Gene Simmons: ‘I still fly up to the top of the rafters and spit fire’
Descending to the stage on a flying-saucer is a dangerous business, says the Keane-loving KISS frontman
By Peter Robinson / Guardian
Hello! I am Gene Simmons.
Great. Your summer tour is called the Freedom to Rock tour. Is freedom to rock a right or a privilege?
You’d like to think it’s a right, but it really is a privilege. We can say here in western culture that it’s a right, but that doesn’t mean anything in North Korea, Iran or other places. So, do I think it’s an inalienable human right? Of course. Does it exist like that as a fait accompli? No. You’ve got to fight for it.
When we last spoke, 10 years ago, you told me you were a fan of Keane because they were bringing melody back to music. Do you still like Keane?
I really liked Keane, I thought the guy’s voice was really great. You have to remember Keane came before Coldplay, as far as I understand it. (1) Good songs are good songs, whether it’s Abba, Keane or Motörhead. So, yes, I really liked Keane, but the masses didn’t grab on to them, did they?
They were quite big in the UK.
No, I think you’re misunderstanding. The word “big” has some value: you can’t apply it to “big in Leicester” or “big in Sheffield”. You’re either big worldwide or you’re not big. Otherwise you devalue the word “big”. U2 are big.
I would have said “huge” is a possible next step up from “big”. U2 are huge, Keane were big.
You know, you’re right. These are semantics. But I’m not anti-semantic.
You used that exact same joke when we spoke 10 years ago.
I only know five things, and I repeat them.