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Gene Simmons of Legendary Rock Band KISS: “When I’m in Hungary, I feel like I’m coming home”

Fanni Kaszás 2019.08.10.

Gene Simmons,  musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor and television personality, guitarist and co-lead singer of the legendary rock band Kiss, whose turning 70 this month, talked to Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet about the band’s three-year-long farewell tour, where they also say goodbye to Hungarian fans. Simmons, who has been with Kiss for almost half a century, was born in Israel but actually has Hungarian origins.


Best known as the fire breathing, blood splitting and larger than life co-founder of hard rock supergroup, KISS, Simmons was actually born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel on 25 August, 1949 to Jewish-Hungarian parents Flóra Klein and Ferenc Witz, both of whom hailed from the northeastern corner of the country, her mother being born in the small village of Jánd. At the age of 8, he moved with his Holocaust-survivor mother to the Jackson Heights neighbourhood, while his father remained in Israel. Simmons, who later adopted his mother’s maiden name Klein, has described his childhood as 'dirt-poor', scraping by on bread and milk.

Hungarian Roots: Gene Simmons, Co-Lead And Guitarist Of Legendary Rock Band KISS

In the interview with Magyar Nemzet, in addition to the planned Hungarian concert, Simmons talked about his Hungarian roots as well:

When I was little, I knew a lot of Hungarian songs. My mother used to sing Hungarian songs to me every day. One of my favorites was one that starts with Van nekem az égen egy kis csillagom (I have a little star in the sky)…

He added that sometimes he comes on business tours to Hungary and he always feels like he is back home, and usually try to speak as much Hungarian as he can. He added that he also loves Hungarian cuisine, such as pancakes, goulash soup – and he used to eat pancakes almost every day at home in his youth. Simmons said that the country should be respected as

Hungary was the only state in the communist bloc that rebelled against the Russians in 1956. 

Simmons, who is a native Hungarian speaker and did the interview in Hungarian, promised that Kiss will definitely say goodbye to their Hungarian fans on their three-year-long tour – and after performing three times in Hungary, the band will visit the country again for the last time during its End of the Road World Tour.

featured photo: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images