The Incredible Self-Delusion of Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons Has Reached Its Zenith

I’m not angered by the fact that when Kiss shows up to accept their long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame it will not include a performance with co-founders Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, I swear. I’ve been paying attention to the inner workings of the band as much as — and in some cases more than — their music for the better part of three-plus decades, after all, so their decision to piss all over the wishes of the very fans they purport to serve comes as something less than a shock.

I knew that the odds of Frehley and Criss joining Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on stage one last time was a long shot at best. So when Frehley broke the news on Eddie Trunk’s radio show over the weekend that he and Criss had been denied that very chance, I can’t say I was surprised at all. But even I was taken aback a bit by yesterday’s statement from Kiss, posted on their website. I’m going to break it down for you, Lefschmutz style.

Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of KISS and give credit to all members including long time present members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, and additionally Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr all who have made this band what it is, regardless of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s point of view.

Yes, I’m sure we were all looking forward to your touching tributes to Vinnie Vincent and the late Mark St. John, two guys you constantly go out of your way to either ignore or shit on at every opportunity. Or Eric Carr, the guy you fired while he was dying of cancer so you could get to work on your next album.

Or to cite a more recent example, please tell us how much you value the contributions of Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, as I’m sure they still have platform boot prints in their faces from the time you shit-canned an album you had already recorded with them so you could hop on the reunion money train.

Yup, if there’s one thing Gene and Paul are all about it’s honoring the contributions of other members.

Although KISS has moved forward far longer without them, Ace and Peter are at the very foundation of what we have built and this would all be impossible had they not been a part of it in the beginning.

Gene and Paul are typically smart enough to acknowledge the role Ace and Peter played in the early days of the band, but they usually neglect to mention that without them coming back for the reunion in 1996 Kiss would be billed right under Puppet Show on the state fair circuit these days. I can guarantee you that it irks Gene and Paul to no end that they had to depend on two people Gene recently compared to cancer to save their dying band.

(Yes, I’m aware that Frehley and Criss weren’t exactly setting the world on fire with their solo careers.)

It is over 13 years since the original lineup has played together in make-up and we believe the memory of those times would not be enhanced. Contrary to claims made through the media we have never refused to play with Ace and Peter.

Except for the time Gene publicly refused just last October, that is.

We have spent 40 years dedicated to building KISS without quitting or wavering as the band has moved forward with huge tours and platinum albums through different important lineups for forty years, to this day.

Nope, never any wavering at all. Well, except for the decade or so when Kiss was on autopilot so Gene could try to make it big in Hollywood.

KISS has always been a band unlike any other. That is why we started KISS. That is why we continue KISS. Being unlike other bands also means making choices and decisions unlike other bands.

Kiss was started for two things and two things only — to make money and to get laid. And those are noble goals, to be sure. But that hardly makes you any different than most other bands.

This is understandably an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.

Ah, but Gene and Paul have always said that they do what they want when they want, because they’re trailblazers and such. They don’t bow to public opinion or the demands of the masses. But now, all of a sudden, they’re concerned with popular consensus?

To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

An institution that Paul Stanley referred to as “tainted, corrupted and distorted” just a few days ago, incidentally. But yeah, otherwise I’m sure they’re totally focused on making the most of their induction.

Look guys, just stop the bullshit for once. Admit that as much as you’d like to believe otherwise, you’re being inducted into the Hall because of the albums you released 30-plus years ago with Frehley and Criss, and that you’re cock-blocking them from performing because it’s the last chance you’ll have to stick it to them. Admit that as much as you’ve tried to rewrite history, you can’t escape the fact that a drunken lout and a cokehead are partly responsible for your continued ability to milk every last dime from the Kiss Army.

Or you can keep trying to pretend that people will show up to the next Kiss Kruise to hear Tommy Thayer play a deep cut from Sonic Boom. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • Rock_dawg

    Oh, how I love that one of the article tags is “bullshit”!
    I wish I could say that this latest round of Simmons/Stanley jack-assery will turn me against KISS for good, but I know that as soon as I hear that lead in “Detroit Rock City” I will re-don my KISS Army dog tags…

  • Chris Holmes

    I made peace with their bullshit many years ago, and refuse to let it taint my love of their pre-reunion music. But other than scooping up the first Kissology DVD when it came out, I have long since stopped financially enabling Gene and Paul.

  • Ted

    Like you, Chris, I’m a huge fan of their pre-reunion albums. I gave up on KISS after Dynasty.

  • Beau

    So, wait — they’re not playing at all? And Ace and Peter won’t be there?

    Blondie was almost this obnoxious. Almost.

    Still think the funniest Hall of Fame induction was when Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony were the only members of Van Halen to show up. That’d be like inducting Yes with Trevor Horn and Bill Bruford.

  • Chris Holmes

    Yeah the VH clusterfuck was one for the ages. As for Kiss, so far we know there will be no group performance by any lineup. Remains to be seen who shows up. I would LOVE to see Vinnie Vincent and a few of the guys from Wicked Lester do it.

  • Chris Holmes

    I grew up with Kiss in the ’80s, even though I always preferred the original lineup. So I wrote the above piece as someone who still listens to Asylum and Animalize, but fully understanding that those records influenced absolutely no one.

  • Ted

    I know they had a resurgence in the ’80s when Lick It Up came out, but I had no interest in their music at that time. Mostly into New Wave/post-punkish stuff during that decade.

  • Josh Valentine

    Good hat tip to the “shit-canned” Carnival Of Souls. One of their best, and heaviest, albums. Thanks, in large part, to Kulick…

  • Daddy Don

    What a great article, I hope Gene & Paul read it, maybe they can open their shows with YOU WANTED THE BEST YOU CAN’T HAVE THE BEST… Josh is right also, Carnival Of Souls actually was good music, but regardless this is just sad and pure stupidity of Gene & Paul part, I still go see them and get their albums in hopes there may be some good music on there but they are weak at best. Ace was an underrated guitarist. What Tommy and Eric should do it step forward and acknowledge Peter & Ace and join the band on stage WITHOUT make up, but they are mearly tools, hired employees that have no say so. Deep cut from Sonic Boom now THAT is funny!!!!

  • KingP

    I’m no real fan, but it seems that long ago Gene made it clear that KISS was no “band” in the conventional sense but a marketing entity closer in nature to an NFL team or a superhero franchise. I would not doubt that there is legal esoterica in existence that keeps this thing going long after Gene and Paul are cold and moldy.

  • side3

    I think they will come to regret this. Some of the greatest rock hall moments over the past decades have been when bands put their differences aside to play one more time woth the surviving band members (Cream, The [pre-reunion] Police, Talking Heads, Alice Cooper..even The Byrds sort-of)…vs those that couldn’t pull it together and looked Petty ( Fogerty disrespecting Stu Cook and Doug Clifford and denying a CCR reunion, McCartney not showing up for The Beatles induction, Blondie).

    This could have been a ‘one more time for the fans’ moment. Kiss fans have been very vocal in their support.

  • armenite

    Nobody should go. The Sex Pistols were the only ones who got it right. The “HOF” is meaningless, has no credibility, and people should stop writing about it as if it mattered.

  • Peace Thomas

    I for one DID go on the KISS Kruise to hear Tommy (and the band) do deep tracks from “Monster” and I was thrilled to hear 5 tracks played at the make-up show! With that said, I agree that without Ace and Peter in the original band AND returning for the reunion, Gene and Paul would have had a much tougher time maintaining the brand of KISS. I would love to see them play together even if the Rock Hall will not conceded to Paul’s request to honor all members. I think it is appropriate for Eric Carr, Bruce Kulick, Vinnie Vincent and Mark St. John to be inducted with the band since they all participated in hit songs and records. Perhaps the Rock Hall should consider an affiliation award. Either way, the original members are being honored so it is foolish not to play.

    By the way, I’ll be happy to represent KISS fans and play with Bruce Kulick since I just covered “Do You Love Me?” featuring Bruce…

  • Jeremy

    To people who are not in it maybe.