Analysis, Music

Music Critic gets his balls busted for KISS review.

Music Critic Tony Bennett gets his balls busted for KISS review, and it’s not pretty.

KISS 40th Anniversary World Tour

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 03: Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley of KISS, perform during their opening show for the Australian leg of their 40th anniversary world tour at Perth Arena on October 3, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

I have total respect for the profession known as “Music Critic” and though I may not always agree with their reviews, I always appreciate their perspective…assuming, of course, they have done their job professionally, accurately and objectively.  It’s perfectly acceptable for a critic to not like a band, an individual artist, a song or even an outfit. However, that does not give that critic a license to kill. Each and every critic has a fiduciary duty to as accurately and objectionably as possible inform the public. Their opinions are absolutely acceptable and wanted, as long as they are defined as such and not written as facts and with malice.

A review of the Wednesday night KISS concert in Duluth, MN by Tony Bennett for the Duluth News Tribune unequivocally reflects one of the most unprofessional, inappropriate, antagonistic and blatantly biased reviews I have ever read. Mr. Bennett clearly demonstrated in his “review” that he is not fit to be called a professional. His review read more like the rantings of a pissed off high school student than that of an educated, respectable journalism professional.

His review opens with the line “It’s extremely uncool to like KISS…and if we’re being honest, the hate is pretty justified”.  As a matter of reference, KISS is in the middle of doing 36 shows this summer across the United States in the span of 8 weeks – that’s basically a concert every other night for two months straight (yes, the band is off for Gene’s birthday August 25th). This tour marks their 43rd year selling out concert halls. Query: Mr. Bennett, did you get on the PA at the concert that night and tell the thousands that paid good money to see KISS that they are “uncool”? Did you then tell them you hated KISS and that they should too? Of course not, you waited until after the concert to litter your trash across the internet from the relative safety of your computer. That makes you a coward, plain and simple.

I find it mind-boggling how Bennett translates “uncool” to “hate”. This behavior is obviously demonstrative of someone with a severely skewed perception of reality and a very altered understanding of the most rudimentary of human psychology.


Let’s look at some of the other things Mr. Bennett had to say….

“…since the late 70’s, they’ve mostly trafficked in lecherous, brain-dead glam metal”. Query: Mr. Bennett, are you calling your readers that attended the concert “brain-dead”? If not, perhaps you could attend a few grammar courses and learn to more accurately, professionally and in a non-offending way, convey to your readers a clearer, complete thought.

“…the “good stuff” – is often subpar (have you listened to, say, “Great Expectations” recently?” Comment: Mr. Bennett, you start your review off by telling your viewers you hate KISS. With that in mind, your “subpar” comment is completely void of validity because you clearly can’t be objective. As for “Great Expectations”, you clearly had none and you were going to be sure KISS wasn’t going to deliver (at least in your own, biased & unprofessional mind).

“When you’re watching KISS, you don’t think about the times Simmons has made a fool out of himself.” Query: Mr. Bennett, you do realize that the idea of a concert is the to enjoy the concert experience and not the extracurricular activities of the individual artists correct? Do you want people to think about the times you have masturbated while they read your reviews? If not, then what purpose could your statement serve? There is absolutely no relevance to the job at hand (no pun intended).

“…with simple rock songs holding it all together.” Comment: Mr. Bennett, I will accept this comment when you put on 40-50 pounds of gear, run around a stage for 2 hours constantly surrounded by intense heat from pyrotechnics, interact with 6,000 fans and all the while singing and playing guitar. You are once again showing complete disregard for your profession and an undeniable lack of respect for musicians. Yet, you are a “music critic”. Ironic.

“After an opening set by painfully boring American Idol person Caleb Johnson…” Comment: Mr. Bennett, what exactly is “painfully boring”? You obviously have a bone to pick, a chip on your shoulder, a lack of respect for others, a gross misinterpretation of your job and above all absolutely no understanding of what it means to be a journalist. I would venture to guess you actually hate your job, at least based on what I have read.

“Stanley…screeching out goofy intros to many songs in a bizarre Edith Bunker voice (How’s it sound out d’ere?)” Query: Mr. Bennett, does your employer offer any sensitivity training? You do realize Paul has a geo-accent like everyone else correct? You probably have one, as does your mother. Is making fun of his accent something your employer approves? Do you make fun of your readers accents? How do your readers feel about that? I think you are grasping at straws – your personal hatred for KISS is clearly inhibiting your ability to do your job.

“…and thanking Duluth for putting the band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which, uh, could be disputed).” Comment: Mr. Bennett, I’ll chip in and help you here. There is this thing called a KISS Army – it’s made up of fans all over the world who take to social media, snail-mail, etc. and show support KISS. Without a doubt, some of the fine people of Duluth directly reached out in support of KISS being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (not to mention supporting KISS over the years buying records, merchandise etc).

“After the fake Criss sang Criss’ hit song “Beth”” Comment: Mr. Bennett, you talk about Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer as “fake” because they wear the iconic makeup and costumes of the two previous original members (Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, respectively). Would you tell your children on a trip to Disney World that Mickey is “fake”? What about Mini Mouse…is she “fake”? KISS has never claimed Eric was Peter nor that Tommy was Ace. Bandmates may have changed but at no time was there any attempt to deceive the fans. You are once again using your media to spout out things that are simply not true. Again – VERY unprofessional.

“…but he didn’t play with the same feel as his predecessor”. Comment: Mr. Bennett, you do realize that two different people will do the same activity differently correct? After all, these musicians are humans, not robots. Query: Do you actually expect two different musicians to play the exact same way? How did you ever get a job as a music critic? You CLEARLY are not qualified for the job.

” The band, seemingly, now exists solely as a capitalistic money-farming machine” Query: Mr. Bennett, if millions of people all over the world want to continue to pay hard-earned money to experience a KISS concert, buy KISS merchandise and in general want to be KISS’ed, doesn’t business 101 & supply & demand clearly dictate the appropriate path? Should Disney World close down in your mind? Maybe even the Duluth News Tribune should close up shop – but wait – wouldn’t that mean you would loose your job? You, Mr. Bennett, are ignorant.

“Stanley often altered melody lines to accommodate his 64-year old voice”. Comment: Mr. Bennett, does your mother walk as fast today as she did when she was younger? Do you run as fast today as you did when you were 15? How in the world can you justify such a comment when millions of people all over the world are still happy to fork over their hard-earned money to hear Paul sing? You, once again, are illustrating your ignorance by grasping at straws in your feeble attempt of a review.

Even though I am a KISS fan, every point I have made is 100% valid. I show no bias, take no liberties, make no false assumptions and clearly illustrate my thoughts. Music is subjective. However, within subjectivity lies accountability.

It is my personal opinion that Tom Bennett should turn in his resignation, rethink if this profession is well suited for him, and if he thinks it is, go back to school and learn how to do it right (professionally).

Additionally, the editor in Chief either didn’t read this review prior to publication or he/she is equally incompetent, inept and undoubtedly not worthy of his/her position within the Duluth News Tribune. This total and complete lack of professionalism is surely not what the subscribers and readers of the Duluth News Tribune signed up for, or deserve.

Lastly, at the end of the day, I can’t help but wonder who has more money in the bank – KISS or Music Critic Tony Bennett. Actually, I don’t really wonder, it’s blatantly obvious. KISS wins, again!

–John J. Simpson
twitter: @johnjsimpson
email: john AT

Link to Tony Bennett review:

I found an email address for Mr. Bennett on the Duluth News Tribune website. Feel free to email him and let him know how you think he is doing. Tonybennettreviews@Gmail.Com

Twitter for Duluth News Tribune: @duluthnews


Why Kanye West is right about Bill Cosby


In case you missed it, here is the tweet that lit up twitter yesterday by Kanye West and is in fact still making headlines today:


Who would have thought 3 simple words could cause so much controversy. After repeatedly hearing about this tweet, I wanted to go beyond the headlines and take a deep look into the criminal case against Bill Cosby and see what I could find out. As it turns out, after reading the Affidavit of Probable Cause that accompanied the Criminal Complaint filed on behalf of Andrea Constand, I firmly believe Kanye hit the nail on the head. And here is why.

  • If allegations by plaintiff that the first time she went to defendants’ home was for a dinner prepared by defendants’ private chef in which no other known guests were to be present, AND it was at this meeting that defendant made direct physical and unwelcomed sexual advances “touched her pants, her waist and her inner thigh” (Section 1 ,Paragraph 2), then why did plaintiff return at a later date to defendants’ home for a “social visit” as well as numerous other occasions (Section 1 ,Paragraph 4)?
  • Why did plaintiff “consume a couple of glasses of wine” during this second visit if plaintiffs’ accusations of defendants actions during previous visit were true? This is not behavior consistent with someone who has experienced unwelcomed sexual advances.
  • Plaintiff alleges defendant “out of the blue…unbuttoned her pants and began touching her” (Section 1 ,Paragraph 3).
    • Plaintiff states defendant “unbuttoned her pants” which implies all buttons versus stating “some buttons” or “started to unbutton”. Normal behavior for someone experiencing such unwelcome behavior would be to immediately stop the person making such advances at the start and not wait until her pants had been unbuttoned and subsequent touching would begin.
    • As both parties were sitting on the couch at the time this is alleged to have happened, the time it would take to unbutton even 1 button on the pants worn by someone sitting next to or across from you would be more than ample time to stop the behavior before it progressed, if the advances were truly not welcome.
    • CONCLUSION: Plaintiff was not rejecting (alleged) romantic advances
      • It takes time to unbutton even just 1 button on someone’s pants, especially when the person wearing said pants is sitting down.
      • The time it would take to successfully unbutton 1 button and then begin touching someone is more indicative of an initial welcoming of alleged romantic advances than that of someone who supposedly has a previous history of unwelcomed such advances who would more than likely take immediate action to stop the advances.
  • Section 1, Paragraph 4
    • “Despite these advances by Cosby, the victim trusted him and continued to accept his invitations to social and professional functions”.
    • e. “a dinner at his home with a group of his friends and persons working in the Philadelphia restaurant community”
    • e. “a dinner at his Cheltenham home for a meeting with “academic people” including the President of Swarthmore College and professors from the University of Pennsylvania”
    • e. “She went to Cosby’s New York City home to meet with one of Cosby’s influential entertainment industry contacts”
    • e. “at his home”
    • e. “once at a casino in Connecticut”

CONCLUSION: Plaintiff has no credibility and absolutely no basis regarding her allegations as demonstrated by her voluntary decision to meet with the defendant on numerous occasions at his home even after unwelcome sexual advances were alleged to have first occurred. If unwelcome sexual advances were made by the defendant, there is no logical reason why the plaintiff would have “trusted him (defendant) and continued to accept his invitations to social and professional functions”.

What really happened? Only two people know. However, after reading the Affidavit of Probable Cause, it seems perfectly clear the allegations made by the plaintiff are absolutely false. There are too many inconsistencies and too many examples of behavior not indicative of how people would react to the such allegations.

I applaud Kanye West for taking to twitter to share his thoughts regarding Bill Cosby.






The Business Behind the Glamour “Woman of the Year Award”

Newsflash: Husband of 9/11 hero returns “Woman of the Year” award from ’01 after Caitlyn Jenner gets it.

Glamour has just awarded the “Woman of the Year” award to Caitlyn (formerly known as Bruce) Jenner which has prompted James Smith (the widower of Moira Smith who was the only female NYPD cop who died after rushing into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001) to return the award which Glamour awarded to his late wife.

When Glamour presented the award to honor Officer Moira, the award recognized the ultimate sacrifice made by one human in an effort to save thousands in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. With the award now going to Caitlyn Jenner, I’m guessing it recognizes the courage of the most famous man who became a woman.

Bruce Jenner isn’t the first man to become a woman but he is the most famous. As a former Olympic champion who once graced the Wheaties cereal box at the breakfast table to more recently his part in the Kardashian franchise, Caitlyn as a brand certainly offers monetization opportunities on a silver platter.

Like it or not, we live in a word where “what’s trending” directly relates into money. The more people talk about something, the more opportunities exist for advertisers to reach their audience, and that equates to financial opportunities. It’s a revenue stream – and a huge one. Caitlyn is big money right now. If you don’t agree, spend some time on social media and see just how many for-profit companies are talking about Caitlyn.

In the end, the award should go to anyone who fit’s the criteria in which the entity that created the award (in this case a for-profit company) deems fit. After all, it’s their award – and their busine$$.

Award or no award, what people do is what they do. Who they have an impact on is who they have an impact on. While awards are nice, we should always identify the fundamental reasoning behind an award so we an then apply the appropriate “value” of the award.

I’m don’t have an opinion as to whether James Smith is doing the right thing by returning the award given to his heroic wife and I don’t have an opinion on whether Glamour is doing the right thing by awarding one to Caitlyn Jenner. Glamour is a business and as such they are about making money first and foremost. Once you understand that intellectually, it completely negates any emotional aspects because they can’t fundamentally exist to begin with in this situation.

When Glamour says “we stand by our decision to honor Caitlyn Jenner”, they are standing behind their decision to be a for-profit company. No matter how you spin it, it only comes down to money.

For what it’s worth, I am eternally grateful to Moria Smith for her sacrifice and I give kudos to Bruce Jenner for giving inspiration to those who want to venture down that same path. Both admirable, one profitable.


John J. Simpson

On twitter @johnjsimpson





Bill Cosby – To Be or Not To Be

Bill Cosby: To Be Be or Not To Be

There are several perspectives from which the Bill Cosby rape allegations situation can be viewed from. One of those perspectives is what I call the 50,000′ view. This perspective is exercised by those who have absolutely no vested interest in the case and who don’t have an opinion regarding the allegations because they realize they simply do not have the facts.  Another perspective is that of those who admire Bill Cosby and will be by his side no matter what. Yet another perspective is that of those who believe the accusers are doing the right thing by finally coming forward. In other words, completely neutral or the choosing of one side or the other. The latter two perspectives each offer a veritable plethora of opportunities for those seeking to find a highly-publicized event for which to accentuate/justify their own cause. Depending on your particular agenda, you likely have adopted one of these perspectives. I use the word “agenda” very specifically because every single person discussing this situation has a reason they are discussing it, myself included.

It’s all about opportunity in one form or another, and this situation affords itself a cornucopia of opportunity.  While this case should only be about truth, it has become much more to to so many. For that subset of people looking for justification to solidify their predetermined ideas and the opportunity to further their personal causes, this case is about race, sex, feminism, money & power.

For anyone to go through what the women who have come forward are saying they experienced is morally, ethically and legally wrong. Justice should be and needs to be handed down, there is no doubt about that. But, before you jump the gun and make an assumption of what I mean, read on. If Bill Cosby did as he is accused, justice needs to be served by him. If the accusers are making false allegations, then justice needs to be served by each and every one of them. There is an abundance of wrong doing in this case and each side has something to lose and/or gain. The stakes are high & therefore the extent to which each side will go to win cannot be ignored. But to keep things in the proper perspective, we must realize that winning  the legal case doesn’t always equate to what really happened. That, in and of itself, is demonstrative of our need to look deeper (assuming our agenda is truth and not opportunity).

From a structural standpoint, the legal case involves the defendant and his legal team & the prosecution & their legal team. The defense has 1 job and that is to defend their client & get a not guilty verdict. Everything they do is done with that end-goal in mind. This means, in part, looking for loopholes, looking for a lack of credible evidence, looking to discredit accusers & prosecution witnesses, etc. Loopholes have always been an interesting concept to me. For example, if a policeman enters your home without a warrant, searches your home and finds illegal drugs, the drugs aren’t admissible in court because the officer didn’t have a search warrant. Therefore, no charge. And yet, the fact is drugs were in the home.

The prosecution  also has 1 job and that is to win the apposing guilty verdict. They too look for, in part,  loopholes and ways to discredit all defense witnesses. Establishing the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is up to the prosecution and must be done within the rules of law. As previously established, law enforcement can’t afford to make any mistakes or they risk critical evidence being dismissed and potentially a not guilty verdict (even though guilt may be factual).

As is often the case, the only people who know what actually happened are those who are directly involved. In this case, it is only Bill Cosby and each of the accusers who know. Every other person on the planet can believe they know & worse, can & do tell others as if they know. Regardless, the fact is we don’t know. We believe what we believe and we think what we think. It’s our own moral make-up that comes through when it comes to our chosen narrative.

The correct and appropriate narratives at this point should go like this:

  • It’s not “he’s guilty”, it’s “if he’s guilty”
  • It’s not “I know he did it”, it’s “I think he did it”
  • It’s not “she’s lying”, it’s “I think she’s lying”
  • It’s not “they’re all taking advantage”, it’s “I think they’re all taking advantage”.
  • It’s amazing how different it is when we add that one word “think”.

In full disclosure, I grew up a huge fan Bill Cosby. I watched every one of his shows and had almost every one of his albums. The highlight of my summers during school was staying up until 2am to listen to “Comedy Spot” on the radio just so I could hear Bill on the radio. However, I realize that these allegations could be true, and I realize they could be false. I don’t think I will ever know for 100% certain as our justice system doesn’t guarantee that. However, I enjoyed growing up with Bill Cosby and any outcome in this case won’t change the enjoyment I experienced at those times. Will I continue to watch him on TV & buy his albums? I suspect that decision (justifiably or not) has already been made for me.

As for my agenda in all of this, I simply want to encourage people to think.

–John J. Simpson

twitter @johnjsimpson