Gene Simmons, the US rock icon of KISS fame, has some advice for members of Northern Ireland's suspended Stormont Assembly – get back to work!

Not only that, but the make-up-clad rocker with the famously long tongue has a new pal in Ian Paisley, Jr - the North Antrim DUP MP and son of the infamous, late Ian, Sr – who pulled some strings to let KISS’s private plane land in London last week without incident.

How did this most unlikely of stories come about?

Well, KISS, currently on its End of the Road tour – supposedly the band’s last – was having difficulty landing their jet because Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky was in London around the same time.

Simmons told the BBC Radio show Good Morning Ulster that a band crew member “I guess” knew Ian Paisley, Jr and that the MP "was a big fan.”

"I had known about his father, of course, legendary Ian, Sr, with what he did for Ireland," Simmons said.

('What he did,' of course, is a matter for interpretation.)

"Anyway, he invited me to come visit him in the House of Commons," Simmons continued.

"What happened was that all the airports in England closed down because Mr. Zelensky, the head of Ukraine, was coming into England, and for political reasons, they closed down all airports."

He continued: "And the MP (Paisley) called and asked for a favor and all of a sudden our private jet was the only one that was allowed to land near London, and so it was, we landed.

"I was grateful, of course, and early morning today went down to the House of Commons, met Ian [Paisley, Jr] and everybody.

"It was actually quite an amazing day. The history and the hallowed halls of democracy, it was very inspiring."

Simmons shared a picture of his visit to the UK Parliament on June 7:

Visiting the UK Parliament, by invite of MP Ian Paisley was truly an honor. Here I am with two gentleman in Parliament who wanted to make sure I was behaving myself.

— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) June 7, 2023

The Good Morning Ulster host went on to explain how "at the moment, we don't actually have an operating government in Northern Ireland because Stormont is currently not working, but I'm sure if Stormont gets up and running at some stage you'd be very welcome in Belfast too."

Simmons responded: "It's important for that to happen because the people's business needs to get done.

"Northern Ireland is just as important as any country on the face of the planet and you can't have people pointing fingers...

"People have their lives to lead and it's the government's job to take care of people's needs.

"So, I hope everything gets back in order in Northern Ireland and the people's business must be done by the elected officials."

Simmons also shared that he visited the Dail in Dublin a “few years back,” but “didn’t quite get” a meeting with the Taoiseach at the time.

Paisley, Jr was quite impressed by his VIP guest, telling the PA: “Gene is a guest, he’s a real knowledgeable guy about the history of this place, he’s got a genuine interest both in the history and the theology behind all this stuff, and he’s had a private tour and he’s been able to visit Deputy Prime Minister’s question time.

“It’s great to have him here, an honour to have guests here and it’s great when they’re passionate and interested and they can tell the world about the importance of this building and democracy and what it means for people here.”

*This column first appeared in the June 14 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.