Gene Simmons to Immigrants: 'Learn to Speak Goddamn English'

Also, Black Keys hijack the interview, get a steaming response from the bassist.

Gene Simmons to Immigrants: 'Learn to Speak Goddamn English'
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KISS bassist Gene Simmons decided to give a few blunt tips to fellow immigrants, insisting they must "learn to speak goddamn English" if they want to make it in the States.

56 years ago, Israeli-born Simmons immigrated to the US with his mother, and felt no need for any sort of political correctness in his explanation.

"I was welcomed by America and its people and given all the advantages of native-born children," Gene kicked off. "Which is astonishing, when you think about it, because in other countries, they would have ground me up and put me in a can of dog food. And in America I could think what I wanted to think, do as I pleased and reach for the stars."

Getting down to specific tips, Simmons noted that a simple guideline needs to be followed. "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," he said.

"You're all proud of who you are, where you come from ... Great. Whatever you're proud of, just tip your hat to America, which is the melting pot and makes it all possible. Agree to one culture that we can all communicate with and then go off and speak Swahili and Farsi and whatever you wanna talk.

"I'm actually saying the thing that needs to be said, 'cause the politically correct climate is bulls--t. You don't want to upset anybody by saying, 'Learn to speak goddamn English.' So, as an immigrant, I'm telling you: learn to speak goddamn English. It is the key that will unlock the keys to the kingdom."

Also, an odd thing happened during the chat, as the interview got hijacked by the Black Keys, demanding the surrender of the KISS army. "Mr. Simmons! We're here to tell you that the day of misogynistic, sexist rock 'n' roll is over! We call for the complete and utter surrender of the KISS Army. Lay down your guitars! Do you accept our terms of surrender?" the band shouted.

Gene didn't hesitate to strike back, saying, "Yes. I surrender entirely. And I wanted to compliment your mom for the wonderful way that she designed the decorations in the basement that she lets you live in. I think it's very attractive. I hope you get to leave your mom's basement soon. Remember: Learn to speak English. Good education, that will help. I did it, you can too."

After being told that the Black Keys and not merely three random guys wearing makeup and living in their mom's basement, Simmons asked, "But they're not black, what are they - racist? Why are they calling themselves 'black?'"

102 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    mitchgosche2011
    To be fair, Gene actually has a point here. He's not telling them "learn English because I can't stand to hear your gibberish". He's telling them to learn English because living in the United States and not knowing English makes any type of success next to impossible.
    guitar_guy00
    If I wanted to move to Germany or France or some other foreign country I would have to learn to speak the native language as well as learn how to live with out the benefits of being a natural born citizen,and that's a fact. So I don't understand why people get so offended when someone suggest that immigrants who come to America learn how to speak English.
    badfish_lewis
    It's because many people these days are afraid to say what they really think due to the extreme political correctness that now permeates the Western world. Of course people moving to the USA should learn English, it's a no brainer.
    theclassicrock
    Everyone else to Gene Simmons: "Learn not to speak."
    metallideth88
    But its true. They go to America thinking its some kind of heaven. They should at least learn the language. There, I said it. Down vote all you want
    ounceler
    You are an idiot. America has no official language, and it never will. Therefore people should be allowed to speak whatever language they want. This is the alleged "land of the free". If you don't like it you can move away. Don't flatter yourself by the way. Not everyone comes to America thinking its "heaven".
    badfish_lewis
    Please, while the USA has no official language it is the common tongue of the nation and thus should be learned by everyone who lives there. I would not go to live in Japan and not learn Japanese. I think you should not flatter yourself with your trumped up ultra PC thinking.
    Igamikun
    Actually English is quite popular in Japan and many other nations. English is the prominent language of America and is the most common language for business and such worldwide. Ounceler's point is just plain oblivious, you shouldn't go to any country without a basic understanding of a commonly used language there.
    ounceler
    Ignorance. Japan has an official language, they speak Japanese. Americans do not speak American. We have no official language because we are diverse and a much larger nation. It is absolutely narrow minded to assume the language you speak must be learned. If any of you could take an unbiased look at how moving to America is different than moving to a country like Japan. Many people in America speak Spanish, I suppose in your minds that is not proper either? fools. I am sure many of your ancestors came here without speaking the English language, many of them probably too poor or too old to learn it.
    Charvel1030
    fact of the matter is, if you want to prosper in this country you better learn to speak english.
    Dyn101
    The only reason americas official language isnt English is because the language is called English, they'd never have someone elses name on it.
    Sixxstarr
    if I was going to move to another country I'd learn the language first, it's just respectful
    third(-)eye
    Americans generally speak English, because the English conquered Eastern America all those years ago, and then when the states won their independence they bought/conquered/converted all of the other states. Not ALL of them do, but very few don't speak it at all.
    The_Wilrus
    In fact many US based companies (and some Eupoean) that do a lot of business world wide make English there "native" language. I for one work for a Swiss company in over 180 countries and no matter where you work you must be able to read, write and speak English. It's an interesting attribute of working for a global company.
    EricSchC1
    What if I told you that more Japanese people already know English than English people know Japanese.
    RnFnR95
    and if they dont like it they dont have to ****ing come here in the first place. no ones making them
    Guild235
    America may not have an official Language but by law about 40 states have made their official language English
    matteo cubano
    "I could think what I wanted to think" -Gene Simmons Freedom is double edged sword.
    Dynamight
    "Everything is a double-edged sword. Nothing isn't a double edged sword. Even a single-edged sword is a double-edged sword." -Louis CK
    matteo cubano
    i thought of that quote shortly after writing this and couldn't remember who said it, thank you
    metallideth88
    By the way, my first language is Spanish but I also speak almost perfect english. I just hate the fact so much immigrants want to go and invade and migrate to America and be there illegally.
    Alex011
    >I just hate the fact so much immigrants. *So many, FTFY. But you're right, it's almost perfect.
    twiggy3634
    The English language comes from, um, England. Gene should learn to speak Native American.
    andres.delhaas
    so true, and not only in the USA, in the good parts of europe (Germany the netherlands belgium and more) same story. They think this is a place where you get the money the house the car the phone the computer for free.
    entropicxdisson
    totally agree, If I were going to go to another country I'd at least have the courtesy of learning the language.
    metallideth88
    On a very true note. Everyone should start learning Mandarin and German
    kratos379
    If you want to learn those two languages, more power to you, but there's really no reason to learn them unless you plan to live in those two countries. Living in the US, people should learn to speak English for the pure fact that it brings so many opportunities. Learning Mandarin or German won't help you much if you're going to stay in the US. Most Germans and Chinese learn English when they come to America anyway.
    Alex011
    >but there's really no reason to learn them unless you plan to live in those two countries You should know by now that knowing Mandarin or German is going to be incredibly useful, considering recent economic developments taking place in the last few decades. If you're smart and want to have an upper hand in the job market you should definitely learn these, especially mandarin.
    Abacus11
    In the last few weeks Gene Simmons has lashed out verbally against poor people, young people and now immigrants. This guy's never been exactly "bright" but he's getting into Nugent territory now. Seriously, f*ck off.
    howyjr
    Did you actually read what he said? Your comment suggests otherwise
    jonathan.herron
    I guess, considering how much he talks, that some common sense had to come out of his mouth eventually..... +1 to Gene
    cemerson2012
    "But they're not black, what are they - racist? Why are they calling themselves 'black?'" Coming from a guy who paints his face white...
    1916
    Are you not allowed to say black anymore? Did the Black Keys come out saying something like "Kiss are the most Jewy rock band of the 70's" or something?
    dewitt
    I'm not sure if he was purposefully trying to be ironic after complaining about the politically correct bullshit or if that was an accident.
    Izzy-Sweet
    He is right this time. When we go on holiday abroad, we learn a few lines to help us out with a few things and that's fine because we're not living there. Unfortunately, you can immigrants even in England who haven't even tried learning the language. STORY TIME: In one case, it lead to a very embarrassing exchange I witnessed at a local dentists. Some immigrant family was trying to get themselves set up for appointments and the staff there were trying to ask for their address. The mother of said family kept trying to hand money over the counter to which the staff had to decline over and over... I can't remember the conclusion but I imagine they gave up and left in the end.
    Izzy-Sweet
    What the f*ck happened to that middle sentence? I somehow wrote "can" instead of "get".
    axelgarcia1
    I'm an immigrant and i think people should learn the language of whatever country they're moving into. i know its hard, but you just have to put effort into it.
    Manovvar
    depending where you're at(unless it's some intolerant redneck swamp-hole), many people will be patient and help understand with people struggling to communicate. put all the effort you want, just know you're not forced to try hard to speak a language, just because d-bags like gene simmons says you have to.
    kareymogg
    "You don't want to upset anybody by saying, 'Learn to speak goddamn English.' " So you set the article name to: "Gene Simmons to Immigrants: 'Learn to Speak Goddamn English'" Seems fair
    eatfresh1736
    Read the next sentence: "I'm telling you: learn to speak goddamn English" He actually did say that.
    link no1
    I fully agree with him. It goes for ANY country. If I moved to another country, lets say Japan, I would be expected to learn Japanese. I wouldn't be able to function in Japan without knowing it since most of it's population either don't speak it or don't speak it very well. For some reason, in the UK at least, it seems to not be expected that immigrants have to learn the common language. In fact, it seems to be expected that the native residents cater to the immigrants instead. We can't tell them to learn English without everybody getting offended due to the over the top political correctness we have to put up with. I wouldn't mind but, isn't English the most common language worldwide? There has been a few times where I've encountered an immigrant, either asking me something or me asking them, that didn't speak a bloody word of English. Some of them even own shops! How can you expect to run a business if you don't speak the local language!? I mean, what the actual f***!?
    StrikeoftheBeas
    Not speaking the common language of the Nation you live in condemns you to a life of manual labor...or telemarketing in India I suppose.
    Skuzzmo
    I don't usually enter into this type of name calling of celebs but after reading something else, totally unrelated to this article, Mr Simmons has commented on I would like to say... Mr Simmons, you are an ignorant shit stain of a person who should keep his mouth shut and keep his objectionable thoughts to himself. I am disappointed in myself that my support of Kiss over the years has helped in putting you into a position of authority where people actually listen to you.