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Kiss Founder Gene Simmons Says Band’s ‘Heart and Soul Lies in England’

Kiss
Peter Cade, Getty Images

Kiss may come from America, but to hear bassist Gene Simmons tell it, their musical “heart and soul lies in England.” In London to serve as host of the Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards show recently, Simmons testified about the influence of English rock stars on his own music.

Speaking to Absolute Radio, the “God of Thunder” took an extremely refreshing break from promoting the galaxy of Kiss-related merchandise to speak at length about music. Specifically, the ’60s and ’70s heyday of English rock. He expressed amazement at the mountain of music that came from such a small place in such a short time:

“The entire notion that a small island… out of all the countries on the face of the Earth, should have an overwhelming, monumental output of music (is amazing). From the early ’60s through the end of the ’70s, if you take a look at the bands that came out of England, it simply usurps anybody else’s claims to have done anything at all. That includes America, who invented rock and roll in the first place, and the electric guitar.”

He goes on to cite the Beatles as proof that something magical was afoot in England back in the day: “There must be something in the water. I don’t know what it is. You couldn’t foresee four guys coming out of Liverpool. Liverpool! Are you kidding me? It defies logic.”

Simmons also gives praise to the holy trinity of English guitar gods – Page, Clapton, and especially Jeff Beck, of whom he says, “Famous isn’t the right word for Jeff Beck. You know jazz players don’t really think much of rock players, and country players have a different soul. Well, Beck can do it all.”

After a much-deserved shout out to “my beloved Humble Pie,” Simmons reveals the soundtrack to his backstage pre-show makeup rituals: “There may as well be a sign on my door saying ‘Only English music allowed!’”

In typically understated fashion, the “demon” wraps up his thoughts by admitting theft and demanding information: “I want to know what God you pray to, because I want to get some of that magic. I’ve ripped off so many English riffs, if the British influence wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be here. ‘Rock and Roll all Nite‘ is a direct bastard child of Slade’s ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now.’”

Watch Gene Simmons Get Interviewed with Absolute Radio

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