Kiss rocker Gene Simmons hails ‘insane' visit to Houses of Parliament
Kiss star Gene Simmons said he witnessed “controlled chaos” during his “insane” visit to the Houses of Parliament to watch Prime Minister’s Questions.
The singer and bassist, in the UK for the band’s End Of The Road tour, was a guest of DUP MP Ian Paisley (North Antrim) and received a private tour before making his first trip into the Commons chamber.
Simmons described Parliament as “hallowed ground” in terms of democracy and was left in awe of the history of the building.
He also witnessed Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner challenge Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden over the Government’s handling of the Covid inquiry, with the pair standing in while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits the US.
Simmons, who worked as a sixth-grade teacher before “I stuck my tongue out for a living” with Kiss, said “democracy is messy if you don’t know how to use it right”.
The bassist told the PA news agency: “Democracy is the only hope for mankind and the astonishing give and take of the monarchy, and existing, working democracy co-existing at the same time is fascinating, it’s almost like nowhere else in the world.”
Simmons, speaking in central lobby, added on the exchanges in the Commons: “What I just saw in there was controlled chaos. It was the clash of wills but respectful – the right honourable so and so, it was fascinating.
“In America, it’s like the middle finger is a salute. I think Americans can take a big lesson in civility in how to make democracy actually work and still respect the other side.
“It bears noting that the coin that you use in trade actually has two different faces that don’t resemble each other at all but they both lay claim to the sovereignty of the coin. They both have the right to say ‘I am that coin’.
“Likewise, the person who disagrees with you has every right to say ‘This is my England as well’.”
Asked if he had visited Parliament before, Simmons said: “Never to Parliament – taught it to my students but never was physically here and I will tell you, touching a piece of granite that’s over 1,000-years-old is insane.
“America is so young and has no sense of history, everything over there is just fast, immediate, instant gratification and there’s no time to sit there and just gaze, I mean, look where you are – it’s insane. We’re standing on, in terms of democracy, hallowed ground.”
On plans for the rest of the day, Mr Paisley joked: “He’s doing a private concert as a DUP fundraiser – that’s a lie!”
Asked about the final tour for Kiss, Simmons said: “You have got to have some dignity and pride, you’ve got to know when to get off the stage.”
Mr Paisley earlier explained: “Gene is a guest, he’s a real knowledgeable guy about the history of this place, he’s got a genuine interest both in the history and the theology behind all this stuff, and he’s had a private tour and he’s been able to visit Deputy Prime Minister’s question time.
“It’s great to have him here, an honour to have guests here and it’s great when they’re passionate and interested and they can tell the world about the importance of this building and democracy and what it means for people here.”