Gene Simmons lives.
So do Scott Baio, Charlie Sheen, Cindy Crawford and any other number of celebrities recently rumored to have met untimely demises.
Simmons, the hardest-working, monster-faced bass player in rock 'n' roll, is but the latest to be suited for premature burial.
As "widespread" Internet-fueled gossip had it, USA Today reports, the KISS posterboy succumbed to a drug overdose.
A curious story, considering Simmons, 48, doesn't fit the party-hardy rock mold, and an incorrect story.
"He is alive and well," a publicist for KISS' label, Mercury Records, said today.
Spokeswoman Sheila Richman says she doesn't know where the overdose story came from. She doesn't know when it started. She just knows it's bogus.
It's difficult to pinpoint the origin of erroneous "Hey, did you hear who died?" yarns. You could blame them on the Internet, except there was no such thing as the Internet when 1970s schoolyards buzzed with titillating stuff like, "Hey, did you hear the guy who played Fonzie died?" Or the classic: "Mikey [of liking Life cereal fame] ate Pop Rocks and Coke and died."
Still, even for the ever-churning rumor mill, things have been hopping in recent months. Last December 18, the same day comic actor Chris Farley really did die, coast-to-coast buzz had it that former teen idol Scott Baio had been killed in a car accident.
As the erstwhile Chachi told New York Times Magazine: "...My parents called me, crying. They heard it from my brother, who heard it on the radio. And they're crying, and I'm thinking, 'Someone in my family [died]!' Little did I know it was me."
Last month, when Platoon star Charlie Sheen suffered a (nonfatal) drug overdose, the story again got a morbid slant.
"I was driving in my car and hearing that Charlie Sheen was dead," his father, actor Martin Sheen, told reporters. "That's irresponsible."
And just this past weekend saw the "Cindy Crawford Gets Married" story morphed into "I just saw...that Cindy Crawford had 'reportedly' been shot. Now I'm hearing she's dead. What's the deal?," via Internet postings.
It all makes for an apt title to the new KISS album that the very much alive Mr. Gene Simmons is helping bandmates finish: Psycho Circus.