Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has filed an application to trademark the “devil’s horns” hand gesture that has become famous in hard rock and heavy metal circles over the last several decades. In case you don’t know what we’re talking about, here’s the image submitted with the application.
The hand gesture has a long history. According to Wikipedia, it’s been a superstitious way to ward off evil ever since the 5th century BC. In American Sign Language, the gesture means “I love you.” In some cultures, it’s a symbol for cuckold. And of course, it’s also the gesture Spider-Man uses to shoot web.
Simmons’ application focuses on the gesture’s use in “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”
According to the application, Simmons first used the symbol as early as Nov. 14, 1974. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, that date lines up with Kiss’ Hotter Than Hell tour. In 1977, he posed with the devil’s horn gesture on the cover of Love Gun.
We’ll see if Simmons can make a strong enough case that the famous gesture isn’t too generic for him to trademark. Many rock artists have used the gesture since Kiss became famous, and even before then John Lennon posed with it on the cover of Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby in 1966.
It won’t help his case that The New York Times credited Ronnie James Dio, who played with Black Sabbath and Rainbow, with popularizing the devil’s horn hand gesture.
Simmons rarely misses a chance to earn some cash, and trying to trade mark this gesture is far from his craziest money-making attempt. His band is making millions off officially licensed Kiss air guitar strings.
Yup, that’s just a bag of air.