Earlier this week, KISS announced the dates of their final shows ever, culminating with a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden on December 1st and 2nd. Fans wishing that founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss will be welcomed back for those last gigs may not want to keep their hopes too high. In a new interview, singer-guitarist Paul Stanley said he thinks the original lineup would sound more like “PISS” than KISS these days.
Stanley and the rest of the current KISS lineup — Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer — appeared on The Howard Stern Show to announce the band’s final tour dates. As previously reported, the legendary rock act will end its “End of the Road” farewell tour with a fall North American leg (tickets are available here), wrapping up with the two MSG concerts.
Stern asked the band why they didn’t perform during their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2014, and if it had anything to do with current members Thayer and Singer not being inducted.
“The hypocrisy is that we’re not a band they like,” responded Stanley. “They purposely kept us out for 15 years. And other bands that they embrace, they induct people’s moms and songwriters and all these people. And with us, it truly was unfair. Because we had too much pride in this lineup, which is KISS, and has been KISS for 20 years. It’s not newcomers. … This is the band that has carried the flag and taken it, really, to another level. This is the band I always dreamed it would be.”
He continued, “They were demanding, quite honestly, that we play with the two original guys, Peter and Ace, and at this point, that would be demeaning to the band, and also would give some people confusion. ‘Cause if you saw people onstage who looked like KISS but sounded like that, maybe we should be called PISS.”
Yikes! While quite insulting, Stanley’s words don’t come as a major surprise. There’s been back-and-forth bickering between the two remaining founding members (Stanley and Simmons) and the departed members (Frehley and Criss) for years. Frehley, especially, has had harsh words for Simmons, calling him an “asshole and a sex addict” in 2019, after Simmons had insulted the guitarist in a magazine interview.
That all said, Stanley did perform with Frehley on the KISS Kruise in 2018. Perhaps Stanley and Simmons will find it in their hearts to welcome Frehley and Criss to the stage, at least for a few songs, at the MSG shows. We’ll find out in nine months.
Watch Paul Stanley and company’s conversation with Howard Stern, along with their performance of “Rock and Roll All Nite” on the program, below.