Nikki Sixx says that he is “thinking of trademarking” the middle-finger gesture.
The MÖTLEY CRÜE and SIXX:A.M. bassist apparently made his comment in jest in response to yesterday’s report that Gene Simmons was looking to claim the “devil horns” hand gesture for his own.
Simmons filed an application last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the hand signal fans and rockers alike hold up during shows, in which the index and pinkie fingers are extended, the middle and ring finger are curled into the palm, and the thumb either sticks out from the hand like an errant branch from a tree or is also curled into the palm. The KISS bassist/vocalist claimed the gesture was first used in commerce on November 14, 1974, which corresponds to KISS‘s “Hotter Than Hell” tour. He wrote in his signed declaration that he believes “no other person, firm, corporation or association has the right to use said mark in commerce, either in the identical form or in such near resemblance.”
Most music fans have slammed Simmons for the trademark request, saying the symbol has become ubiquitous and means different things to different people.
In American Sign Language, it means “I love you.” It is also very similar to the motion Spider-man is known to make in movies and his comics to activate his powers, and is featured on the album cover for THE BEATLES‘ 1966 single, “Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby”, which showed John Lennon making the gesture nearly a decade before KISS was even formed.
Although Ronnie James Dio is considered one of the originators of the devil horns, he reportedly didn’t start using it on stage until after joining BLACK SABBATH in 1979.
Earlier today, Sixx sent out a tweet with the widely used middle-finger emoji, saying that he was “thinking of trademarking” it.
The middle finger, which is generally considered an obscene and insulting gesture, has a long history that dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It originally represented the phallus but has come to be recognized as a sign of disrespect.
Sixx and Simmons last year engaged in a war of words over the KISS star’s admittedly callous remarks regarding Prince‘s death. Nikki stated at the time that Gene‘s “heartless and uneducated remarks” about Prince‘s passing show “why he’s not my hero anymore or anybody’s. I think that he is an overrated, lucky guy that dresses like a clown. He wrote some good songs, but hasn’t in a long time, and loves to brag about himself.”