before your time — Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and all that. They capture the youth,” the outspoken rock star continued. “But I’m not willing to do that — sorry. I really enjoy getting up every day.”

The “Rock and Roll All Nite” singer also lamented the death of rock ’n’ roll and explained his main problem with today’s most popular artists. “J. Lo, Beyoncé and all that stuff, when there’s 50 percent or more of backing track, it’s dishonest. … At least have the honesty to respect your fans: ‘You’re buying a $150 ticket, at least 50 percent of the music you’re going to hear is not live.’ Say it. At least then you’ll have the integrity,” he said. The one person he did compliment: Lady Gaga. “She actually has the pipes and musical ability to rock out. She could be a modern Janis Joplin. … She could do what Madonna, Britney and Rihanna can’t.”

The former Celebrity Apprentice contestant, who has previously been very candid about his political views, also offered his opinion on Donald Trump’s presidential run. “The Donald Trump that was on The Apprentice is the same one you see in front of everybody. He doesn’t read cue cards, nobody writes his speeches for him. … if you see the animal and see the stripes on the animal, it’s a true description of the animal. … I think more business people are needed in government. The better off they are, the less you can buy them off,” Simmons concluded. 

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