Gene Simmons loves himself some trademarks, but his latest application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will definitely have some metalheads thinking, “Ugh…this again?”
There has been a big debate about the origin of the “rock hand gesture.” Per The Hollywood Reporter, Simmons says the gesture “was first used in commerce Nov. 14, 1974.” (Simmons can also be seen making the gesture on the cover of KISS’s 1977 album Love Gun.)
In rock lore, however, the “rock hand gesture” or “sign of the horns” is commonly credited to have been popularized by the late Ronnie James Dio, who has said in interviews that he got the gesture from his grandmother.
In other words: We have some problems with this. To be exact, we have three.
1. The real “rock hand gesture” has the thumb tucked in, not sticking out.
What Simmons is trying to trademark isn’t the “rock hand gesture”; it’s “I Love You” in American Sign Language! For crying out loud, the photo attached to The Hollywood Reporter’s story shows Michael des Barres sitting next to Simmons flashing the proper gesture.
2. Does this mean rockers will be fined for making the gesture live or in photos?
If fines can be levied even in cases of use, even if it’s accidental, how does one go about policing that? Also, how much would those fines be? Can every fan that throws horns at a show get fined? Just how intense is this trademark?
3. Why is Simmons doing this in the first place?
Most of us know better than to stand in the way of Simmons trying to make money, and frankly, most (this writer included) respect the hell out of Simmons for being so unapologetic about wanting to make money. However, considering the debate and how Dio is no longer with us, filing a trademark just seems tacky, even for a guy whose image has been licensed to sell condoms and caskets. (Correction: Kondoms and Kaskets.)
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger. The first man she ever loved was Jack Daniel. (True story.)