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metal talk
16th June 2017

rock meets classic

The Hollywood Reporter are stating that Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has filed an application for a trademark on the Heavy Metal 'devil's horns' hand gesture.

The application was filed last Friday, June 9th 2017, and Simmons claims that the hand gesture was first used in commerce on November 14th 1974, a date that correspond with Kiss' 'Hotter Than Hell' tour.

He is attempting to secure the mark for "entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist."

In 2004, Steve Appleford of LA CityBEAT conducted a "survey" of Heavy Metal musicians regarding the origins of the 'devil's horns' hand sign. Appleford said:

"Gene Simmons wrote in his 2002 autobiography that it was his accidental invention, the inadvertent gesture of a great man, repeated at concerts and picked up by fans. Not likely. Former Black Sabbath shouter Ronnie James Dio also takes the credit, first raising the horns before joining the band in 1978. And he's expressed alarm over the image of Britney Spears fans raising the sign at concerts by the dancing diva of lip-synched pop."

When Appleford asked Lemmy about the source of the 'devil's horns' hand sign, noting the casual claims of Gene Simmons, Lemmy replied:

"Well, he would, wouldn't he? He is so eeevilll. Come on, gimme a fucking break."

Lars Ulrich of Metallica said:

"That’s got to be Ronnie James Dio. I remember Rainbow used to play in Denmark about every half hour, so I used to go see it every half hour. And Ronnie James Dio did a lot of that. Back in 75, 76, 77, it was all about Rainbow and Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy."

In a separate interview, James Hetfield said:

"I think Dio," before continuing with a smile: "I think Spider-Man originally. It's also 'I love you' in sign language. I don't know, I think it's 'Two more songs!' — you know."


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