In an interview with WRIF, KISS bassist Gene Simmons talked about band’s 1996 reunion tour, which featured ALICE IN CHAINS as the opener.
Gene said (as transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar.com): “The saddest part of all was that the Tiger Stadium show was originally gonna have Stone Temple Pilots opening up.
“I met [Scott] Weiland at a club and I said to him, ‘Look, you’ve got to be straight, cut it with all the heroin and the crap, respect the fans, get up un stage, do a great show, it’s all yours. We’ll support you, but I want you clean on stage.’
“‘Gene, I promise!’ It’s like with anybody who’s a drug addict and alcoholic. ‘I’ve been clean for a million years’ and stuff. And then he died.
“And I had the same conversation with Layne [Staley] right before they went up on stage. I said, ‘Layne, here they are, the fans, they’re lined up, it’s all yours. Just go out there and do great.’ ‘Gene, I have straightened up.’ And then he died.”
“If you were an alcoholic or drug addict, you’re gonna be that for the rest of your life.
“And that’s what they tell you at AA and other organizations – that every day it’s gonna be a decision. You’re gonna have to make that decision to be straight or ruin your life and hurt everybody around you.
“But what I’m saying of course is not cool, you’re supposed to get wasted and ‘Hope I die before I get old’ and all that stuff.
“In fact, my next book is coming out, it’s called ‘27.’ It’s about all the sadness with these people who killed themselves. Frances Bean, Kurt Cobain‘s daughter, is friends with my son, they hang out. You should read the quotes she does in the media. ‘Hey, it’s real cool your father dies while you’re still a baby from drugs.’ No, it sucks.”
Speaking on the book, he said: “It’s really about when you become rich and famous and everybody admires you – what is that thing that makes people destroy themselves? Even to die. What is that?
“The rest of the world adores you and your fans love you and they give you money and fame and all that, and then you kill yourself. I don’t get it.”
Focusing on his own relationship with drugs and alcohol – or lack of thereof – Simmons said: “I’ve literally never been high or drunk in my life, other than in a dentist chair.
“And that’s because of my mother. My mother was 14 years of age when she was in concentration camps of Nazi Germany, and she had a horrific life. And what right do I have to torture her and make her unhappy? No, that’s never gonna happen.”
Asked if he ever got tempted to delve into that world, Gene replied: “What temptations? If you drink enough, your equipment won’t work. If you get high, trust me, you’re not gonna be witty or look cool. No, there’s nothing about that. You’ve gotta tear down this stupid fascination with it. It’s self-destructive.
“What’s happening with opioids is [that they are] killing everybody. No, there’s nothing cool about that. I’ll tell you what’s cool, somebody arches their back, stands up straight and says, ‘Every day above ground is a good day. Now watch me burn rubber.’ That’s cool.”