Gene Simmons Names The Role Model For Keith Richards And John Lennon


KISS bassist Gene Simmons mentioned the first time he heard Chuck Berry on a recent episode on the Adam Carolla Show. The musician stated that Chuck Berry was a huge inspiration for him, the Beatles icon John Lennon, and the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

There are several reasons Chuck Berry is known as the Father of Rock and Roll, from his touching lyrics, developing a music style that had guitar solos, to bringing showmanship to life. The musician inspired so many guitarists with the riffs and rhythms he created that almost all rock stars mentioned him when they talked about starting to make their music.

When the documentary called ‘Chuck Berry’ was made, it included many stories and anecdotes from great musicians such as Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, and Joe Perry. The Godfather of Shock Rock once indicated that Chuck Berry was one of the reasons hard rock will never die. Moreover, Cooper called Berry the originator of what they do, and he’s not the only musician who feels this way.

During the recent interview, Simmons recalled the first time he heard Chuck Berry and Little Richard on the radio. He told how he began dancing without understanding any of the words in the songs, which is why those musicians have a special place in his heart. Many years after hearing his songs, Simmons noted that he felt honored to speak at Chuck Berry’s funeral. According to him, without Chuck Berry, Simmons himself, John Lennon, and Keith Richards could not make the music they do.

Simmons said in the interview that:

“I never heard of the Beatles until much later. The first music I heard was Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and all that. All I remember is not understanding the words and starting to just make my body move. Fast forward many years later, I was proudly asked by the Berry family to do a eulogy for Chuck Berry’s funeral.

I couldn’t keep it together. It was just heartbreaking. He was there in an open casket. As it happened, I played at that place the day before they asked me to speak. I mean, what can you say? If it weren’t for Chuck, there’d be no Kieth Richards or Lennon. You know, the backbone of rock and roll is all Chuck.”

You can watch the interview and Simmons’ speech at Chuck Berry’s funeral below.