Vol. 8: The Man Behind the Mask

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Guys, we can all officially take a breath: Gene Simmons is no longer looking to trademark the rock n’ roll gesture popularized by late ex-Sabbath member, Ronnie James Dio. The ‘devil horns’ shall remain untainted by Simmons’ money-making schemes. The devil horns gesture, symbolic of all that is rock and heavy metal, had been most often traced back to the period in which Ronnie James Dio, known for founding and fronting bands Rainbow and Heaven and Hell, replaced Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbath’s front man. In the last week, KISS bassist, Gene Simmons, announced that he would attempt to trademark the symbolic gesture. However, he ran into great resistance – from both Dio’s widow, Wendy, and the American Sign Language (ASL) community. Wendy criticized Simmons for attempting to trademark something that was so obviously created by her late husband.

Yet, it seems as though everyone had forgotten the key issue with Simmons’ poor attempt at a trademark: the ‘devil horns’ he looked to patent was also the ASL gesture for ‘I love you.’ The devil horns used most often in rock n’ roll today have the thumb tucked in under the two middle fingers. Simmons looked to trademark that in which the index and pinky fingers and the thumb were raised, which meant something entirely different (at least, in today’s terms.) So, as expected, his attempt to squeeze money out of an arbitrary symbol most obviously failed. It also wouldn’t be the first time Gene Simmons has managed to enrage numerous groups all at once. But, have no fear: the devil horns™ will remain revered and untouched as they should be.

Rock n’ Roll is not without its conflicts now, is it? In recent news, Nickelback front man, Chad Kroeger, called out Stone Sour and Slipknot front man, Corey Taylor, for 1) being incredibly gimmicky, and 2) for ripping off their sound.  In speaking with Metal Covenant, Kroeger went as far as to call Taylor’s side project, Stone Sour, Nickelback Lite. In doing so, he claimed that they pale in comparison to anything Nickelback has released and that they tried so hard to be anything like Kroeger’s long-time band. The Nickelback front man then went on to attack Taylor’s main project, Slipknot. He claimed that the group couldn’t be all that great if they had to hide behind masks and ‘jump around on stage’ in order to entertain or distract from their lack of musical talent.

Ouch! This effective ‘diss’ is incredibly interesting considering Corey Taylor had actually founded Stone Sour in 1992… three years before Nickelback had come to be. As expected, these remarks would not sit well with Corey or his band mates. Stone Sour guitarist, Josh Rand, spoke out and stated that being called ‘Nickelback Lite’ was the ultimate insult. Corey Taylor had more spirited words for Kroeger. Taylor would call Kroeger “self-centred,” claiming that he hadn’t said much of what the singer said he had. And in retaliation to the ‘mask’ comment, the Slipknot front man went on to remind Kroeger that he had been voted the ugliest man in rock several times while Taylor had been voted the sexiest. Taylor went on to tell Kroeger to go on and ‘hug his Hello Kitty pillow and shut up.’ Needless to say, the relationship between these two bands is a contentious one. And, will continue to be as long as two grown men insult each other’s physical appearance and cartoon preferences.

News may come and go, but rock n’ roll controversy never dies. This has been the Weekly Round Up, catch you guys next week.

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