Wendy Dio slams Gene Simmons for devil horns claim

Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons (Image credit: Will Ireland)

Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy has slammed Gene Simmons for attempting to trademark the famous devil horns hand sign which is used by rock and metal fans all over the world.

It was revealed earlier this week that the Kiss bassist and vocalist had filed an application at the US Patent and Trademark Office to register a gesture “with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular.”

The late Ronnie James Dio is widely credited with popularising a different version devil horns sign which he learned from his grandmother as a way to ward off evil – and when asked what she thinks of Simmons’ plan, Wendy says it’s “disgusting.”

She tells The Wrap: “To try to make money off of something like this is disgusting. It belongs to everyone – it doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s a public domain, it shouldn’t be trademarked.”

Wendy compares Simmons’ plan to trying to trademark the peace sign and adds: “It’s laughable, I think, quite honestly. I think he’s made a complete fool of himself.”

The cover of Coven’s 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls also featured members of the band making a similar hand gesture – and vocalist Esther “Jinx” Dawson has also called out the Kiss star.

She says: “I did the sign of the horns when Coven started in late 1967. I never trademarked my sign because it was meant for all to do, although it is legally ‘grandfathered in’ to me for use in music by all the history.

“Gene does not even do the sign properly. He is doing the deaf sign for ‘love’. If he dares to go through with his application, I shall sue on behalf of us all.”

Former Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx added a bit of humour to the debate by tweeting that he was thinking of registering the ‘middle finger’ gesture.

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.