Gene Simmons Thinks All Bands Should Halt Russian Performances
Russia officially invaded Ukraine the morning of Thursday, Feb. 24. The New York Times reports that the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol, Mykolaiv and the capitol city of Kyiv are enduring the brunt of the attacks at the present time.
A TMZ reporter mentioned to Simmons that several bands still plan to head to Russia as of now, in which he replied, "We're not going... there's a bigger issue than putting on a rock concert."
The musician noted that he thinks the only possible justification for performing a show in Russia would be to make political statements during the show, which is something that he typically opposes. "But this is beyond politics. This is just lunacy," he added.
As for the bands who don't protest Russia, Simmons is confident that they're going to be scrutinized by their fanbases.
"I mean we were faced with the same problem with Botswana in the days of apartheid. We were offered millions of dollars, but we said, 'No, we can't go there, because if a western band goes there, you're saying it's okay for apartheid and all the racism and the lack of justice.' So we said no," Simmons recalled. "There were some bands that went, and they paid the price. Their fans turned on them."
The shows Simmons was referring to was a series of concerts at the Sun City resort in South Africa. At the time, the country had a racially segregated apartheid government, which lasted until the early 1990s, and many musicians protested against the nation. Steven Van Zandt (aka Little Steven) actually founded the group Artists United Against Apartheid in 1985 as a result.
"The problem is if a western band plays Russia, it gives credence — a political win for Putin's outright lies," Simmons further declared.
Ultimately, he recommends bands don't play shows there. "Stop drinking Russian vodka, just stop it," he concluded.
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KISS will be heading to Europe in early June, but Russia isn't included in their tour route. Among the bands that have canceled Russian performances thus far are Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Bring Me the Horizon, Iggy Pop and more. Behemoth, Russia's Pussy Riot, Ukraine's Jinjer and a few other bands have provided assistance to Ukraine to help during the crisis.