KISS bassist and co-vocalist Gene Simmons supports COVID-19 vaccine mandates and blames former U.S. President Donald Trump for the current state of the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, the veteran rocker isn't "worried if an idiot gets COVID and dies," he says.

Those three points float to the top in an interview Simmons gave to UCR that emerged on Monday (Aug. 9). The chat arrived about a week ahead of the relaunch of The End of the Road World Tour, KISS' supposedly final final concert trek that resumes another United States leg on Aug. 18 in Massachusetts. Scheduled to extend into 2022, Simmons tells UCR there'll be more global stops in "anywhere between 150 to 200 cities."

With the world still deep in a pandemic, though, touring will be decidedly different than it was before KISS were forced off the road — along with most other acts — in March 2020. It was around then that the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

"My druthers would be that everybody is mandated to get vaccines," Simmons shares now, 18 months later. "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."

One noticeable change to KISS' upcoming gigs, as the band's co-founder explains — "We're not doing any meet and greets," Simmons says. "Obviously, we're giving up a pretty penny because fans pay a premium to come up and take photos and stuff. That's gone." Further, the band is "not allowing roadies or anybody else to be anywhere backstage unless they're vaccinated and the masks are on the whole time," he adds.

Concerts have become a microcosm of the vaccine battle. There remains a substantial group of people throughout the U.S. who refuse vaccination, the ideas of which the KISS showman has no problem filleting.

"I have my rights, don't tell me what to do," Simmons lampoons of those against COVID-19 vaccines. "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 says of Trump, whom he worked with on the reality TV show The Celebrity Apprentice when Trump was still just known as a businessman and media personality.

But perhaps the most piercing point Simmons brings up is also one of health advocates' arguments for all adults getting vaccinated, even outside of the benefit incurred for themselves — the fact that one who's vaccinated could very well save the life or health of someone else.

"I'm not worried — and it's unkind to say this — I'm not worried if an idiot gets COVID and dies," the KISS member says. "I'm worried he takes other people with him, who didn't have a choice. It doesn't have to be death. Being in a hospital is horrific. There are so many cases of people who were deniers and who are begging in the hospital to get the vaccine."

Vaccination efforts in the U.S. continue, but only 50 percent of the country's population is fully vaccinated, and more easily transmissible variants of the disease have emerged.

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