Hit and Kiss! Gene fought antisemites

Jewish Telegraph, February 2021

ROCK star Gene Simmons has revealed how he headbutted an antisemite in his youth.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about why he had joined the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance, the Kiss frontman told of the incident at a YMCA swimming pool when he was 13.
“I remember coming out of the pool and these two guys got in my face,” Israel-born Simmons said. “One said ‘What are you doing here? You’re Jewish’.
“He started talking about Nazis. I remember thinking about my mother and everything. I leaned forward and said ‘Sorry, I can’t hear you’.
“As he got in my face, I smashed my forehead against his nose. Of course he started bleeding and fell into the pool. And I was thrown out of the YMCA.”
The 71-year-old’s mother Flora was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor.
More than 170 black and Jewish celebrities have joined the BJEA, aiming to counter racism and antisemitism in the entertainment community.’
Simmons told the Daily Mail, that racists should be named and shamed . . . and fired.
He also spoke about problems he encountered when he dated Diana Ross in the 1970s.
“There’s no question that when we walked down the street, other than the celebrity part of it, people would look at you and think ‘What’s she doing with him? What’s he doing with her?’ A dismissive thing, because she’s black and I’m white,” he said.
Simmons — whose band are due to headline the Download Festival in June — added that some musicians aren’t educated,
“Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for the guitar around their neck they’d be asking you if you want more fries with that. They’re not the sharpest tools in the shed,” he said.
“I knew (Motorhead frontman) Lemmy Killmister for many years, I went to his funeral. He was a sweetheart. He loved everybody, we were friends. But Lenny was attracted to Nazi paraphernalia. He used to collect that stuff.
“But you need to pick your targets. The subtle uses of hate, if it becomes fashionable, yes attack that. But the bigger issues are outright hate, neo-Nazi groups.”
Simmons also praised President Trump’s administration for opening dialogue between Israel and the Arab nations — “but that doesn’t give him a pass in the hatred he spewed as a world leader”.
Kiss ended last year with a live-streamed show in Dubai on New Year’s Eve, but Simmons has a more spectacular gig planned for the group, who were in the middle of their farewell tour when the pandemic put a stop to touring.
“I want to play Antarctica,” he told the Daily Mail. “Freezing cold, and set up the largest firework show of all time. I just hope the ice sheet doesn’t fall apart and we go off into the sea.”
Israeli fans will be hoping Haifa-born Simmons fulfills his promise to perform in his home country before the band calls it a day.