Ian Cohen | Rolling Stone
Just hours before the opening ceremony of his new Rock & Brews chain, Gene Simmons caused a minor stir on Twitter during a Fox and Friends interview in which he endorsed Mitt Romney for president, claiming that “America is a business and should be run by a businessman.” Such a blatantly capitalist statement isn’t surprising from Simmons – as he told Rolling Stone minutes before he’d make his red carpet entrance with his family in tow, “I’m not outspoken, I just say things that make people say, ‘yeah, you’re right.’ I hate Nazis like you do and I hate bullshit.”
In fact, the El Segundo branch of Rock & Brews felt as much like a subtly protracted dry run for a potential Simmons 2016 candidacy as it was a restaurant opening. In part of the introductory presentation, he exclaimed “El Segundo may mean ‘the second city’ in Spanish, but today it’s the first city!” Admittedly, the restaurant’s ambitions to connect with the city are very real if bluntly wielded – earlier in the day, Rock & Brews had a luncheon to benefit the Wounded Warrior program, and during the presentation, two dismembered soldiers with Purple Hearts were presented with a $25,000 check. Prior to the presentation, Simmons led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. “If you know it, say it with me. If you don’t, shame on you,” he intoned as American flags waved on television monitors.
In line with Rock & Brews’ concurrent opening at the Delta Terminal in nearby LAX, it’s essentially and proudly an up-the-middle sports bar with pictures of The Who on the walls; despite being a collaboration between a rock legend and a couple of big-shot entrepreneurs, it doesn’t clash with the sleepy, suburban surroundings. As the introductory three-minute video came to a close, Bob Seger’s “Main Street” played, a likely allusion to the fact that Rock & Brews is actually located on Main Street in downtown El Segundo.