Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons discussed the surviving former members of Kiss and spoke frankly about why their “End Of The Road” world tour features only the current lineup of the band. Kiss kicks off its dates tomorrow night (January 31st) at Vancouver's Canada Rogers Arena and Ultimate Classic Rock published excerpts from Simmons and Stanley's interview with Guitar World in advance of the band's opening night.
When asked why co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were not asked to reunite for Kiss' final global trek, Simmons didn't mince words when he explained, “Ace and Peter have gotten three chances. They were in and out of the band — fired — three times. For drugs, alcohol, bad behavior, being unprofessional. . . they weren’t carrying their load. So the short answer to your question is we’d love to have Ace and Peter join us here and there. And if they don’t, it’s not going to be because of us. But they’re never going to be in Kiss again. . . Three times is the charm; 'I promise I’ll pull out' doesn’t work. It’s the boy who cried wolf: 'Oh, I’ve been straight for a million years.' Terrific! Have a good life! Would we welcome Ace or Peter to jump up onstage for a song or two? Of course. Could we depend on either Ace of Peter to do a full set night after night? Not on your f***ing life.”
Stanley added, “This is a celebration of this band and its accomplishments and its history. So anybody who was shortsighted enough to think this should be a reunion is missing the point. That being said, I would love to see everybody at one point or another be onstage. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s their choice, not mine.”
Regarding the band's '80s and '90s guitarist and fan favorite Bruce Kulick, Simmons said: “We love Bruce. He was always professional and showed up on time. So I can never say anything bad about Bruce.” Stanley went on to say: “Bruce is somebody who shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated as far as his role in the band.”
When pressed about Ace Frehley's replacement, the often difficult Vinnie Vincent, Paul Stanley didn't pull any punches by explaining, “Now Vinnie, that’s one exception, and for so many reasons. I would say that’s not someone who I want to celebrate.”
Although Gene Simmons included Vinnie Vincent in one of his Vault events last year, he went on to explain the band's issues with him: “It’s worth stating that Vinnie has sued the band and lost 14 times. I’m not here to cast any aspersions. He’s a talented guy. That’s why he was in the band. But would I depend on him to get up onstage and do anything? Never. Can he come to the shows? Of course! Anybody can. But onstage? Never.”
Paul Stanley revealed that Kiss' iconic “Spaceman” and “Catman” characters created by Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, were actually sold back to him and Gene Simmons. Over the years, since new recruits guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer took to donning the legendary costumes, fans have been split feeling that the show must go on, or that it's sacrilege for anyone other than Frehley or Criss to wear the iconic greasepaint.
Stanley explained that the four personas of Kiss all legally belong to the band: “Years ago, the original guys basically sold it off for not a whole lot, because they didn’t think it was worth anything. Quite honestly, I’ve always thought that our image and what we represented is, is priceless. So, that It didn’t matter to some other people, it certainly matters to me.”
We asked Gene Simmons what it feels like to turn around and see the spitting image of his former bandmates — yet it's someone else: “Y'know, we still have a tug of the heart. It's like your drunken dysfunctional father who was a bum and you finally had to get rid of him — but you still remember the beginning when he was a good dad. Ace and Peter are beloved, as they should be, for the beginning. For helping launch the band — if you don't mind me saying so — that changed the face of rock 'n roll, literally and figuratively speaking. But equally as important part of the beginning of Kiss, it's also important to know that with them in the band today, Kiss wouldn't be around.”
ACE FREHLEY RESPONDS
Ace Frehley responded to Gene Simmons' inflammatory comments about him in the Guitar World interview.
Frehley posted on Facebook:
My Reaction to Gene’s Post Today
…Gene, your memory is really incorrect!…I was NEVER FIRED from KISS, I quit twice (not 3-times) of my own free will, because you and Paul are control freaks, untrustworthy and were too difficult to work with!
…Your slanderous remarks about my bad habits over the years has cost me millions of dollars and now that I’m over 12-years sober you're still saying I can’t be trusted to play a whole nights show! Well that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 12-years with different configurations of “The Ace Frehley Band” to you and Paul’s dismay!
…I’m also the most successful solo artist to come out of the original KISS lineup , and proud of it!…You and Paul have tried to derail my solo career multiple times over the years unsuccessfully.
…I’ve tried to be nice and friendly by inviting you and Paul to perform on my past albums for eOne Music, give each of you guys one of my prized Gibson Les Paul 59’ models, but today’s comments have made me realize you’re just an a**hole and a sex addict who’s being sued by multiple Women, and you’re just trying to sweep it all under the carpet!
…The icing on the cake was when you groped my wife and propositioned her in Los Angeles at the Capitol Records building behind my back, when I was trying to help you out at one of your “Vault Experiences” which I only found out about several weeks later…she was planning on pursuing a suit against you, but I told her to call it off!!!
…Well now the gloves are off after your terrible comments today and I’m thinking that this really may be “The End Of The Road Tour” for you guys!!!
….Without a complete and heartfelt apology, an offer to give me my old job back, and removing Tommy from the Throne that I created… THE S*** WILL HIT THE FAN AND THEY’LL BE NO STOPPING IT-IT’S ON!!!