Most people are aware that the “27 Club” refers to celebrities who died too young at the age of 27. Kiss rocker Gene Simmons is releasing a book about the phenomenon later this year. “27: The Legend and Mythology of the 27 Club” will examine the sociological, cultural and other reasons behind their premature deaths.
Many of the tragic figures in the “27 Club” were wrapped up in the stereotypically destructive rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, which involves mind-altering substances. It’s an interesting subject matter for Simmons, who has never done drugs or alcohol or even smoked cigarettes.
“In 27, rock legend Gene Simmons of Kiss fame, a man with over 10 million album sales and many a story to his name, will serve as our guide to the enigmatic 27 club, examining sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll from the inside, and answering our enduring questions,” reads the synopsis, according to UltimateClassicRock.com. “Why do we find ourselves obsessed with the untimely deaths of the famous and the infamous? Is the 27 club just a compelling urban legend? What does age 27 really mean for our most beautiful and damned?”
During an interview with WRIF 101.1 FM, Simmons explained, “It’s really about when you become rich and famous and everybody admires you, what is that thing that makes people destroy themselves, even to die? What is that? The rest of the world adores you and your fans love you and they give you money and fame and all that, and then you kill yourself. I don’t get it.”
Who belongs to the 27 Club? Jimi Hendrix consumed too much wine and sleeping pills and died of asphyxiation at his girlfriend’s London apartment in 1970. He’s considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time.
That same year, Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose. The singer was one of the most successful female rock stars of the seventies. Her posthumous album, Pearl, reached number-one on the Billboard charts and features hit songs such as “Mercedes Benz” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”
Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971. Heart failure was listed as the cause of death, but an autopsy was not performed. He is one of history’s most iconic singer-songwriters and famously struggled with alcohol dependence. His band The Doors rose to fame following the release of their hit song “Light My Fire.”
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1994. His death prompted a closer look at the “27 Club.” His band defined the grunge era and was a voice for Generation X.
Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011. An extremely gifted singer and songwriter, Winehouse publicly battled drug and alcohol issues. She is one of a just a handful of women who won five Grammy Awards in one night.
Simmons’ previous books include “On Power: My Journey Through the Corridors of Power and How You Can Get More Power,” “Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business,” and “Kiss and Make-Up.”