KISS, Whitney Houston and a boyhood lost …

This is going to sound sorta dumb, but I don’t believe Gene Simmons is Gene Simmons.

What I mean is, I love the masked Gene Simmons and loathe the human Gene Simmons. The masked Gene Simmons is cool and intimidating and threatening and invigorating. The human Gene Simmons is a dorky old man with bad hair and an iffy wardrobe. He’s as cool as a beige coffee table; as threatening as a leaf.

Hence, I don’t believe they’re one and the same.

I’m actually being sorta serious. In the back of my brain, there’s a neuron that insists Gene Simmons, the demon, lives in a far-off cave, breathing fire and eating raw meat and plotting his next destruction. He is the Gene Simmons of the Destroyer album cover—a bad-ass motherf***er.

Which leads me to Whitney Houston …

Over the past couple of days I’ve watched a lot of videos of Whitney from the 1980s and Whitney from the 2000s. I have decided, once again, that they cannot be one and the same. The Whitney Houston of the 1980s was sweet and demure and angelic. She sang beautifully, and talked and walked with a Hepburn-esque grace. This is her …

Hence, a la Gene Simmons, I am once again refusing to believe that both Whitney Houstons are the Whitney Houston. Somewhere, perhaps by a Florida pool or walking along the boardwalks of Manhattan Beach, the Whitney Houston of 1985 is relaxing, speaking softly, sipping an orange juice and working on some new songs. She is forever young and pretty and optimistic. There is no Bobby Brown. No cocaine. No “crack is wack.” She’s on time for every interview. She respects her fans. She doesn’t smoke. Or drink. Or talk like a diva. She’s young. Alive. Hopeful.

Alas, I know the truth. And it hurts. To watch Whitney Houston’s decline over the past, oh, 15 years (and to now relive it in her death) was absolutely painful. She became something ugly and uncomfortable; she became someone you didn’t want to know. She lost her gift—her voice.

Perhaps that’s who she always was. Perhaps the early Whitney was merely an act.

I, however, refuse to believe that.

To me, she’s still alive. Somewhere.

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