In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons offered his thoughts on touring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My druthers would be that everybody is mandated to get vaccines," he said. "I hope everybody is going to be wearing their masks. But we can only control what we can control and different states and different countries have different rules."
Gene also blasted one of the most common arguments raised by dissenters — that vaccine mandates infringe upon unvaccinated people's human rights and civil liberties.
"'I have my rights, don't tell me what to do,'" he said. "Which is curious, because you do not have the right to drive down the highway in a car without a seatbelt. You must stop at a red light. That's not a right you have. And you don't have the right to walk naked down the street. These are not life-threatening ideas. We're talking about a fuckin' pandemic and people are fighting it.
"I blame our former president," Simmons added, referring to Donald Trump, on whose "The Celebrity Apprentice" show he was once a contestant. "I knew the man before he entered politics. But he got vaccinated and so have most of the other party."
In the past, Simmons has criticized people who refused to wear a mask in public spaces to protect others from possible infection. Last December, he told the "Jeremy White Podcast": "Believe what you want, but don't hang out around me. Okay? If you're a denier, stay in the shadows. I don't wanna be around you. 'Cause I don't wanna catch what you've got. It's not about you. It's not whether you believe it or not." He added: "When you sneeze, you put your hand over your mouth. If your dog poops on the ground, you'll pick it up. But you won't pick up a mask?"
That same month, Gene's KISS bandmate Paul Stanley took to his Twitter to write: "Frankly, I've had enough of the self-serving & politically motivated mask misinformation & BS about this pandemic. I don't want to hear about 'my freedom' & 'my rights' that then infringe on so many other's. Those 'rights' & choosing to gather at Thanksgiving got us here. Wake up". Three months earlier, Paul tweeted out a CNN article about an Idaho pastor who was hospitalized with COVID-19 after calling himself a "no-masker" during a service and repeatedly questioning the veracity of coronavirus case reporting. Stanley added in a message: "YOU figure this one out. I can't. A hoax and non-existent virus has put this guy in the ICU. If you're so concerned with a loss of your freedom , Why do you stop at red lights? Don't let the government control you!! Drive right through!!! PUT YOUR MASK ON."