Gene Simmons has been very vocal when it comes to his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. And this week he cranked things up a notch when he lambasted the political leadership in two Republican-led states for what the Kiss bass player-singer said was their laser focus on re-election rather than making sure their constituents are safe and healthy.
“Always listen to the CDC and the doctors — not stupid politicians,” Simmons, 72, told 95.5 KLOS’ Marci Wiser in a recent interview, adding that it’s “f—ing nuts” that Americans are listening to politicians over scientists. “Not all politicians — evil, self-serving politicians of a certain party who are more interested in getting re-elected than actually saving lives. I can’t tell you how furious I am … The politicians in Texas and Florida — evil, self-serving, just moronic. That includes the president of Brazil.”
Simmons spoke to the station in the wake of bandmate Paul Stanley testing positive for COVID, which forced the veteran greasepaint rockers to postpone three shows so far on their already-delayed final tour. Though Simmons did not name specific politicians, he appeared to be referencing controversial recent decisions by the Republican governors of Texas and Florida to ban mask mandates and other potentially life-saving measures even as their states’ ICUs are facing dire shortages of room due to exploding case loads as a result of the highly contagious Delta variant.
On Friday (Aug. 27), a Florida judge said Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning mask mandates in schools, even as Miami-Dade and Broward counties reported more than 500 COVID cases and 4,000 students and employees in quarantine after just one week of school.
Simmons has been urging the band’s fans to wear masks during the pandemic for more than a year, and he told Wiser that the arguments he’s hearing against vaccinations and masks are, well, not cutting it.
“The idea that somebody says, ‘It’s my body and my choice’ is so idiotic,” he said. “It is not your choice. It is not your body when you come to a red light in your car. You don’t have the right to go through it just ’cause you feel like it and ‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ And here’s why: Because the rest of the world goes on green and stops on red. Just ’cause you feel it’s your right doesn’t give you the right … You actually do not have the right to stand up in a movie theater and yell ‘fire’ just because you think it’s freedom of speech. You don’t have that right. That’s called incitement to riot. There are all sorts of rights you don’t have.”
What it comes down to, Simmons said, is that he believes there should be a vaccination mandate if we’re to get out of this endless virus cycle. “Yes, there should be,” he insisted, noting that he doesn’t believe such a mandate would be an infringement of personal rights. “What freedom? The freedom to infect everybody else? Seven hundred thousand Americans — close to it — are dead because of COVID. Of course it should be a law. As soon as you endanger other people. You do not have the right to smoke in a restaurant or in buildings — you don’t have that right. You know why? Because you’re endangering other people.”
In December, Stanley tweeted that he’s “had enough of the self-serving & politically motivated mask misinformation & BS about this pandemic. I don’t wan to hear about ‘my freedom’ & ‘my rights’ that then infringe on so many other’s.” Simmons also noted that Stanley is “fine” and that he’s “doing the smart thing by staying away from people in his room for a few days … we’re gonna let the doctors and science determine what that is.”
Simmons said a few days ago Stanley’s voice was strained and he was feeling exhausted, prompting the band to play an unplugged set as a three-piece while they awaited word on Stanley’s condition before canceling their End of the Road Tour show at the Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, Pa. When the band start their December-January Las Vegas residency, Simmons said there will be distancing during meet-and-greets, as well as seven-foot tall plexiglass dividers in addition to the recommended social distancing and masking recommendations.
Listen to Simmons’ interview below.
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