GENE SIMMONS THINKS BANDS SHOULD KEEP AWAY FROM RUSSIA

Gene Simmons equated bands continuing to play Russia with artists who accepted gigs in apartheid-era South Africa. TMZ caught up with the Kiss co-founder who made it clear, in light of what’s happening across the globe, Russia is not the place to be performing: “The problem is, if a Western band plays Russia it gives credence. . . a political win for Putin’s outright lies. I would recommend nobody goes there. Just shut it down. Stop drinking Russian vodka. Just stop it.”

Simmons went on to explain that honoring gigs in Russia — or accepting new bookings there — will only do damage in the long run: “They’re gonna get a lot of pushback from their own fans. I mean, we were faced with the similar problem in Botswana in the days of apartheid. We were offered millions of dollars and we said, ‘No, we can’t go there because if a Western band goes there, you’re saying it’s okay for apartheid and, of course, all the racism and the lack of justice.’ So, we said no. There were some bands that went and, y’know, they paid the price; their fans turned on them.”

Kiss will kick off an eight-date South American run on April 20th in Santiago, Chile’s Movistar Arena.

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