Melissa Locker | Time
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.
It’s taken 14 years, but pyro-glam rockers Kiss are finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After being passed over for so long, it was already a major story that the New York quartet (born of equal parts ambition, determination and desperation) had finally made the cut.
But since the four original members — singer-guitarist Paul Stanley, singer-bassist Gene Simmons, guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss — haven’t been shy about expressing how they think the induction and celebratory performance should be handled, Kiss’ Hall of Fame entrance has become one of the most talked-about rock stories this spring.
Stanley, who co-founded the band 40 years ago with Simmons, sat down with Billboard to discuss the buzz surrounding the induction, which he believes is the Rock Hall’s “worst nightmare.”
“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not the hall of fame of the people, or of other bands,” he said. “It’s a small group of people who decide who they want in their little club and who they don’t. The fact that they would only induct the four original members — and when I asked about that it they said it was a non-starter — is interesting. Because they’re pencil pushers and I play a guitar. So for them to tell me what is a non-starter is arrogance.”
Wenn | Contact Music
Aerosmith star Joey Kramer has urged the original members of Kiss to rethink their decision not to perform at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday (10Apr14), insisting they should just “lighten up” and play.
Founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons pulled the plug on plans to mark their induction with a live show when they learned that Hall of Fame bosses would not be honouring their current bandmates Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer at the bash in New York.
But famous fans like Slipknot’s Corey Taylor have blasted the decision and now drummer Kramer has weighed in on the drama, insisting all seven past and present members of Kiss who will be at the Hall of Fame event should get up onstage and perform.
In an interview as part of the podcast Totally Driven Radio, the Aerosmith star says, “You have to recognise the fact that there’s two other guys that have been in the band for the last 12 or 15 years. I mean, can you just ignore them? Is that fair? From my point of view, I think, basically, they should all play.
Joh Wiederhorn | Yahoo Music
The four original members of KISS — guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley, bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons, guitarist Ace Frehley, and drummer Peter Criss – will attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony April 10 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, along with ex-guitarist Bruce Kulick (who played with the band from 1984 to 1996) and the current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer. But don’t expect any of them to rock and roll all night together — not that Simmons and Stanley didn’t originally want to.
“We volunteered to bring our ‘Monster’ stage for us to play with Tommy and Eric, and then for us to bring on Ace and Peter,” Stanley tells Yahoo Music. “We were told [by the Rock Hall] that was a ‘non-starter.’ That was the quote that started to irk me more than anything, because I don’t want to be told by a pencil-pusher what a ‘non-starter’ is, when I’m the person that has been playing the guitar.”
The roots of Stanley’s grievance go deeper than a basic disinterest in performing onstage with former band members. As the mob would say, it comes down to respect. According to Paul, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has fought KISS’s entrance into its elite organization since the band was first eligible 15 years ago. In February, KISS will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut.
Guitarist Ace Frehley is confident Thursday’s KISS reunion at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be a harmonious affair, despite the bandmates’ public attacks of each other.
He’ll join founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and bandmate Peter Criss, alongside the group’s current drummer and guitarist and another ex-member, Bruce Kulick, for the honor in New York – and he insists the group’s big night won’t become a big drama, no matter what they’ve said about each other in memoirs and interviews.
He tells VH1, “We say good things about each other and we say bad things about each other… but it is what it is. It’s rock and roll. I mean, if all we did was pat each other on the back for every book, people would say, ‘That’s a boring book.’
“They want to hear the dirt. I’ve got plenty of dirt.
“(But) believe it or not, every time the four of us (Stanley, Frehley, Simmons and Criss) get together, even though it’s been a long span of time, we’re still brothers in rock and roll. At least that’s the way I feel. If it’s not going to be that way, I’d be surprised.”
Founding KISS drummer Peter Criss insists he’s NOT a raging anti-Semite, despite public accusations made by KISS guitarist Paul Stanley.
Stanley unloaded on Criss and another ex-band mate Ace Frehley in his new book “Face the Music: A Life Exposed,” accusing the two of chronic anti-Semitic behavior back in the day. Stanley also accuses Criss of being a racist who enjoyed mocking waiters at Chinese restaurants.
But Criss tells TMZ, all of Stanley’s claims are bogus.
Criss says he’s always been a loving supporter of all religions, including the Jewish faith — in fact, Criss tells us his favorite aunt was Jewish. He also denies being a racist in any way.
Although Criss says he’s spoken to a lawyer, he says he has no plans to pursue legal action against Stanley.
Jane Stevenson | Toronto Sun
It took years but his autobiography, Face the Music: A Life Exposed, came out just a few weeks before KISS gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night and prior to the band’s summer tour with Def Leppard that hits Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on Aug. 12 for its only Canadian date.
“For decades I staunchly refused to write an autobiography because Orwell said, ‘Autobiography is the most outrageous form of fiction,’” the 62-year-singer-songwriter-rhythm guitarist tells QMI Agency in a Canadian newspaper exclusive.
“It wasn’t until I realized that my story could serve a purpose, that it could inspire, and could reach far beyond KISS fans. It’s really more about facing adversity in life and facing issues and how you choose to deal with them, and hopefully, overcome them.”
To that end, Stanley’s book begins with a strong Canadian connection.
Had the pleasure to meet Paul Stanley at his book signing at Bookends in N.J. today…He took the time to take a photo with every fan and say hello and answer questions…as always a truly a class act…what a pleasure to meet him today with my son Scott…once again Paul reminds us why KISS is the greatest band in the world and embraces the greatest fans in the world !
Episode 19 finds your KISS Army bros joined by Andrew Kiss, discussing someone near and dear to us. The unforgettable, one and only Fox of KISS! The late, great Eric Carr.
Max Blau | Rolling Stone
Smyrna, Tennessee, is not a likely place to find a guitar god, or anyone in particular, which meant it was just about perfect for Vinnie Vincent. For a while anyway. The town of 42,000 people is roughly 25 miles southeast of Nashville, and full of non-descript McMansions and farmhouses kept watch over by lazily grazing goats and cows. There are cozy residential subdivisions, too, where children’s bikes are strewn across the well-manicured front lawns of one-story brick ranch houses.
One property near the outskirts of town, though, sticks out amongst all the idyllic sameness. Behind a forbidding eight-foot-tall picket fence and a padlocked gate stand two houses. Paint cans, a television set and stuffed black garbage bags litter the driveways. This is where guitarist Vinnie Vincent — who gave life back into Kiss in the early Eighties, when the bandmembers had removed their makeup but seemed musically ready for embalming, and then became a hair-metal solo star in his own right — has lived in seclusion for the last 15 years. Or, more accurately, had lived. It’s hard to know where Vincent is these days.
From the looks of it, the houses have been abandoned for some time. Knocks on the front door go unanswered, and multiple calls in to Vincent’s lawyer inquiring about his client’s whereabouts yielded nothing. It’s not as if Vincent, 61, was ever a man about Smyrna. Up the road, a clerk at the gas station can’t recall ever seeing the musician who once played for 137,000 fans in Brazil — Kiss’ biggest concert. A next-door neighbor, Paul Sachtjen, says he’d never met Vincent face-to-face. He had, though, endured a battle over some pruned pear trees hanging across property lines, receiving angry letters and police visits, but never at the expense of Vincent’s closely-guarded privacy. Years later, Sachtjen’s son vandalized a convertible belonging to Vincent’s wife, Diane. Soon after, surveillance cameras and mounted outdoor spotlights were installed on Vincent’s property.
“I feel bad for him,” Sachtjen says now. “He wants to be a recluse and left the hell alone.”
But Kiss fans being Kiss fans, that is, somewhere between Deadheads and Trekkies on the obsessiveness scale, means that interest in Vincent is still strong. As the original replacement for founding member guitarist Ace Frehley, Vincent garnered a reputation as one of the band’s most talented, influential, and divisive members in its 40-year history. From 1982 to 1984, Vincent’s knack for cocky melodies and virtuosic guitar shredding revived an outfit that had limped into the Eighties with the release of the high concept, low quality Music From “The Elder.“ 1983′s Lick It Up was the Kiss first album on which Vincent was credited as a member (uncredited, he’d subbed for Frehley on the previous year’s Creatures of the Night). It was also the first time the band appeared without makeup, and as the writer of the title track and the musician responsible for the re-born Kiss’ most jaw-dropping moments, Vincent helped frontmen Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons establish a post-grease paint identity, pushing the music in the chart-topping direction of Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.
It’s a big year for KISS and the band’s vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley. Not only are he and his bandmates getting inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but they’re also gearing up for a co-headlining tour with Def Leppard.
Today (April 7), Stanley logged onto Reddit to answer fan questions about all of the above and (for him, most importantly) his new bookFace The Music.
Here are five things we learned from Paul Stanley’s AMA:
1. Despite getting inducted this year as a member of KISS, he’s not too fond of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Stanley took the time out to bash the institution on a least two separate occasions. When asked how social media played into KISS’ ongoing legacy, he said the band and its connection with fans finally let them into the Hall. “KISS is trying to use social media as a tool to connect with fans. The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame ultimately and grudgingly had to induct us at some point. The absurdity of ignoring us was beginning to make them look ridiculous. Unfortunately, I don’t know that inducting us changes anyone’s perception of them,” he wrote.
In the next answered question (in regards to the false rumors that Chad Channing of Nirvana would be getting inducted while KISS’ Eric Carr would not), Stanley had this to say: “The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is finally being exposed for what it is. A private club of a few people misrepresenting themselves as the public.” Harsh.
2. Gene Simmons hates shellfish and is afraid of a lobster carcass.
His best-ever KISS prank involved a bit of the crustacean and a microphone. “Gene hates any kind of shellfish among other things. One night I had lobster for dinner before the show and saved the body with the tentacles on it. During a blackout between songs, I snapped it on his microphone, and when he went to sing, it was staring at him in the face. He freaked out!” Stanley wrote.
3. Despite being in a band for decades, KISS hasn’t had any punching situations.
“I’m really not a violent guy,” Stanley wrote about whether or not he every wanted to punch his bandmate Simmons in the face. “But lik all great relationships, we have had some moments where I was very angry or frustrated. Punching someone is never the solution.” Good advice for those young KISS fans.
4. He does have a favorite Def Leppard song to look forward to for the bands’ co-headlining tour.
In his long-awaited autobiography, “Face The Music: A Life Exposed”, KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley wrote that former KISS members Ace Frehley (guitar) and Peter Criss (drums) once believed the band was “unfairly manipulated by money-grubbing Jews,” a reference to Paul and fellow KISS co-founding member Gene Simmons. Then, in an interview with the New York Post last week, Paul went on to say that based on his history with the guys, he believes Ace and Peter are anti-Semitic.
VH1 Radio Network‘s Dave Basner caught up with Frehley earlier today (Monday, April 7) and asked him for a comment on Stanley‘s latest claims.
“We say good things about each other and we say bad things about each other [in our memoirs], but it is what it is,” Frehley said. “It’s rock and roll. I mean, if all we did was pat each other on the back for every book, people would say, ‘That’s a boring book.’ They want to hear the dirt. I’ve got plenty of dirt.”
Frehley, who himself released an autobiography called “No Regrets” in 2011, is working on a follow-up book and spoke to VH1 Radio Network about whether he plans on responding in it to all the latest claims by Gene Simmons and Paul.
“I’ve been working on my second book since once I finished ‘No Regrets’; I already started writing stories for the next one,” he said. “I mean, I could write five books on my life, it’s that interesting.”
He continued: “I don’t want to go tit for tat, because that’s not what I’m about. I like to lay it out and just tell it like it is, you know. If my memory isn’t as good as somebody else’s, so be it.”
Wenn | Contact Music
Kiss star Paul Stanley refused to appear on bandmate Gene Simmons‘ long-running reality Tvshow because he hated the programme.
The rocker tells the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine that he received many requests to join his friend on Tv during Gene Simmons Family Jewels’ run, but always turned him down.
He says, “It wasn’t reality. To create a life that isn’t accurate and for me to be a part of it, or to help you promote something that I think is questionable… and, quite honestly, waste my time…?
“You’re missing out on living a real life if you’re filming a fake one.”
Bruce Knight | Ultimate Classic Rock
It’s no secret that Stanley and fellow founding Kiss member Gene Simmons were unhappy that Frehley’s and Criss’ substance-abuse issues adversely affected the group, but, in the book, Paul also claims that Ace and Peter were anti-Semitic.
According to the New York Post, Stanley writes in his memoir that he believed Frehley and Criss both “felt powerless and impotent when faced with the tireless focus, drive and ambition of me and Gene. As a result, the two of them tried to sabotage the band — which, as they saw it, was unfairly manipulated by [us] money-grubbing Jews.”
Stanley also reveals that Frehley collected Nazi memorabilia, and claims that he observed Criss engage in racist behavior by mocking waiters at Chinese restaurants during the group’s early days.
Paul confirmed to the New York Post that he did indeed believe Frehley and Criss were anti-Semitic, saying, “It’s based on years and years of interactions. It’s not pulled out of thin air.”
Stanley didn’t reserve his criticism for just Ace and Peter; he also leveled some negative comments at Simmons. Paul reveals that Gene wasn’t invited to his 2005 wedding because of Simmons’ anti-marriage views at the time. He told Simmons at the time, “When you insult and demean people who get married and ridicule or dismiss the idea of marriage, you have no place at a wedding.” Gene, of course, has since changed his tune, walking down the aisle with his longtime partner Shannon Tweed in 2011.
Matthew Wilkening | Ultimate Classic Rock
In a story from his first-ever autobiography, ‘Face the Music: A Life Exposed,’ the Kiss frontman recalls the time he was asked to meet with Guns N’ Roses, who were about to start work on their ‘Appetite for Destruction‘ album. He wasn’t all that impressed on first sight, describing guitarist Izzy Stradlin as “unconscious, with drool coming out of the side of his mouth,” and Slash as “half-comatose.”
Stanley says he showed Slash how to tune his guitar in the five-string open-G method preferred by Keith Richards, and offered to put him in touch with people who could get him free guitars. Paul then went to go see Guns N’ Roses play two small L.A. club shows, which he describes as “stupendous.”
The second of those nights is apparently where trouble began between the two guitar heroes. “They weren’t happy with the guy mixing their sound,” Stanley recalls, “And Slash asked me out of the blue to help out. Decades later, Slash’s recollections of the night would be faulty at best. He liked to pretend I had dared to meddle with their sound.”
Guitarist Kane Roberts goes One On One with Mitch Lafon and discusses his tenure with Alice Cooper, his use of steroids in the ’80s, his solo career, working with Bob Ezrin, writing with Paul Stanley for KISS’ Revenge album, Desmond Child, his Unsung Radio album, his work with Angra’s Kiko Loureiro, Kip Winger and more much.
Shoshana Davis | CBS News