LOS ANGELES — Gene Simmons refuses to hold his tongue. On Tuesday, MTV News asked the Kiss frontman who he's most looking forward to seeing at the 2011 VMAs, and he pretty much denounced all of this year's nominees, except for one.
"There is only one exciting artist, and her name is Lady Gaga," Simmons told us when we caught up with him in Los Angeles on the red carpet celebrating the Blu-ray release of the 1983 Al Pacino classic, "Scarface." "Everybody else is exactly the same. Every rapper is the same as every other rapper; every rocker is the same as every other rocker. Uniqueness is the only important thing, and Gaga is the real thing."
The outspoken icon gave Justin Bieber his just due, though he compared him to other teen idols like 1970s sensation David Cassidy. "I mean, he's terrific, but I've seen him before," Simmons said of Bieber.
Without naming names, Simmons was pretty sour on all current musicians, contemporary rock and roll artists, in particular. "I think rock sucks at the moment. Artists look like delivery boys; they look like they could use a bath," he said. "There's no respect for the stage — the stage is holy ground. I don't care what you do. You don't have to spit fire or drool blood but when you get on that stage, you should give people bang for their buck."
It isn't just present-day rockers Simmons took issue with, however. He wouldn't validate anyone pre-1980. "From 1958 to 1980 — that's about 30 years — you can name a thousand major artists: Elvis, the Beatles, Hendrix, on and on and on. From 1980 till today, name me an artist that's going to last the test of time," he challenged us. "Good luck with that, by the way."
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The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for Best New Artist by visiting VMA.MTV.com.