Gene Simmons has apologized for comparing David Lee Roth to a bloated, "naked Elvis" —insisting his comments were taken out of context.
The former Van Halen singer had been opening for KISS's "End of the Road" farewell tour last year before the Covid pandemic put it on ice; but when the tour resumed earlier this month, Roth was no longer present.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Simmons appeared to give his former support act a bit of a backhanded compliment, saying he was "the ultimate frontman"... once.
"It bears noting that during Dave's heyday, nobody did what he did," he told the magazine. "I don't know what happened to him… something,"
"And you get modern-day Dave. I prefer to remember Elvis Presley in his prime. Sneering lips, back in Memphis, y'know, doing all that," he added. "I don't want to think of bloated, naked Elvis on the bathroom floor."
Roth reacted to Simmons' comments with the following Instagram post:
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... which he then posted 17 more times.
But in a video interview with US Weekly published Wednesday, Simmons apologized for his remarks, saying his words were just "steam of consciousness" and his intent had not been to offend.
"I don't mean to hurt people's feelings," he said. "And every once in a while, diarrhea of the mouth comes out."
"I am so sorry, and ashamed actually, that I hurt David's feelings."
As Simmons pointed out, it was he who produced one of Van Halen's very first demo tapes, after seeing them play a club all the way back in 1976.
"I read that quote, and somehow, the way they put it together, I think I said something like, 'Nobody touched David in his prime. Not Robert Plant, not Jagger. He was the king.'"
"And then somehow, there was a segue to, 'Elvis, bloated on the ground, fat and naked,' and 'I don't want to see that.'"
"I wasn't talking about David, but that doesn't matter," he continued. "What matters is I hurt David's feelings, and that's more important than the intent. So, I sincerely apologize for that. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings."
He added: "It reminds me of the guy that gets out of a truck and says, 'Hey I'm sorry, buddy, I didn't mean to run you over.' Well, what the f--k's the difference? You've been run over."