KISS founder Gene Simmons, who was born in Israel, has a message for other immigrants coming to America to make a new life: Learn to speak (bleep-bleep) English!
In an interview with HuffPost Live on Monday, Simmons got emotional talking about the open arms he found here when he moved to the United States with his mother when he was 8 1/2 years old.
“In America I could think what I wanted to think, do what I please and reach for the stars,” he said.
America has been very, very good to him, no argument there. He’s a rock legend, entrepreneur – his Rock & Brews recently opened in Overland Park – and owner of an Arena League football team that will be featured on the reality series, “4th and Loud.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
He’ll reportedly be coming back to KC on Sept. 29 to sing the national anthem before the Chiefs-Patriots game.
(Update: A Chiefs spokesman said on Tuesday that Simmons will not be singing the anthem, contrary to news from his restaurant chain that he had plans to do so.)
“In America I’ve learned you have an inferred fiduciary duty to learn how to speak English,” he told HuffPost Live. “Get rid of your accent. I did. Be a legal immigrant. I’m a legal immigrant. Come to the country, just buckle your knees a little bit, make the effort to learn the culture, assimilate to the point that you can ...
“Agree to one culture that we can all communicate with and then go off and speak Swahili and Farsi and whatever you want to talk.”
“You open a can of words,” host Ricky Camilleri warned him.
“No it’s not. No it’s not. I'm actually saying the thing that needs to be said because the politically-correct climate is bull***t,” Simmons countered.
“You don't want to upset anybody by saying, 'Learn to speak ***damn English.’ So, as an immigrant, I’m telling you: Learn to speak ***damn English. It is the key that will unlock the keys to the kingdom.”
Watch the rest of the interview below to hear Simmons’ bottom line: “How about this: If Siri can't understand you, you're in trouble.”