KISS has outlived most things its age (and probably more than a few cockroaches), as the rock and roll entity rolls into its 40th year. That means I’ve just entered my 36th year as a member of the KISS Army (does this make me a five-star general yet?). Of course, I’m not alone. KISS fans are as devoted (or gullible, depending on who you ask) as they come.
2014 is shaping up to be a big year for the most divisive band in the world. After 15 long years of eligibility, the four original members—Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley—are finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band is reissuing its entire catalog (complete with cardboard Love Guns and posters) on vinyl. And Stanley—the Starchild and the glue who has held things together all these years—finally penned an autobiography, making him the final of the four originals to do so.
While there are plenty of nuggets about KISS’s early daze, Stanley doesn’t belabor the sex, drugs and minutiae that most KISS fans probably know anyway (although there are points early in the book, where it feels like Stanley whizzes through rock and roll’s impact on him). Instead the Starchild digs deep into the human condition, starting with his upbringing, where his parents were going through the motions themselves and found little time for young Stanley Eisen, who was dealing with his own insecurities (he was born with only one ear, and to this day is deaf on one side).
After all the drama leading up to the induction of KISS ‘ four original members into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past Thursday, the feuding band mates behaved civil and friendly to each other while accepting the honor. Founding lead guitarist Ace Frehley tells ABC News Radio that he was “really honored” to be part of the ceremony, although he did direct some mild criticism toward frontman Paul Stanley , who took some shots at the Rock Hall and the way it goes about choosing inductees.
“I really didn’t like some of the things Paul Stanley said in his speech, because obviously he’s a little aggravated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” explains Frehley. “I know he wanted to get other members in the group inducted.”
Ace adds that “there was some political stuff going on,” which led to disagreements about whether KISS would perform at the event. “Unfortunately we did not perform, even though I was up for it,” he notes, adding, “I try to stay away from politics. I don’t think politics and music work. I never did.”
The forthcoming Space Invader, due on June 24, 2014 via eOne Music, is Frehley’s first since 2009′s Anomaly — which shot to No. 27 on the Billboard album lists, the guitarist’s highest-charting project since his platinum-selling 1978 eponymous debut.
Here’s what we know: “There’s going to be a real interesting instrumental, there’s gonna be some catchy riff songs, there’s gonna be some straight-ahead rockers and everything in between,” Frehley tells Billboard. “The only real guests I have [are] Chris Wyse from the Cult and my drummer Matt Starr, who I used on my last U.S. tour. And pretty much I’m playing all the instruments and doing all the lead vocals. I’m a one-man show.”
Tom Harper (who was Paul Stanley’s roadie on the Dynasty tour and bass player on the KISS song, Shandi from Unmasked) goes One On One with Mitch Lafon. In this hour long interview, Tom discusses how he became KISS’s roadie on the Dynasty tour, how circumstance led him to play on KISS’ song, Shandi, as well as going on to work with Judas Priest on their Screaming For Vengeance Tour, Hall & Oates, Supertramp and more. Tom also talks about the band members’ relationship in those turbulent days and the Peter Criss Out Of Control tour that failed to launch back in 1980. We also chat about the Eric Carr/KISS drummer auditions of 1980 and Tom’s latest EP, Vintage UK.
Did this show a couple of weeks ago and just didnt have the time to get it out….But I am back to work with the AMAZING Cassius Morris from the CREATURES OF THE NET PODCAST and we are talking ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE!! This is part 1 of a 2 part show….the 2nd part is at Creaturesofthenet.com. So after you listen to this go check out his site!!
Still fresh off their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night, the members of KISS took time from rock and rolling all night and partying every day to speak to TODAY Friday about an honor 40 years in the making.
“It was really vindication because the fans have wanted this for so long,” lead singer Paul Stanley told Matt Lauer, as the band joined TODAY on the plaza decked out in their costumes and iconic facepaint. “It may not have meant as much to us, but it meant a lot to them. We were very happy to be there. We have 40 years of legacy, and it’s a proud time for us.”
The members of the legendary KISS dropped by Rockefeller Plaza on TODAY Friday to talk about their new tour and hiring military veterans after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night.
Stanley was joined by guitarists Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer. The lead-up to the Hall of Fame induction was not without controversy, as original drummer Peter Criss and original guitarist Ace Frehley, who both split from the band in the early 1980s, traded shots at Simmons and Stanley in the media. While there was no reunion performance on Thursday, the members were courteous to one another in their acceptance speeches.
Four high school students from Montgomery, N.Y., who were sent home from a school function for dressing like the members of KISS, talked with Natalie Morales before meeting their idols on Friday.
“Yesterday is yesterday,” Simmons said. “We’ve never won a race looking over our shoulders in the past. Winners always look straightforward. There are no solutions, there’s only we get to decide who and what KISS is. We love Ace and Peter, and they were very gracious yesterday in accepting the award to be part of the beginning, but we move on. This is a 40-year proud history, and Eric and Tommy make every day on that stage a wonderful, wonderful experience, not just for us. We like being together and bonding onstage, but it’s an experience for the fans.”
KISS announced their 42-city North American tour in honor of their 40th anniversary, where they will be joined by Def Leppard. They also are looking tohire two militaryveterans as roadies to work their 2014 Heroes Tour as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Capital One’s Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.
Natalie got a hug from the Demon himself, KISS bassist Gene Simmons, as the band celebrated its new status as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was packed with surprising reconciliations and all-star turns on the mic. So what went down backstage, when the night’s honorees and speakers got a chance to unwind? Rolling Stone captured the behind-the-scenes vibe from our prime perch:
When Stevie Met Bruce After we talked with Stevie Nicks, she ran into Bruce Springsteen in the crowded hallway. “You sang fabulous,” Bruce told her. “You sang fabulous, and you looked fabulous.” As he walked away, Nicks grinned like a teenage Beatles fan.
Blood Brothers In the hallway, Bruce also ran into Peter Gabriel. Gabriel said he heard Springsteen was vacationing on a boat in Sardinia, where Gabriel has a house. Gabriel invited Springsteen out there again someday. “There’s a meal waiting for you,” Gabriel said.
“We’re gonna take you up on that!” Springsteen laughed.
“Please do,” Gabriel said. Later, he called it one of his highlights of the night. “That was a nice moment!”
Ace to Face with Ron Delsener
After Ace Frehley made his entrance during Rolling Stone’s interview with Tom Morello, he got situated and took a moment to reflect on his career. “I think we’re probably gonna go down in history as the greatest theatrical rock group in the world,” he said. “I think that’s probably gonna be undisputable fact.” But shortly thereafter a real spectacle broke out, when legendary concert promoter Ron Delsener spotted Frehley and burst into the room. “I don’t remember you standing up like that – we used to have to carry you to the stage, you were so fucked up,” he said, ribbing Frehley about his wilder days. “This guy would come to every show at the Palladium, the Garden, and he’d come with an entourage of people,” Delsener continued. “I thought he was fucking Prince.” Frehley just laughed his famous high-pitched cackle and took it all in stride.
How did it feel to finally get up there? It felt great, you know? Look at the company I’m with. The room is full of celebrities and rock stars. It’s like another milestone in my career. But the body of work that I’ve created over the years has stood the test of time. It’s a very special time for me.
After all the controversies leading up to the induction, how did it feel to be onstage with everybody again? It felt like I just saw those guys yesterday. We’re brothers in rock & roll. The press seems to amplify the fact that we hate each other, and we really don’t. We’ve had our differences over the years, but every rock & roll band does. Tonight, it felt like I had just left those guys the other day, and they were very gracious considering what we’ve been creating over the last 40 years.
The four original members of KISS – Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss– put aside their personal differences at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, at least long enough to say kind words about one another.
But for KISS fans, as well as Roman Fernandez – longtime life partner of Bill Aucoin, the legendary rock’n’roll manager who discovered KISS – it would have been nice to see the fueding stop before the band hit the stage. In fact, it would have been nice to see the original KISS performonstage at the ceremony.
Like former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and KISS fan Tom Morello concluded in his induction speech, “Tonight, this isn’t the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the Rock And Roll All Night And Party Every Day Hall Of Fame!”
For Roman Fernandez, the night was bittersweet: his life partner Bill Aucoin, who died of surgical complications from prostate cancer in 2010 at the age of 66, was not there to see the band he raised, nurtured and turned into global superstars inducted into the rock hall.
“When I first found out KISS was going to be inducted, it was very bittersweet for me,” Fernandez told me this week. “I was happy, but on the other hand I was upset because it was like a practical joke on Bill, [to induct] a band that was never supposed to get in the hall of fame. Bill and I had talked about that and he was at peace with that. Then three years after he dies, they get inducted. And Bill isn’t here to see it. That still eats away at me. So the induction is a happy occasion but it also rubs salt in the wound. To see [the original KISS members] fueding – those four guys who are lucky enough to have this argument because they are alive. Bill doesn’t have that luxury.”
Still, Fernandez is a loved member of the KISS family, and he attended the induction ceremony to “represent.”
“It’s what Bill would have wanted,” Fernandez says.
NEW YORK — Kiss made up, but its music went unheard. Nirvana used four women rockers to sing Kurt Cobain’s songs. And Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band — predictably — turned its honor into a marathon.
The three acts were ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday in a colorful induction ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. They were joined by the blue-eyed soul duo Hall & Oates, British rocker Peter Gabriel, 1970s folkie Cat Stevens and the absent Linda Ronstadt.
Nirvana was the emotional centerpiece. The trio rooted in the Seattle-area punk rock scene was voted into the hall in its first year of eligibility. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit like a thunderclap upon its 1991 release, but the band was done after Kurt Cobain committed suicide 20 years ago this month.
“Nirvana fans walk up to me every day and say thank you for the music,” said Krist Novoselic, the band’s bass player, who was inducted with drummer Dave Grohl. “When I hear that, I think of Kurt Cobain.”
A subdued Courtney Love, Cobain’s widow, was booed by some in the audience. She said Cobain would have appreciated the honor.
“Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard,” said former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, who described how the band made a community of the disaffected.
Joan Jett was chosen to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, St. Vincent and Lorde each took turns at the microphone, with Lorde’s version of “All Apologies” ending the night.
Kiss was responsible for pre-ceremony drama. The two original members still active, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, thought the replacements for ex-bandmates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss should perform at the ceremony instead of the original four. The result was Kiss’s music went unheard.
Tom Morello: Growing up, Kiss was my favorite band. It was not always easy being a Kiss fan. Just as Kiss were being relentlessly persecuted by critics, their fans were relentlessly persecuted by the self-appointed arbiters of taste in middle schools and high schools across America. Arguments, and even fist fights, were not uncommon. I recall as a 15-year-old telling one bully, “You can kiss my Kiss-loving ass!” Because Kiss was never a critic’s band; Kiss was a people’s band!
And so, I waited in a long line on a bitter, cold Chicago morning to buy tickets for my first concert—a Kiss concert. I was especially thrilled because printed on the ticket, were words that hinted that it was going to be a special event. The ticket said, “A partial view of Kiss.” I was certain that this meant the band might reveal some new secret corner of their artistic souls. In reality, it meant that my seat was behind a pole. Still, that concert was one of the most exciting, cathartic, loudest, most thrilling two hours of live music I’ve seen to this day.
And while there is often debate on who should and shouldn’t be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I think the criteria are actually quite simple: impact, influence, and awesomeness, and Kiss have all three in spades.
Impact: Kiss has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, with 28 Gold albums in the United States alone. That’s more than any other American rock band in history. Their theatrics were indisputably groundbreaking, but it was Kiss’ music that had an impact on me. All four guys wrote great songs. All four guys were great lead singers. They practically invented the live album with “Kiss Alive!” Then came Destroyer;Rock and Roll Over; Love Gun; Alive II; Dynasty; all exploding with killer riffs, anthemic choruses, and screaming solos that for 40 years went filling arenas and stadiums around the world.
KISS rocker Gene Simmons talks about his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and why it’s a mixed blessing
TIME talked to Gene Simmons about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, celebrating 40 years as a band and what they owe their fans.
TIME: You’ve been in KISS as long as, or longer, than many of your fans have been alive. How does it feel to soundtrack so many generations?
Gene Simmons: Well, it doesn’t suck. There’s no substitute for hard work. There just isn’t. You can sugar coat it however you want, but there’s not. But not everyone has the same DNA — not everyone is designed to run marathons, most people don’t finish the race. Many people in rock bands are very dysfunctional — they don’t have their heads screwed on right. They don’t understand that, but for the grace of God, you’d be asking the next person in line, ‘Would you like some fries with that?’ When you forget that and start to believe that — in the patois of the street — you’re ‘all that,’ it’s not long before you move back into your mother’s basement.
What are some of the other lessons you’ve learned in doing this for over 40 years?
The idea that you have to experience something in order to know if it’s bad for you is the biggest load of bullshit that I’ve ever heard. We all know that a bullet isn’t good for you — you don’t have to be shot to know that. It’s nonsense! Drugs and alcohol are not even unique, they are such a cliché. You’re kidding — you’re going to ruin your life for the same old, same old? Really? The original guys in the band started a band 40 years ago. The original lineup lasted seven years and, you know, there have been ten different lineups. We’ve survived ten different lineups.
That’s been in the news a lot lately due to your upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s such a boring conversation. People forget that it applies to almost every single band these days: AC/DC, The Stones, Metallica, Iron Maiden. Some bands don’t even have their original lead singers! It’s tough to keep a band together! Cain and Abel didn’t do so well, either, and they were brothers.
True. KISS is one of the few bands to have not performed at the induction ceremony…
Why should we? We’ve been around longer than the Hall of Fame has been around, by about 20 years. We started before this organization was even a thought. We appreciate getting the award, but they are going to only honor the first seven years of the band — Ace, Peter, Paul and myself, and that’s fine. We appreciate that. Then they said, ‘We have an HBO special and we want you to close the show and make it big,’ and all that stuff. And we said, ‘Okay, and you’re also going to be honoring Tommy and Eric who have been in the band longer than Ace and Peter, right?’ They said, ‘No, no, actually we’re not.’ We said, ‘Wait a minute, you have the Grateful Dead, and you inducted all 25 or so members, plus a lyricist who was never even in the band. Metallica had a bass player who, I think, was never even on a record. The Chili Peppers had 8 or 9 members in. And you’re not going to honor ours?’ So, we are certainly not going to be playing there. You either honor all or none.