Gene Simmons has confirmed that KISS was inivited to perform at Donald Trump's inauguration but turned it down because it was "not a good idea."
It was Gene's wife Shannon Tweed that originally revealed Trump's camp approached Simmons and his bandmates about participating, telling a TMZ cameraman last December that the KISS bassist/vocalist "politely declined."
Asked in a new interview with The Daily Beast if Shannon was correct in saying that KISS was asked to appear at the January event, Gene said: "That's true. We were invited to perform, but in this polarizing era, it's not a good idea." Simmons added that there was "no reason" for KISS to play the inauguration. "I'm not sure celebrities should be used as brownie points for politicians," he explained. "'Yeah, I'm running for government so I'm going to get some rock bands and performers beside me.' It's all bullshit, really. Once you're trying to influence people by having celebrities beside you, then it becomes who's got the bigger celebrity and all that. And by the way, I'm not a fan of having our foreign policy decided by anybody living in Malibu. Anybody living in Malibu, their opinions aren't worth more than the opinions of somebody living in Wisconsin."
Simmons went on to say that he "didn't necessarily vote for President Trump or candidate Clinton" in last year's presidential election, adding that "it's really nobody's damn business" whom he voted for. "I think you'd be surprised by my choice — but he's President Trump, because even if you don't like the man, you must respect the office of the presidency and the will of the Electoral College," he said.
Prior to last November's election, Simmons — a former contestant on Donald Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" show — told People magazine that he liked how Trump was shaking up the presidential race.
"The important thing about Trump, and I'm not saying whether I'm voting for him, or Hilary [Clinton], or anybody else, is that he has changed the game," Simmons said. "He doesn't want your money. This guy funds his own campaign, and he is going to say things that tens of millions of people actually say quietly because politically it's 'incorrect.'"
In a March 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Simmons described Donald Trump as "the truest political animal I've ever seen onstage." The rocker explained: "He has no speechwriters, no editing, no nothing. He's actually on tape going 'motherfucker.' You cannot turn away."
Simmons stressed at that time that he wasn't saying he was supporting Trump. "He has said some very vile, unkind things," he said. "But don't kid yourself. He speaks off the cuff, and what you see is what you get. And he'll double down. If you ask him about building a wall [between the U.S. and Mexico] he'll say, 'Fuck you, I'm going to make it ten feet higher, just because you asked me.' He's not there to be your friend."
"He's good for the political system," Simmons added. "The middle, the centrists, they can say, 'What do you think of this?' because everybody is sick and tired of being politically correct. Secretly, tens of millions, perhaps a hundred million people may actually have some positive feelings about a wall."