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

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

Ultimate Guitar

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

    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.
    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.
    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.
    Everyone else to Gene Simmons: "Learn not to speak."
    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
    matteo cubano
    "I could think what I wanted to think" -Gene Simmons Freedom is double edged sword.
    "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
    The English language comes from, um, England. Gene should learn to speak Native American.
    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.
    >I just hate the fact so much immigrants. *So many, FTFY. But you're right, it's almost perfect.
    totally agree, If I were going to go to another country I'd at least have the courtesy of learning the language.
    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".
    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.
    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.
    What if I told you that more Japanese people already know English than English people know Japanese.
    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.
    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.
    fact of the matter is, if you want to prosper in this country you better learn to speak english.
    if I was going to move to another country I'd learn the language first, it's just respectful
    The only reason americas official language isnt English is because the language is called English, they'd never have someone elses name on it.
    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.
    America may not have an official Language but by law about 40 states have made their official language English
    and if they dont like it they dont have to ****ing come here in the first place. no ones making them
    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.
    On a very true note. Everyone should start learning Mandarin and German
    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.
    >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.
    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.
    Did you actually read what he said? Your comment suggests otherwise
    I guess, considering how much he talks, that some common sense had to come out of his mouth eventually..... +1 to Gene
    "But they're not black, what are they - racist? Why are they calling themselves 'black?'" Coming from a guy who paints his face white...
    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?
    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.
    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.
    What the f*ck happened to that middle sentence? I somehow wrote "can" instead of "get".
    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.
    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.
    "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
    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***!?
    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.
    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.
    "Get rid off the accent; I did." He was freaking 7 years old!!! Most kids that go to another country at that young age will easily learn another language and speak without an accent. This guys likes to take credit for just about anything... Hey, look! The sun came up this morning. Thanks Gene!
    Wow this guy is a political genius, he must be the first one to think of this. Also why does his opinion matter again?
    next issue. kiss to petition for americas official language to be called kissish and you have to pay royalties to them to speak it.
    Sounds like he is complaining about the accent. Move to a country as a kid, like he did, no accent. Move as an adult, work hard, contribute to your community, speak the language properly, but still have an accent, no good says this jerk.
    He's like the only person that'd be tied with Ted Nugent and Yoko Ono in my mind for the person I'd most like to send into deep space, never to return.
    Oh, and Garageking is a racist. Just because he's not white doesn't give him the right to call someone a "Cracker". Who's the racist using slurs?
    omfg "racist" slurs against white people. Because you can totally be racist against white people. Because white people obviously doesn't benefit from the institutional opression of minorities. Because white people have it sooo hard. Maybe I should've called him a saltine.
    Apparently Gene Simmons is trying to fill in the void for Dave Mustaine, as Dave's been thankfully quiet lately.
    First of all, click bait title is click bait title UG... Second, as a foreigner for the past 5 years in Denmark, I kinda have to agree with him. Usually I would jump on Gene, just because most of the time, when he opens his mouth you want to punch him, but in this case he is right. And I am talking out of my own experience, since when I learned to speak Danish, and note I got around really well in Denmark, never had a problem for 3 years living here, and was great with the danish culture and way of living, but when I learned to speak Danish, it opened a hell of a lot more doors, as well as I could understand better. Living in a country, not knowing the language, even thought ever speaks here English and you can communicate, nonetheless, without the language it is like being deaf and partially blind. As a fellow immigrant, yes, do whatever you can to learn the native language, as well as understand the culture. You dont have to "become one with it" or "get rid of your own", no, but by learning the other perspective of the country your are living in, it will make you understand it much better, and make your life much much easier.
    Tim the Rocker
    Black Lips/Black Keys? What the Hell... And again, Gene can **** off big time. I hope I meet him someday, just to kick his balls (in Europe, to avoid the lawsuit)
    No, do it in America, where the law suit's public record, you'll appear on TV and after that you will be walking down the street with people pointing at you saying "hey that's the dude that kicked Gene Simmons in the balls." Then sell your story, fall into drug addiction, rehab and then have a terrible reality tv show.
    You Americans have this weird thing about free speech. It's part of your Liberty Or Death rhetoric, but you lot certainly have a prejudice about the exercise of free speech.
    But there's nothing about legally stopping the language they speak. Moving to a country and learning the language will get you a lot further than trying to get by in a different native tongue. You don't have to but it is the common practice.
    Freedom of speech means that the government can't fine or jail you for what you say. It doesn't take away other people's right to criticize you for saying something stupid.
    Gene Simmons, who do you think you are?
    He thinks he's Gene Simmons, therefore giving him the right to say what he wants, when he wants. Personally I can't stand him, he thinks that money entitles him to the arrogance he displays regularly. I won't argue with him on the English thing tho. If I was to move to a country that spoke a different language, I would learn the language. Lucky for me I moved from Canada to Australia so I can't complain about that.
    "But they're not black, what are they - racist? Why are they calling themselves 'black?" chuckled
    It's not the immigrants that are the problem; it's the morons that are already here.
    He is right If i went to another country I would make an effort to learn their language and culture and do my best to speak their language. My mom is a great example of an immigrant who came from another country and learned to speak English and is not successful
    Damn Gene youre so rich you never would have to see anybody in America if ypu didnt want to.Private jet,private beach.Just dont tip the pizza man if hes brown.He might tell all his buddies back home how sweet USA is.
    It's don't have, btw. Maybe a English refresher course? We just get tired of having everyone's problems dumped on us, making us a convenient scapegoat. No such thing as white guilt here. Fix your own problems like a man, like we are forced to. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
    One more thing. Just because someone can come to this country legally, learn the language, and assimilate, it doesn't mean that you will be welcomed with open arms in every county of this country. It is not uncommon that people with similar ethnic backgrounds to stick together and form communities. It is also, not uncommon for people to keep 'outsiders' from joining their already established community. I'm not saying that it's right. All I'm saying that it is common. I also find it kind of funny that most people say, speak the language, and assimilate, but then go to Little Italy to eat, or go to Chinatown to buy stuff. Oh hey, why don't we go down the street and eat at that new Thai restaurant? Let us pick which things from your culture you can and can't bring and keep. The United States doesn't have a federal official language. Should everybody learn the language sure. Maybe the Native Americans should've come up with one single language back in the day and made the immigrants learn it.
    It's helpful to learn more than one language and many Americans I know can't speak any language other than english. How are you supposed to communicate with a person who interests you and doesn't speak english?
    Good job Gene, it needed said. I'm tired of having to pretend that it doesn't matter. People who REFUSE to speak English or assimilate, can go right back where they came from. You're not wanted. GO HOME!!!
    Look at what this ****ing cracker said. Y'all pinches gringos should shut up at least for one time in your goddamn life.
    Like start some mini-Iran Or spread some ****ing disease And they talk so many God damn ways It's all Greek to me
    i dont have that much of a problem with people who don't speak english(or speak it badly)...there's always at least some form of communication that can be achieved between two people. the only real issue i have with immigrants is when they try to shove their fvcking religious beliefs down your throat. a lot of them won't take it too far, but when you look at those a$$hole muslim extremists that rally up, preach or try to enforce conversion and talk sh1t in a nation where they've been accepted only to be ungrateful fvcks, then i have a problem with immigrants. either be glad that you're here and be tolerant of a country that takes you in and gives you our tax dollars through social benefits where you are free to be who you are(without trying to force others to be like you), or GET THE FVCK OUT.
    He really is the embodiment of "unpopular opinion puffin" being misused. Of course you should learn the language and culture of the country in which you reside. That's not rule 354 subsection C, that's just common decency. Expect to be treated differently and with less respect if you do not abide by this unwritten rule. It's not "multiculturalism" if you segregate yourself into the little niche with other people of your background and just alienate yourselves from the majority. That's minority racism. Refusing to abide by cultural rules/traditions/language foundations is as arrogant and racist as refusing to let foreigners in your country.
    If you are going to have a job where you serve the public or if you want something from a business you should indeed speak English to those people if that is the language they know. You should not be angry if you speak Spansih and cannot get something or have trouble getting said "thing/service/job" in the USA if you cannot learn a few words of English. Also, if a place ONLY speaks Spanish, you do not have to go there. If an immigrant can get by w/o learning English, who cares? If you can, learn as much of both languages as possible. Spanish speakers aren't going away and the majority of the country isn't going to stop speaking English. This is just a non-issue IMO.
    If you're an immigrant, (try to) learn the language of the country you migrate to. That's a no-brainer, so Gene is right, but the way he says things is so douchey. There's a difference being frank and being dick.
    BLACK LIPS r u kidding me UG In Canada all the immigrants ive worked with say that new immigrants today have it too easy, they stick to their little communities and make little attempt to learn english and ive been screamed at "F***ing Canadian!!" by a random middle eastern man before. This doesnt go for all of them clearly however its a problem when theyre not attempting to learn english that just weakens society.