Simmons, Lefsetz To Debate At Canadian Music Week

Industry pundit Bob Lefsetz and outlandish Kiss bassist/gadfly Gene Simmons were poised to square off in a battle royale of massive egos at Canadian Music Week after the pair exchanged e-mail insults on the first day of the conference.

Both Simmons, who launched Simmons Records with Universal Music Canada earlier this year, and Lefsetz, known for his strong opinions on industry issues, traded electronic barbs after each did separate keynotes yesterday.

Simmons and Lefsetz will support their perspectives at a hastily convened debate scheduled for 4 p.m in the main ballroom at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. Lefsetz has sparred with numerous industry figures on his e-mail list, including a well-publicized spat with Kid Rock.

Lefsetz was critical of what he saw as a solely self-promotional appearance by Simmons, who he said had little success with his label in the past.

“Just because you're a big musical act, that doesn't mean you're a decent executive, that you can run a record company,” Lefsetz wrote to the thousands who receive his regular e-mails on the music business.

“That’s like saying a great football coach has to have been a star quarterback. They’re different skills. One that Mr. Simmons has yet to master. Sure, he made that demo tape with Van Halen, but the band ended up on Warner Brothers!”

Simmons responded by calling the pundit a “moron” in an e-mail that Lefsetz sent out to his readers. As for Lefsetz’ request that Simmons stop being self-promotional, Simmons would have none of it.

“I won’t stop telling you how great I am,” Simmons wrote. “Find someone else for that.”

Canadian Music Week organizer Neill Dixon confirmed this morning the debate would go forward.