[Original KISS line-up: Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley]
After years of being snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, the band KISS was finally announced as one of this year’s inductees. Quickly, fans wondered which line-up of KISS, which has seen plenty of band members come and go and come back again since their first release in 1974, would perform at the induction ceremony. As it turns out, KISS won’t be performing at the event at all.
The band released a statement today via their official sites announcing their intention not to play with any line-up at the ceremony. The news comes after original guitarist Ace Frehley, who hasn’t been in KISS since they completed their “farewell” tour in 2002, revealed fellow KISS co-founders — Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley — did not want to perform with the original line-up, which would also include drummer Peter Criss. Instead, he said, Simmons and Stanley were opting to play with KISS in its current incarnation, which includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, both of whom currently perform respectively as Frehley’s and Criss’s onstage characters, the “Spaceman” and the “Catman.”
It was Frehley’s revelation, which was made during an
interview on Friday night on the “Eddie Trunk Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM, that prompted the band’s official statement today, in which they claim that they “have never refused to play with Ace and Peter,” but because of all the controversy, they’ve decided not to perform at all.
KISS’s claim might actually be true – on a technicality – as Frehley also mentioned that he would not appear on stage alongside Thayer, who’d be wearing his original “Spaceman” make-up:
According to Frehley, Stanley and Simmons “shot down doing any type of reunion with [original KISS drummer Peter Criss and me] — with makeup, without makeup,” while Frehley himself ruled out performing alongside KISS’ current lineup, saying, “I’m not gonna get on the stage with Tommy wearing my makeup. That’s absurd.”
He added: “It’s a shame. I know [the original lineup reunion is] what the fans wanted. I know it’s what the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame wanted. [But] it’s not gonna happen.”
But Simmons has gone on record several times recently to say he had no interest in ever playing again with Frehley and Criss, who he likened to being like ex-wives, as well as cancer, stating that his former bandmates had exhausted their chances to play with him.
The Rock Hall wanted the original line-up to appear, according to Frehley, who added that they suggested that Frehley could perhaps perform with guest musicians, an idea he alludes was also turned down by Simmons and Stanley, who have controlling interest over KISS:
“I’m at the tail end of [making my new solo] record… and this has just been a thorn in my side, because every day there’s a different story: ‘Yeah, maybe you can come and get up and do ‘New York Groove’. And if you don’t do it with KISS, you can do it with a celebrity lineup.’ And that was shot down. It’s very frustrating. It’s also distracting my attention from the most important thing right now that I’m doing, [which] is working on music and creating. So it’s very frustrating and a little disheartening.”
Frehley also said that if he’s not performing, he might not even show up to be inducted:
And the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was very excited about having the four original members who are being inducted to perform at the ceremony. And that was shot down by Paul and Gene. And now it’s kind of, like, if I’m not gonna put on the makeup and do a three-song reunion for the fans, then what am I gonna do? And right now I’m not even sure if I’m gonna show up for that, you know?!”
KISS’s self-titled debut just celebrated its 40th anniversary on February 18, 2014. The current incarnation of KISS — Simmons, Stanley, Thayer, and Singer — has been together for the last 13 years, while Frehley and Criss reunited on stage for the first time in 13 years at Eddie Trunk’s 30th anniversary celebration. In their official statement, KISS mentioned that former members Bruce Kulick and the late Eric Carr would also be inducted, though they made no mention of other previous bandmates, Vinnie Vincent and the late Mark St. John.
To All Our Fans In Regards To The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Out of respect, Ace and Peter’s recent statements demand a quick response to you, our fans.
Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of KISS and give credit to all members including present 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is understandably an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.
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.
We are excited and are looking forward to seeing you all on the KISS 40th Anniversary worldwide tour.
[KISS current line-up: Tommy Thayer, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons]
Other artists to be inducted this year are Nirvana, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, and Cat Stevens. The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony will be held in Brooklyn, NY, at The Barclay’s Center on Thursday, April 10. 2014, marking the first time the ceremonies will be open to the public in New York. Tickets for the ceremony go on sale Saturday, March 1 at 10 am EST, with an American Express cardholder pre-sale going on from Monday, February 24 at 9am EST through Friday, February 28 at 10pm.