Why Gene Simmons Think KISS Will Destroyed With Ace Frehley and Peter Criss
Gene Simmons in an interview with Frank Buckley - KTLA 5 / Youtube
Despite enjoying a five-year stint as one of the most beloved rock bands, hard rockers KISS faced internal discord in December 1979 due to interpersonal conflicts. Drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley had expressed their desire to leave the previous year, prompting the band to take an extended break.
During this hiatus, each member recorded solo albums before attempting to reunite for Dynasty, released in May 1979, in the hopes of restoring a harmonious dynamic. However, their efforts proved futile.
What followed were ugly fights that would extend to decades, painting their rock legacy with the hideous scars of disunity. The band members can’t seem to kiss and make up. And, just recently, Simmons even called out two KISS founders lacking the KISS DNA.
“I don’t think KISS would have survived with Ace and Peter. Not everyone has the DNA,” Simmons commented on his former bandmates, citing their “unprofessional behavior”.
Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were “unprofessional”
Nothing changed, even in November 2023, when Simmons shared with USA Today his frustrations with Frehley and Criss.
In the interview, the bassist detailed their farewell tour and the possibility of having any guests join them for this significant event. When the interviewer suggested that some fans might be anticipating a reunion with Frehley and Criss, Simmons brought up the pair’s “unprofessional behavior”.
The rockstar cited that Ace and Peter have had a fluctuating presence in the band, having departed and returned three times. Despite the band’s love and deep appreciation for the duo, the cracks in their relationship aren’t things that can be easily solved.
“KISS has always been a machine. We show up on time and we tried on three occasions over three decades to bring them back into the band and it always wound up the same,” Simmons said after explaining that the unbecoming conduct of his former bandmates is eroding the “machine”.
“Not everyone has the DNA”
The bassist also brought up the hard work put in by their non-original members who stepped in after Frehley and Criss departed, Tommy Thayer and the late Eric Carr.
While acknowledging the indispensable contributions of his two KISS founders, Simmons believed that KISS would eventually be destroyed if Ace and Peter continued playing with them.
“And what do you do with Tommy and Eric who have been loyal and professional and never turned their back on the band? Now, I do know, KISS would not have happened without Ace and Peter. There’s no question of the chemistry. But I don’t think KISS would have survived with Ace and Peter,” Simmon explained.
This contrasting perspective from the bassist was supplanted by facts somehow as KISS survived and persisted decades after. The survival and endurance of the band might have been jeopardized if it weren’t for the steadfast commitment of individuals like Tommy and Eric.
“Not everyone has the DNA. It’s hard damn work to stick through it for 50 years,” Simmons concluded.
No guest band will open for their final show
Evidently, the prospect of the two former members rejoining the band was not entirely ruled out. Simmons reached out to them, only to face rejection from both. The likelihood of their return now seems slim, with Simmons revealing that multiple offers were extended and subsequently declined.
Given that this marks the band’s farewell performance, they received numerous offers from different bands eager to open for them. However, Simmons made it clear that no one will be opening for KISS.
Even if the world’s biggest band were to offer, he asserted he would decline. The reason behind this decision, according to Simmons, is that several other bands expressed interest in being special guests for the last show.
“Other bands called and said, ‘Please let us open the last show.’ You would recognize all of them, and it’s very humbling, but the answer is no. Will there be any special guests? No. If The Beatles reformed, I would not want to see anyone else on that stage. I want to see my band,” the bassist confirmed.
The end of the road
Over five decades since KISS burst onto the New York rock scene with vigor, the band has bestowed upon the world a repertoire of sing-along and shout-along hits such as “Detroit Rock City”, “Crazy Crazy Nights”, and “Beth”.
Their live performances have become synonymous with blood-spattering, fire-breathing, pyrotechnics, and an abundance of cartoonish stage makeup.
As the band embarks on their aptly titled End of the Road World Tour, spanning four years, the culminating performance took place at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 2, 2023.
This historic event, marking the band’s final show, showcased the theatrics and showmanship that contributed to KISS becoming one of the best-selling hard rock bands globally. For those unable to attend in person, the concert will be accessible for live viewing through Pay-Per-View.