Gene Simmons wants to trademark devil’s horns hand gesture

Gene Simmons throws the horns
Gene Simmons throws the horns (Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Kiss star Gene Simmons has filed an application at the US Patent and Trademark Office to register the iconic devil’s horns hand gesture which is used by rock and metal fans the world over.

The Hollywood Reporter say that the bassist and vocalist claims he first used the hand gesture in November, 1974, during the band’s Hotter Than Hell tour.

A diagram of the action was included in the application and is described as consisting “of a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.”

Simmons is making the claim for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist – personal appearances by a musical artist.”

However, it would appear that the hand signal dates back to the 5th century BC and the founder of Buddhism, while John Lennon is seen using the gesture in photographs taken at the time of the release of the Yellow Submarine movie in 1968. The cover of Coven’s 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls also featured members of the band making a similar hand gesture – although the thumb is positioned differently to Simmons’ application.

In many Mediterranean countries, it is seen as offensive, while in American sign language, it creates a sign meaning ‘I love you.’

The trademark application has been accepted by US Patent and Trademark Office but has not yet been assigned to an examiner.

Kiss have a handful of live dates remaining on their current world tour. Find a list of their remaining shows below.

UPDATE: Coven have posted the following on their Facebook page:

Kiss remaining 2017 tour dates

Jul 14: Bridgeview Chicago Open Air, IL
Jul 15: Hinckley Grand Casino, MN
Jul 16: Bridgeview Chicago Open Air, IL

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.