Gene Simmons hopes that his new book "27: The Legend And Mythology Of The 27 Club", which comes out next week, will "open up a conversation" about mental health. He tells the Classic Rock TK99 radio station (hear audio below): "One in five people in America know somebody or are directly affected by people with depression, self-esteem issues, drugs, bullying. There's an awful lot of folks, young and old, who are killing themselves because they can't take life, but I'm telling you, the only thing they need and desperately want is for somebody to talk to them. And I urge anybody out there, you're feeling bad today and stuff, don't be by yourself, go out to a ballgame, do something, or pick up the phone. Call 911 or call the suicide-prevention hotline."
He continued: "Consider the guy that's up on a skyscraper and the television camera is out there and there's a thousand people watching him and he's threatening to jump. Call it for what it is. Because somebody [who] wants to kill themselves and doesn't care just does it quietly without the public. The person that's up there with a lot of people threatening, that's a call for help. That's why there are people who are trained — cops and so on — to go up there, not to try to save 'em, just to sit down beside them and say, 'Hey, how are you doing?' 'I'm gonna kill myself.' 'Yeah, I feel like that too.' 'You do?' 'Sure. Yesterday my wife was torturing me…' And then you make them laugh and smile and you rekindle, you relight that flicker that tells you, 'You know, I think I can get by. I think I'll do it.' And I'm telling you, if you're a fighter, a boxer, and you get in the ring and you get the bejesus beaten out of you, if you go back to your corner and there's nobody there, [it's] pretty depressing. But these guys go back in their corner and you've got their trainer going, 'You're gonna do great. Just remember…' And if you're a football team, before you go out and play, you've got your coach: 'C'mon, guys, you've gotta feel it to believe it. What are we gonna do? Are we gonna go out there…?' You need people around you. Men specifically desperately need women around them. Really."
"27: The Legend And Mythology Of The 27 Club", the inaugural release of the new Simmons Books series, is Simmons's witty, insightful, and no-B.S. take on the myth, and the actual people, that make up the "27 club," the groundbreaking musicians, artists, and celebrities — including THE ROLLING STONES founder Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, THE DOORS' Jim Morrison, NIRVANA's Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse — who died at the age of 27, frozen in the collective consciousness at the zenith of their creative output.
In "27: The Legend & Mythology Of The 27 Club", Gene takes a deep dive into the life stories of these legendary figures, without giving credence to the romanticized idea that being in the "club" is somehow a perverse privilege. Simmons wills us to acknowledge the extraordinary lives, not the sensational deaths, of the musicians and artists who left an indelible mark on the world.
Photo credit: Mark Weiss