I’m not sure if you remember me. It’s been a while since I last wrote to you. Thirty-six years, in fact. Here, let me refresh your memory:
Nine years old, Gene! And a boy! (Even back then, I was wise enough to advise you of both my age and gender, because I sensed what an incorrigible womanizer you were, and I didn’t want you to waste your time seeking me out when I turned 18 … or 16, even. Like that Christine girl you were all wound up about.)
If that doesn’t jog your memory, maybe this will:
Halloween night, 1998, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. You guys were a little over halfway through the set when the lights dimmed and that rumbling bass of yours filled the darkness.
“‘GOD OF THUNDER’!” I screamed like a lunatic. (“God of Thunder” is your signature song, Gene. Yes, I’m well aware that you already know this, but I’m clarifying it here on the off chance that someone other than you might be reading this letter. You never know.)
“‘GOD OF THUNDER’!!!” I screamed again, a man unhinged. “WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! YEAAAAHHH!! ‘GOOOOOOOD OOOOOOF THUUUUUUUNDERRRRRRR’!!!!”
And then, instead of launching into “God of Thunder,” you played a new song called “Within” … the opening to which, when one is located in the cheap seats at Dodger Stadium, sounds a lot like “God of Thunder” … to me, anyway … but not, apparently, to anyone else seated around me, whose eardrums I had ruptured from screaming at the top of my lungs the wrong song title, over and over again. So that was sort of embarrassing.
But I didn’t care about embarrassing myself, Gene. Not much, anyway. Mostly because I knew I’d never see any of those people again, but partly because you had taught me from an early age to not give a fuck what anyone else thinks. You were like the honey badger before honey badgers were cool.
You might not have heard me above the rest of the Dodger Stadium crowd, though, so perhaps this will ring a bell:
March 11, 2000. Opening night of KISS’s so-called “Farewell Tour” in Phoenix, Arizona. There I was, leaning against the front edge of your side of the stage. What luck! I mean, listen, it was cool seeing Ace, Paul and Peter … but the dude I was most excited about photographing was you! Gene Simmons! Of KISS!
I tried not to read too much into it, Gene, but when you came right over to me and stuck out that famous tongue, I felt like we had a moment. Like we bonded. I felt like we were bros, dude.
Heck, I even interviewed you on the phone once. I think it was around 2003. No doubt, that special day was as memorable for you as it was for me. (You were sitting on the toilet at the time. At least, that’s what you told me. I was touched that you immediately felt so connected with me that you would share such a personal detail. I mean, sure, it was crass as hell and, frankly, downright off-putting, but still … another example of our special bond.)
So imagine my sorrow when I recently visited your Twitter page to see how my bro was doing … and found this:
“Wait a minute,” I thought, squinting for a closer look. “Does that really say what I think it says?”
You blocked me? You, Gene Simmons … my bro … my childhood idol … blocked me from following you and reading your tweets? … thafuck Gene?
I was dismayed. What could I, a faithful KISS fan of almost four decades, possibly have done to offend the God of Thunder so badly that you had gone and done something as petty as to block me on Twitter?
Think, Jon, think. Was it that Gene Simmons Easter egg I made a couple of years back?
No, that couldn’t be it. Hmmmmm.
I continued to scour my Twitter history … and then I found it. August of last year. The same week during which comedy legend Robin Williams took his own life and a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson. While trying to distract myself from those awful headlines, I came across a picture of you and KISS bandmate Paul Stanley holding an outdoor press conference to discuss your indoor-arena football team, L.A. KISS. And then, in a noble attempt to heal with laughter the psychic wounds our weary nation was nursing, I made a joke at your expense:
Really, Gene? After all the shit people have said and written about you, you’ve dishonorably discharged a lifelong member of the KISS Army over a harmless hair joke?
Look, I get it: no one likes to be made fun of. But, in my defense: please look at your hair.
Also, to be fair: I didn’t make you go out in public looking like that; you did so of your own free will, knowing full well that people would be photographing you.
Actually, Gene, I think I’ve figured out what happened: You, being the good-humored, self-effacing guy we all know you to be, laughed so heartily at my little hair joke that your vision became blurred from laughter-induced tears … so much so, in fact, that, when you attempted to “Like” my tweet and then “Follow” me on Twitter, you inadvertently hit the “Block” button.
Yes, I’m sure this is all just one big misunderstanding.
I’m glad we’ve sorted this out, and I look forward to you unblocking me soon so that we can get back to being bros.
(I am 45 years old, and a boy.)
This right here made me laugh out loud “But, in my defense … please look at your hair.” WTF Gene? Blocking you? Really? Absurd! I’m sure you’ll still sleep at night, still though, discouraging! Thumbs down to Gene!
Holly K says
If it’s any consolation he’s a d-bag in real life too. A friend of mine ran into him in a hotel last year when he was in town for a show and first he made the whole lobby uncomfortable because he was yelling at and berating his assistant. But my friends powered through and asked for a picture anyway because GENE SIMMONS! He reluctantly agreed to take the picture with my friend and his girlfriend at the urging of his assistant but specifically said they were not to speak to him and was on his phone the whole time. So the picture is of my friends smiling widely and Gene Simmons looking pissed off and playing on his phone, which by the way had like 96 pt font. 🙂 True story.
Mombius Hibachi says
I just stoked that my favourite songs on Destroyer are the same ones as 9 year old you.
In reference to your “9/45 years old and a boy” thing I was going to say, “unlike Gene, who appears to be a girl” but then I realized that was utterly sexist. Hilarious, but sexist. One more thing for me to feel guilty about…
This is fantastic. Around 1977 when I was a mere 13 years old my mother idiotically allowed me to go to my very first concert with friends. It was KISS. I’m a little jealous of those close up photos you got. Mine were really blurry.
Mark G. says
Jon, you’re not the first guy to banned by Gene or Paul on Twitter. Eddie Trunk was banned by Paul Stanley for just stating that he didn’t like the fact that Tommy & Eric were wearing Ace & Peter’s make-up. The only guy in the U.S. who has consistently played KISS on the radio for the last 30 years gets banned. It’s just silly.
You know what they say about meeting and interacting with our idols right? They are not the superheroes and great people that we thought they were. Sometimes they are just flawed and insecure humans. People like Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Micheal Schenker, David Lee Roth and yes even Eddie Van Halen have a lot of social issues. Not everybody can be as cool and well adjusted as Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony.
Don’t take it personal.
Jon, don’t leave us in suspense! Let us know if he unblocked you! If not sad for him in missing your genius!
Marcie Svitoris says
That was AWESOME! I followed you over from Jenny Lawson’s site. Saw you commented and the name of your latest post and read it out loud to my husband and now you have me hooked. I’ll be back for more.
This was pure greatness. I am saddened to read of your blocking, but happy to see you have a sense of humor. Even as a boy who is 45 years old.
Linda Sutton (@LindaSu93798924) says
I really enjoyed that as well Jon. Very well written and extremely witty. I think I ( who doesn’t really give a crap about anyone) may keep on eye on you ( maybe two) Gene’s hair is always like that and I’m sure it’s an unwashed rug. I’m an ardent Kiss fan as well, regards, Linda, NZ.
JON ZAL says