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KISS’ Gene Simmons Chimes in on Disabling Cell Phones at Concerts

Gene Simmons
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

In late June, we reported that Apple was granted a patent that would have the potential to disable cell phones from taking photos and capturing video at concerts. Artists have been split on the issue, some seeing no issue with fans having a personal memento from the show and others who feel violated by the technology. The ever-opinionated KISS legend Gene Simmons has now offered his thoughts on disabling phones in the live concert setting or simply not allowing cell phones in the area altogether.

Speaking with Jack Antonio of the Do You Know Jack? radio program (audio below) on July 1, Simmons first explained the pre-cell phone era and the modern one. “When we first started out, this was before cellphones or technology and even voice mail. There was no cable, there was no nothing, so at the concerts, they took away your cameras — they didn’t allow you to do that,” he began.

Detailing more about an age long gone and the connection with the show, Simmons continued, “So, in a lot of ways, the concert experience, especially with KISS, was real — it was emotional, it was deep. You know, people would pass out and cry; it was very emotional.” Flipping to modern times, he said, “And it’s become… Technology, of course, has made everything less emotional. You know, when you get back home and look at your cellphone and the video there, and you go, ‘Oh, I don’t remember that from the concert!’ Well, of course you don’t, ’cause you were too busy texting or looking at your cellphone.”

After weighing both sides, Simmons’ conclusion was slightly indecisive, stating, “But do I think they should have the technology to shut off your stuff? Well, maybe with your ‘okay.’ You know, at least beforehand, they say, ‘Okay, you’re about to enter a no-cellphone area’ and stuff, that’s fine. As long as you know, going in.”

Apple first applied for the patent back in 2011 and just received the grant. The new technology will use an infrared signal that can detect and disable both still images and video recordings. The ripple effect has potential to spill into the YouTube market, where fans upload concert film, naturally generating revenue for the Google-owned video company.

A number of artists, including the very vocal members of Sixx: A.M., have taken a stance against YouTube, claiming artists are unfairly paid compared to the revenue their creative content is generating. There has been a call for the reformation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as artists seek better compensation under these new models.

Gene Simmons is currently on tour with KISS through Sept. 10. A full list of tour stops can be found at our 2016 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours.

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