KISS off: David Lee Roth posts 18 middle fingers on Instagram in response to Gene Simmons’s insult

Lyndsey Parker路Editor in Chief, Yahoo MusicFri., August 20, 2021, 5:05 p.m.路4 min read

Two of hard rock鈥檚 mouthiest showmen, KISS鈥檚 Gene Simmons and former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, have just become engaged in a new feud. And while it seems that, for now, Roth has gotten in the last word 鈥 18 times! 鈥 the real winners of this amusing battle are the fans following Roth on social media.

Roth was the opening act for KISS鈥檚 End of the Road tour before coronavirus concerns put those dates on hold, but as KISS resumed that farewell tour this week, Roth was off the bill and, strangely, replaced by a performance painter named Garibaldi. When asked about the lineup change in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Simmons bluntly confirmed that Roth would not be returning, insulting Roth in a way that many Rolling Stone commenters complained was uncalled-for and 鈥渂elow the belt.鈥

鈥淚t bears noting that during Dave鈥檚 heyday, nobody did what he did. He was the ultimate frontman. Not [Robert] Plant, not Rod Stewart, nobody. He took being a frontman way beyond anything,鈥 Simmons began. 鈥淎nd then, I don鈥檛 know what happened to him鈥 something. And you get modern-day Dave. I prefer to remember Elvis Presley in his prime. Sneering lips, back in Memphis, you know, doing all that. I don鈥檛 want to think of bloated naked Elvis on the bathroom floor.鈥

David Lee Roth Posted 12 F-U Posts

On Friday, Roth took to Instagram to show exactly how he felt about Simmons鈥檚 remarks, posting a black-and-white photo of a sassy boy sticking out his tongue and flipping the bird. He added the caption 鈥淩oth to Simmons,鈥 in case it wasn鈥檛 entirely clear to whom that middle finger was directed, and he actually Instagrammed the photo a whopping 18 times, just to ensure that it was seen by most of his 121,000 followers. 

Simmons, who unsurprisingly does not follow Roth on Instagram, has not yet responded.

Screenshot of David Lee Roth’s Instagram page on Aug. 20, 2021.
(Photo: Instagram)

It should be noted that Simmons and Roth go way back, as Simmons actually played a key role in Van Halen鈥檚 early career: In the late 鈥70s, he saw them play at Hollywood nightclub the Starwood and was so blown away that offered to sign them and record their demos. In a Yahoo Entertainment interview earlier this year, Simmons recalled that fateful evening, raving about Roth鈥檚 showmanship: 鈥淥ne guy had his shirt off, defying gravity, jumping up and down. 鈥 I just was so astonished. I was waiting for the backstage by the third song.鈥

Simmons was convinced that Van Halen would become a 鈥渕ega-band,鈥 so he signed them to his Man of a Thousand Faces company and produced a 15-song demo for them at New York鈥檚 Electric Lady studio. But when KISS鈥檚 manager at the time, Bill Aucoin, was inexplicably unimpressed by the demos (which included early versions of 鈥淩unnin鈥 With the Devil鈥 and 鈥淥n Fire鈥) and declined to bring Van Halen into the Aucoin Management fold, Simmons tore up the hot young group鈥檚 Man of a Thousand Faces contract, allowing them to sign to Warner Bros. just two months later. However, this year Simmons still spoke fondly of Van Halen, describing them to Yahoo Entertainment as a 鈥渕agnificent beast鈥 and 鈥渙ne of the few bands that actually sounds like the record. You know when you hear a record and you go see a band live and ugh, it鈥檚 never quite as good? Nope. That’s who they were.鈥

Obviously, Simmons has a very different opinion about David Lee Roth circa 2021, so it鈥檚 unlikely the two will be working together again. But watch this space to see if Simmons acknowledges Roth鈥檚 latest unsubtle Instagram spree.


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