It’s a strange and quirky topic… the fact that numerous rockers have died in their 27th year. Gene Simmons, the man from Kiss, has taken on the subject in his book 27: The Legend and Mythology of the 27 Club. Simmons uncovers the mysterious details about those who have joined the club. For the most part, club members died tragically by accident or planned suicide. The biggest question on most minds is “Why?” From a humanistic point of view, people do not accept young deaths well. In fact, most hate to dwell on untimely deaths, preferring to avoid the realities of youthful mortality. It’s just not normal to die young. It’s normal to die old.
Simmons knows what it means to be a rock legend. He’s had his own share of stories and certain success with album sales numbering more than 10 million. His book is set to be published by powerhouse Books on August 14, and he will be examining the factors which seem to drive the young toward death. He’ll focus on rock & roll themes of drugs and sex, cope with questions about why people become obsessed with the tragic deaths of stars, and take some hard looks at why the youngest, most talented artists end up dead so young.
Simmons was recently interviewed on WRIF 101.FM radio Detroit. His heartfelt interview described his inspirations for taking on this often-taboo topic. He noted that though many of the rockers he has included in his book have managed to ruin their lives with drug and alcohol use, he has never been drunk or high. He attributed this to his strong devotion to and honor of mother. She had been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in Germany when she was just 14 years old. Simmons never wanted to experience unhappiness again, so he’s lived a life clean and sober. Even touring pressures never tempted him to turn to drugs for comfort. Simmons has taken a stand against the self-destruction caused by opioid addictions and is encouraging people to avoid that life-style in favor of one that embraces productive living.
The upcoming new book deals with the idea that membership in The 27 Club is the price of being incredibly talented, incredibly famous, and perhaps incredibly cursed. Simmons explores the extent of this long-standing urban legend by examining the unusual crowd of musicians who belong to the club. Some are hugely famous, and others less so, but the list is long, and getting longer.
It all began in 1969. Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin all died during the summer, and each was just 27. These were musicians at the height of their cultural influence- and then tragically gone, leaving many questions to ponder. They were followed by many more: Kurt Cobain, Jesse Belvin, Amy Winehouse, Dave Alexander and plenty of others..at least 50 to date. Why did such talented musicians pass away so young? Is 27 the age when our most talented artists must die? Are the attractive and successful cursed? What causes us to be fascinated with deaths of the too young? Simmons unpacks the strange logic and mystery which surrounds the idea that 27, rather than 26 or 28….or any other age….should be the age when the brightest, richest, most talented or most famous pass away unexpectedly. It’s going to be a compelling read.