In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, numerous artists have announced the cancellation of scheduled performances. Speaking to TMZ, who questioned Simmons about bands that are still planning on heading to Russia, he said: “We’re not going… there’s a bigger issue than putting on a rock concert.”
When the TMZ reporter asked whether there was any possible justification for artists performing shows in Russia, he added: “The only possible upside might be if a band gets up there and makes political statements on stage, which is usually something I’m against but this is beyond politics. This is just lunacy.”
He continued: “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. There were some bands that went, and they paid the price. Their fans turned on them.
“The problem is if a western band plays Russia, it gives credence — a political win for Putin’s outright lies.”
When asked what his message would be to bands still playing in Russia, Simmons said: “I would recommend nobody goes there, just shut it down. Stop drinking Russian vodka, just stop it.”
KISS will begin their European tour in Dortmund on June 1, with an appearance at Download scheduled on June 10.
Recently, Green Day cancelled their upcoming show in Moscow, as did Biffy Clyro and Placebo, who were due to play Moscow’s Park Live 2022. Yungblud also cancelled his upcoming shows in Russia saying he was “heartbroken” because “I know the vicious and brutal acts of the Russian regime in Ukraine over the past week do not reflect the attitudes and ideals of the beautiful people who I have met in Russia in the past.”
Speaking to NME recently about the ongoing war, Bloom Twins’ Sonia Kuprienko said: “Touring in Russia right now doesn’t sound like a good idea. Ukrainians should be hiding while Russians are waiting for us to entertain them? I don’t think that’s logical.”
Singer Anna Kuprienko continued: “People think it’s just a Ukrainian conflict, but don’t even know what’s going to happen later. No one knows what’s going to happen to the Ukraine, no one knows what’s going to happen to the whole of Europe, no one knows what’s going to happen a few days from now. People need to do something to stop this because if it goes any further then it might be very bad for everyone.”