Gene Simmons’ Counterattack by Ronnie James Dio

Rock stars typically have signature moves that have become integral to their music and entertainment careers. Fans may consider Axl Rose’s snake dance, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing with his teeth, Iggy Pop’s stage dive, and Angus Young’s duck walk to be the most notable and well-known. However, these characteristics could occasionally result in conflicts or disagreements between the musicians. The devil horns controversy between Black Sabbath’s Ronnie James Dio and KISS’s Gene Simmons is one of the most well-known disputes. The hand gesture is a prominent and distinctive element of heavy metal music that has various cultural connotations around the world. Numerous individuals asserted that Dio popularized the move, which became his signature during his tenure with Black Sabbath, but the bassist disagreed.

What Did Ronnie James Dio Say About Gene Simmons? During one of his interviews, Ronnie James Dio discussed the origin of his use of the horns symbol. He disclosed that his Italian grandmother used it to protect the family from the ‘Malocchio’ evil eye. Consequently, he cannot have created it. Gene Simmons acknowledged that he made it famous among metalheads, but he also stated that he had popularized it in KISS’s Hotter Than Hell Tour numerous times before. Therefore, despite the fact that the singer was one of the nicest and kindest people in the industry, Dio had likely heard enough of the bassist’s words. Simmons was ridiculed by the late Black Sabbath frontman, who stated that the bassist could claim that he invented it and other elements that made metal music distinctive for fans and musicians, such as even breathing and shoes.

Dio said the following about Simmons: “I am of Italian descent; my grandmother and grandfather on both sides immigrated to the United States from Italy. They had superstitions, and I could always picture my grandmother holding my hand and walking with me down the street when I was a child. She would use this hand gesture when she saw someone. I asked, “What is that?” before learning that it was called “Malocchio.” Someone was giving us the evil eye; she is protecting it from the evil eye, and you can also give it to them. So invent it, no, but perfect it and make it significant, yes, because I did it frequently, particularly within Black Sabbath, which already had this incredible name, and combined it with what people believe it to be. I’m fortunate enough to have done it, so it’s been associated with me more than anyone else, although Gene Simmons will say he invented it. Then again, Gene invented breathing and footwear, as well as everything that makes metal and its culture unique.”

Evidently, even this ridicule did not deter Gene Simmons from asserting that he invented the sign, as the musician went to court to defend his position. Gene Simmons desired ownership of the Devil Horns’ rights. Simmons applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2017 for the gesture’s trademark, years after Dio’s criticism and sarcastic comments about him. However, he abandoned his trademark application shortly thereafter; thus, everyone wondered if he regretted this decision after receiving backlash. Simmons then emphasized that he owned commonly used images such as the devil’s horns, so he did not regret attempting this. Regarding his trademarking actions, Simmons stated:

“I do not regret anything. Every morning, let your conscience serve as your guide. Did you know I own the logo for the money bag? The dollar sign with a money bag. I own a variety of items. “motion pictures” is my registered trademark. The silliest thing I’ve ever done is wear more makeup and higher heels than your mother, if you think that’s silly. People stated, “That is not possible.” Actually, you skank, I can. I can do anything I desire.” In addition, the widow of the deceased singer, Wendy Dio, criticized the KISS bassist, stating that it is a disgusting way to make money off of a symbol that many people around the world have been using for decades. Simmons should not have attempted to own this trademark for the devil horns hand gesture, according to Dio, given that it is an integral part of heavy metal music and culture for both older and younger generations.

Dio, referring to the Simmons case, stated: “It is reprehensible to attempt to make money off of something like this. It does not belong to anyone; it belongs to everyone. It belongs to the public domain and should not be trademarked.” Although the debate over who invented the devil horns will continue, it’s not surprising that Gene Simmons wants to own a decades-old symbol. Ronnie James Dio’s unexpected response to their dispute was Simmons’ ridicule, despite the fact that Gene Simmons is an intelligent businessman.

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