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Gene Simmons and Caleb Carr behave badly

Gene Simmons and Caleb Carr behave badly. The feisty authors have foot in mouth disease when it comes to talking to the press

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Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons Illustration by Tim Bower

You tend to think of authors as docile types, but that’s not always the case. First Kiss bassist Gene Simmons came out swinging on NPR’s ”Fresh Air,” and then ”Alienist” author Caleb Carr erupted in the Web magazine Salon. Simmons had lots to say about his slugfest with ”Fresh Air” host Terry Gross, who was interviewing him about his memoir, ”Kiss and Make-Up.” (Sample exchange: Simmons: ”If you want to welcome me with open arms, I’m afraid you’re also going to have to welcome me with open legs.” Gross: ”That’s a really obnoxious thing to say.”) ”Most of the time I was throwing jokes,” insists Simmons, who also thought Gross was ”judgmental” and ”stuffy, and I wasn’t going to let it go by.” Gross responds, ”I know he has irony about himself, but in this particular interview he had no irony, not even about his studded codpiece, and if you can’t laugh at that, what can you laugh at?” A few days later Carr lashed out at Salon editorial director Laura Miller over her review of his new book, ”The Lessons of Terror”: ”But let’s not let facts or a shaky grounding in history keep us from being a bitchy wiseass,” Carr scolded her. In a subsequent posting he apologized for his ”momentary intemperance” in using the B-word (but not ”for the sentiment contained in my reaction”). He also posted a five-star review of his work on Amazon.com, which the company later removed, saying it did not allow self-reviews. A Random House spokesman said Carr had no further comment on the whole affair.