KISS' Gene Simmons is attempting to copyright the devil's horns rock salute. Yes, really. The guy who has made a Kiss coffin for you to be buried in is now claiming to have invented the hard rockin' hand-gesture that is also really close to American Sign Language's I love you and frighteningly similar to the way Spider-Man shoots his webs. Simmons has done a lot of things in his long, long career, some of things are good and some are bad. We'll let you decide where to put this one.
The Hollywood Reporter has brought Simmons' latest attempt to remain relevant in any way he can to our attention. Simmons apparently filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office late last week and is awaiting a response. Simmons is claiming that "his hand gesture" was first used at a KISS concert on November 14th, 1974 which would place the band on their Hotter Than Hell Tour that started October 17th, 1974 and went through to February of 1975. So this would mean that Simmons is claiming that the "devil horns" gesture was first used on that hellish tour, a tour that normally opened with the aptly titled song "Deuce."
Simmons is attempting to secure the gesture for "entertainment namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical audience." Simmons wrote in his 2002 autobiography that he accidentally invented it and is quoted as saying "the inadvertent gesture of a great man, repeated at concerts and picked up by fans." What Simmons lacks in musical talent he certainly makes up for in ego tenfold. Steve Appleford of LA CityBeat conducted a survey in 2004 of rock musicians asking about the origins of the "devil's horns" and many point to the late great Ronnie James Dio while Metallica's James Hetfield boldly states "I think Spider-Man originally."
Spider-Man was introduced to the world in the 60s, well before KISS was extracting money from concertgoers, and many people believe that to be the origin of the "devil's horns." While some historians will go even further back, claiming that the gesture goes back over 2,500 years and that it signifies the horns of a bull. So yeah, we get it. Simmons wants to get paid when people use the gesture in concert and wherever else it's used in public for entertainment purposes. It is not clear how Simmons will provide any more evidence other than the cover of KISS' 1977 Love Gun album where Mr. Simmons is shown prominently using the gesture.
Simmons will more than likely not get what he wants in this case and that is most definitely a good thing. Simmons seems mighty high for a dude that's never done any drugs other than sniffing his own farts, but this does fit into his ego world of a man who will literally put his name on anything to make a buck. In closing, I'd like to leave the prophet Lemmy's response when told of Simmons' claims in 2004. "Well, he would, wouldn't he? Come on, gimme a f#$%^& break." Preach on, brother Lemmy, preach on.