Big brands adapted quickly to social media, hiring professionals for their tweets and amassing legions of followers to leverage against their press coverage. But interactive online formats have recently been coming back to bite some of music’s better-known names. In June, Robin Thicke‘s #AskThicke Twitter Q&A session for VH1 ended up being flooded with questions about misogyny. Prejudice against women came up again yesterday when the Black Lips hijacked a Q&A by Kiss‘s Gene Simmons for Huffington Post‘s live “HuffPost Live” webcast.
Wearing black and white facepaint and shouting like a pro wrestler, Black Lips’ Jack Hines said in a video clip on the program: “Mr. Simmons! We’re here to tell you that the day of misogynistic, sexist rock’n’roll is over! We call for the complete and utter surrender of the Kiss Army. Lay down your guitars! Do you accept our terms of surrender?”
Simmons responded, unflustered: “Yes. I surrender entirely. And I wanted to compliment your mom for the wonderful way that she designed the decoration on the basement she lets you live in. I think it’s very attractive. I hope you get to leave your mom’s basement soon.” Oh, yes: That’s a person in 2014 still dragging out the the old joke about how people who disagree with him on the Internet live in their moms’ basements.
Then, referring to his comments earlier in the chat that immigrants should “learn to speak goddamn English,” Simmons said the Black Lips needed to “learn to speak English.” When the host made sure Simmons knew the Black Lips are actually a pretty accomplished band, he replied: “But they’re not black. What are they, racist?” OK, I’m reasonably sure that wasn’t just Glenn Beck in dark shades and a wig.
The whole stunt is a typical move for the Black Lips, Atlanta garage-punk provocateurs who veered toward southern rock on their latest album, this year’s Underneath the Rainbow. Watch the Simmons confrontation below, and then check out their “Nightmare Field” video.