FAIL: Gene Simmons, Steve Albini, INXS, Danzig (Not)

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Photo illustrations by John Seaborn Gray
Gene Simmons Is Donald Trump In Makeup: Fails has never been a big KISS fan, but we can't imagine watching Gene Simmons' behavior makes being one any easier. If you're a die-hard KISS fan, watching his douchey whoring and cutthroat CEO tactics must be difficult, as is knowing that KISS was not a spontaneous creation by passionate musicians but a calculated, meticulously crafted construction specifically designed to appeal to a certain demographic.

No wonder KISS' music is so loved by middle-aged lawyers and insurance salesmen; it was designed by someone who thinks like them. (Well, some of the songs Ace and Paul wrote were pretty good.) Yep, turns out they're more of a spiritual predecessor to Lady Gaga than anything else, minus the self-parody.

Gene thinks the record labels should be spending themselves into oblivion relentlessly chasing after illegal file-sharers and other music pirates, despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that a) file sharers tend to spend more on music than those who don't partake in peer-to-peer file sharing; and b) suing those folks has proven ridiculously costly, with the record industry throwing millions of dollars into numerous lawsuits only to reap mere thousands by doing so.

Gene, you're supposed to be a businessman, right? So look at it like a businessman, not as if you're some kind of burglary victim lamenting "They took my stuff, hurt them, HURT THEM!" You beat online pirates by subverting them (think Radiohead and Hulu), not by wasting money fighting them.

It's obvious Gene Simmons fancies himself some kind of alpha-male business tycoon like Donald Trump. Well, Gene, try to remember that Donald Trump tends to go bankrupt something like three times a year. Maybe slightly fewer, we don't have the stats right here in front of us.

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Steve Albini, Rock's Favorite Curmudgeon, Blasts Sonic Youth: In an interview with GQ magazine, famed musician and producer Steve Albini groused about the fact that Sonic Youth signed to a major label 20 years ago and used their exposure to help give Nirvana a leg up. So, in essence, Sonic Youth were dicks for helping out their friends.

Kurt Cobain wanted to be a rock star, yes he did. It's obvious from his earlier interviews. The problem was that he almost certainly wanted more underground fame like his heroes Devo, the Pixies and Sonic Youth. He never wanted to be labeled as Generation X's Christ figure. But that's not Sonic Youth's fault. No one could have foreseen what happened, and carrying some kind of grudge about it 20 years later after the fact is pretty sad.

Yes, as always, Steve Albini believes that one's music should only please an extremely narrow, exclusive club of "cool" people, and if you're not a part of that club, fuck you. What about the kids who live out in the sticks and don't have access to clubs that would host Albini's admittedly awesome bands Big Black and Shellac? Fuck them, too.

If you're not a like-minded cranky city-dweller like Albini, you don't belong in his audience. Just think of him as the director of a very posh, restricted country club. You have to have a certain flair, a certain attitude, and good references to get in. How rock and roll.

Also, Albini produced a Bush album. So let's not act like he's without sin.




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