Troubled Michael Jackson tribute concert hits new snag with Kiss's Gene Simmons

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Image Credit: Marcos Hermes/LatinContent/Getty Images

When the news first broke that a cabal of Michael Jackson’s family members (lead by Michael’s mother Katherine) were planning a tribute concert for the late King of Pop in Wales later this year, the red flags immediately went up.

After all, we’ve been through this sort of thing before (remember that concert that was supposed to take place in Vienna a few months after Jackson’s passing in 2009?), and it didn’t help that the Jacksons announced the existence of the concert without mentioning a single performer on the lineup.

Also not helpful? The fact that only hours after Michael Forever was introduced, another set of Jackson family members (including brothers Jermaine and Randy) issued a statement saying they did not endorse the show—though only because it would take place during the manslaughter trial of Jackson physician Conrad Murray, and not because it’s a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea). That seemed like a good enough reason to close up shop on the whole thing, right?

Nope! Despite all these big, red, flashing sirens going off all at once, they still managed to find a handful of top-line artists to commit to Michael Forever, including Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, Craig David, Leona Lewis, and, inexplicably, Alien Ant Farm (who are apparently still a band). That’s a pretty motley crew (though sadly not Mötley Crüe), but the weirdest addition came earlier this week when it was announced that Kiss—yes, that Kiss—would be appearing at the concert.

Their booking didn’t last long, mostly because of Kiss bassist (and resident Demon) Gene Simmons’ comments about Jackson’s past legal troubles. In the wake of Jackson’s death in June 2009, Simmons said, “While it’s sad that [Jackson] had this sad life and I understand, that’s horrible, Michael’s not the only victim. I want to know what these boys have to say.”

And he very recently told Classic Rock magazine, “There’s no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt.” Fans flooded Facebook with anti-Kiss messages and noted that the inclusion of a person who had such negative things to say about MJ would taint the whole affair (as though the addition of Alien Ant Farm hadn’t already done that).

Promoters responded quickly and told Simmons to leave his battleaxe-shaped guitar and Kabuki make-up at home. “We have listened to Michael’s fans and are grateful to have been alerted to these unfortunate statements by Gene Simmons,” the promoters said in a statement. “Under the circumstances we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert.”

For those of you not turned off by the previous 400 words, registration for tickets to Michael Forever (which will theoretically take place on October 8 in Cardiff, Wales) is now open.

Read more on EW.com:
Jay-Z says wife Beyonce is ‘the second coming’ of Michael Jackson: Yes, he knows it’s blasphemy
Another year, another King of Pop tribute in jeopardy: Michael Jackson’s estate, brothers won’t support latest effort
Michael Jackson trial won’t show unreleased footage

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • Claire

    I’m glad that the Estate is looking into this. I hope they will clamp down on these guys. This Tribute concert is visibly a ripoff under the guise of charity. And the Tribute concert and Kiss, it’s the last straw for me! A few months ago the Estate had to shut down another MJ Tribute ripoff The Jackson Tribute Fragrances… Google up: “The Jackson Tribute Fragrances”

    • sandee

      I don’t care for Gene Simmons comment about MJ being a child molester. a JURY said he isn’t. enough said. it’s done and over. leave it alone. Mr Simmons……If you have nothing nice or useful to say SHUT UP! YOU ONLY MAKE YOURSELF LOOK STUPID.

  • scorpo

    Not quite sure why Kyle doesn’t understand the Alien Ant Farm connection. They covered Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. Ugh, just when I think I am good with EW.com they post yet another article by someone who doesn’t do their homework.

    • Kyle Anderson

      I linked to the “Smooth Criminal” cover when I mentioned Alien Ant Farm; mostly, I was shocked to realize that anybody even remembered what Alien Ant Farm was (or that they were still a band). Bottom line: I do not like Alien Ant Farm.

      • Alex F

        Still, Kyle, their inclusion is very explicable.

  • Sandy

    Gene Simmons needs to get over himself. He’s a horney, homely old guy parading as a rock star.

  • nahara

    Karma is beautiful

    • Al

      Exactly, molest some children and end up dead.

      • Donna

        “Exactly, molest some children and end up dead.”

        How about this one: Accuse someone who was ACQUITTED of child molestation charges and no longer alive to defend himself of being molester and, end up as a lame EW troll.

        Smells like karma to me.

  • Jason

    1st this article was so well written with quips and humor I decided to write this to say thanks for that. 2nd here’s all you need to know about Michael and the family…. Extremely talented, extremely bizarre, I think he did do it (ask macauly culkin) and his family should call it a profit concert not a tribute concert

  • LooLoo

    To quote your article”That’s a pretty motley crew (though sadly not Mötley Crüe), ” Let’s cross our fingers they DON”T ask this band now because Nikki Sixx has also publicly insulted Michael even worse than Gene did, on his twitter. But leave it to them and they will have this band in the lineup too!! This Tribute concert is so sad, it ahs already been tainted with negativity. They need to give it up and go back to what they were doing in March.. Nothing!

  • deirdrelawlor

    im gat

  • Malcy

    “Troubled Michael Jackson tribute concert”! ? You are troubled Kyle Anderson!

  • bruna MJ

    Gene Simmons is such an ignorant animal.
    one is envious. SO UNFORTUNATE THAT Gene Simmons shows how much he is a scoundrel ANIMAL WITHOUT CULTURE AND IGNORANT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    RESPECT FOR MICHAEL!

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