The debate between artistry and entertainment has long been a topic of discussion. Recently, iconic guitarist Carlos Santana offered some candid criticism about the legendary band KISS, particularly focusing on Gene Simmons, the band’s co-founder and bassist.
Santana, renowned for his musical prowess, has earned admiration from fellow musicians like B.B. King and Prince.
However, when it comes to KISS, Santana didn’t hold back. He expressed his view, stating,
“He’s not a musician, he’s an entertainer. Kiss is Las Vegas entertainment, so he wouldn’t know what music is anyway. That’s why he wears all that stuff. Simmons hides his talent beneath costumes and makeup. A musician doesn’t need the mask or the mascara. There’s a difference between an entertainer and a musician.”
Simmons, known for his theatrical stage presence, responded to Santana’s criticism by emphasizing the entertainment aspect of KISS’s performances.
“I’m sick and tired of these bands like Carlos Santana looking at his shoes and thinking that’s a rock concert. Get off the stage.”
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This exchange highlights a fundamental difference in perspective.
Santana values artistry and sincerity in music, believing that musicians should not hide behind elaborate costumes and makeup. For him, music is more than just entertainment; it’s a genuine expression of talent and creativity. On the other hand, Simmons embraces the theatricality of KISS’s shows, viewing entertainment as a vital component of their performance.
Santana’s criticism of KISS isn’t isolated. Over the years, others in the music industry, including Pete Townshend and Bob Dylan, have also voiced their opinions about the band. Townshend referred to KISS as “a parody of rock,” and during a performance, Dylan mentioned them in a sarcastic manner, implying that they represented a different, less substantial side of rock ‘n’ roll.
Ultimately, the differing viewpoints between Santana and Simmons reflect the ongoing dialogue within the music world. Some artists prioritize technical proficiency and artistic expression, while others emphasize the sheer enjoyment and spectacle of live performances. As the debate continues, it’s evident that both perspectives contribute to the rich tapestry of rock music, catering to diverse audience preferences and tastes. Whether one values the raw authenticity of Santana’s approach or embraces the vibrant showmanship of KISS, the music industry thrives on this interplay of artistic visions and entertainment sensibilities.