In a brand new interview with Yahoo! Music, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, who competed in Donald Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2007, once again praised his former boss for transforming American politics but stopped short of formally endorsing him in the White House race.
"What you see is what you get," Gene said. "He has no filter. I knew him before 'Celebrity Apprentice', privately in clubs and in social situations. He's the same guy. Some people like it, some people don't. But he is the same guy. I'm not going to say if I think that's good or bad."
Simmons also slammed artists who insert themselves into politics, believing they can sway people into believing and voting as they would.
"They should all shut their pieholes," Gene said. "I really believe democracy doesn't work well when celebrities butt their heads into places they don't belong. And what I mean by that is because you've got fans — Katy Perry [who performed for Hillary Clinton at the recent Democratic National Convention], Gene Simmons, Chubby Checker, I don't care who you are — you've got influence, and your fans tend sometimes to do stuff they would normally not do just because they're your fans. I think when celebrities tell you who they're voting for, that rapes the democratic process.
"It's worth noting that when you go into a voting booth there's a curtain," Simmons continued. "It's nobody's damn business who you're voting for. I'd like to think people that are voting are voting their conscience and for that reason I don't think people should care who Gene Simmons is voting for."
Back in 2012, Simmons expressed regret over his endorsement of President Barack Obama in 2008, telling Fox News' "Fox and Friends", "Hindsight is 20/20. I have some real issues with the economy and how it's being done. America should be in business and it should be run by a businessman."
He continued: "America is a business. If you can't afford to do something, no matter how much bellyaching everybody does… I'm so sorry, if you can't afford it, you shouldn't do it. If you can afford to take care of two kids. Have two kids. Don't have ten kids. If you can't afford to have a $400,000 home, you can afford a $100,000 home, then do that."
Asked by host Gretchen Carlson who his pick for president was at the time, Simmons responded: "Strictly speaking on the economy and in my humble opinion, Mitt Romney."
Paul Stanley was the first member of KISS to make it clear celebrities should stay out of politics.
"I don't know what's more embarrassing, these musicians and actors talking about politics in interviews or the media actually giving them credibility about it," Stanley said. "It's absurd that a celebrity could speak out on the economy or politics with no more justification than a hit album or a movie. Not to deride Gene, but I just think he's part of a symptom of absurdity where you'll see somebody on television whose only criteria for being there is success in a field far away from what they're being asked about. I really don't know who is more ridiculous, the celebrity answering these political questions or the person asking them."
He continued: "I'm usually not at a loss for words, but this whole celebrity political thing always gets me. It's so embarrassing to see people with absolutely no inside knowledge of anything they are talking about. I have friends who are intimately involved with world affairs and these are the people who won't give opinions like these celebrities do. For my friends, it's far more complex and sensitive than that, unlike these celebrities who read some newspaper story, or watch CNN, and then spout out some opinion on something they truly don't know anything about."