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Music

Gene Simmons feels Russian conflict is "beyond politics"

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has advised bands to postpone or cancel forthcoming concerts in Russia. Simmons informed TMZ that Kiss have no intention of performing there at this juncture in history.

Describing the situation as “beyond politics” and “lunacy”, the songwriting bassist felt it was similar to the stance the band took in the 1980s. “I mean we were faced with the same problem with Botswana in the days of apartheid,” Simmons revealed. “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 OK for apartheid and all the racism and the lack of justice.’ So we said no. There were some bands that went, and they paid the price. Their fans turned on them.”

Simmons likens performing in Russia as a “win” for President Vladimir Putin. Later on in the interview, Simmons advised people to stop drinking the “Russian vodka”, and not to interact with the country. Simmons feels strongly about the act, reiterating that he normally avoids politics. Kiss as a whole avoided politics in their music, feeling that they were there to entertain, rather than change, their audiences.

Simmons isn’t the first artist to speak out against Russia’s actions: Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks compared Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The Police vocalist Sting performed a slower, more pastoral rendition of ‘Russians’, written against the backdrop of the conflict, and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney uploaded a photo of a concert set in Ukraine on his social media.

Queen guitarist Brian May, decided to issue a statement on Instagram, in an effort to declare his shock and horror towards the conflict. Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel also wrote a similarly strongly worded riposte against Putin on social media. Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, gave Ukraine permission to use ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, complete with the hashtag ‘#FUCKRUSSIA’.

Franz Ferdinand, Iggy Pop, Yungblud, Green Day and Louis Tomlinson have cancelled their concerts in Russia. Heavy metal progenitors Iron Maiden have also declared their intentions to cancel their upcoming Russian concerts, as long as the armed conflict persists.