Kiss never met a promo opp they didn't like, but the band's upcoming appearance at October 8th's Michael Forever concert in Wales -- the controversial unauthorized Michael Jackson tribute show organized by members of his family -- is a particularly curious booking. Because Kiss bassist/mouthpiece Gene Simmons publicly called MJ a "pedophile" on several occasions.
As the Guardian points out, in an interview with Classic Rock magazine just last year, Simmons said, "There's no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt." In the week following Jackson's June 2009 death, Simmons didn't hold his tongue either, telling the press, "While it's sad that [Jackson] had this sad life and I understand, that's horrible, Michael's not the only victim. I want to know what these boys have to say." He said that literally days after Jackson died from a sedative overdose in his Los Angeles home.
"I know [Michael] would be very excited about Kiss," Jackson's mother, Katherine, told CNN, adding she'll be attending the October show with Jackson's three children. Unsurprisingly, hardcore Jackson fans disagree, and have flooded the Michael Forever Facebook page with negative comments like, "The Jacksons are doing a good job of destroying Michaels legacy. This tribute concert has been a disgrace since the beginning."
Kiss' addition to the lineup also rankled the Michael Jackson Estate, who finally wrote a letter to the concert's promoters expressing "concerns" about the show -- namely disappointment that a man who "has made numerous disparaging public comments about Michael Jackson after his passing" will be performing at a show in his honor, and questions about which charities will benefit from the event's proceeds.
Acts confirmed for the show now include Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Cee Lo Green, British boy band JLS, several of Jackson's brothers (though not Jermaine and Randy, who have vehemently opposed the show), 3T (a group consisting of Tito Jackson's sons), Alien Ant Farm, and Craig David; the show will be musically directed by Kevin Dorsey, who did the same for several of Jackson's tours. It still sounds like a terrible idea.
UPDATE: Well, that was quick. Michael Forever promoters have already yanked Kiss from the bill, telling TMZ in a statement, "We have listened to Michael's fans and are grateful to have been alerted to these unfortunate statements by Gene Simmons. Under the circumstances we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert."
• Big Michael Jackson Tribute Show Is (Surprise!) Not Authorized
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[Photo: JB Lacroix/WireImage.com]