Kiss Are Being Big Babies About This Whole Rock Hall Thing
It appears that breathing fire, spitting blood and sailing on a high wire with explosions everywhere is the easy part. But putting personal differences aside and giving fans what they want? A bit more difficult.
In an official statement posted on Kiss‘ website, the band has announced that it’s taking its ball and going home, and will not perform in any capacity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April. In other words, you wanted the best . . . too bad! You’re getting nothing!
After years of being ignored by the Rock Hall, Kiss finally got some recognition last year, when they were announced as part of this year’s induction class. Fans rejoiced, and even the group’s critics caved in and gave Rock Hall voters a round of thumbs up for their choice. And the band members actually appeared somewhat humbled by the whole thing — a rare thing that we shouldn’t take for granted. And for a brief moment, it looked like the original foursome would get back onstage together. Gene Simmons even gave props to former Kiss members Ace Frehely and Peter Criss.
But that enthusiasm was short-lived, with recent comments by original founding guitarist Paul Stanley swerving 180 degrees, basically disowning Frehely and Criss. The band’s official statement reads, in part:
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 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. Contrary to claims made through the media we have never refused to play with Ace and Peter.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.
Maybe fans can take comfort in knowing that Simmons and Stanley “didn’t set out to create the firestorm of consumer protest that ensued [and] instead intended to re-energize [their] brand, which stands today as testimony to the power of taking intelligent risks, even when they don’t quite work as intended.” Oh, sorry, that’s from a 1985 Coca-Cola press release about New Coke. But you get the point.
This all seems like a lot of sour grapes to the group’s many diehard fans, who, judging from countless Internet back-and-forth, seem split between loyalty to their heroes and that final straw breaking their hearts.
“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,” continues the official statement. “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.”
You can’t help but wonder that their decision not to play has less to do with personal drama and more to do with not having the power to control the situation 100 percent. By deciding not to perform at all, that power has returned to Kiss’ corner. By turning any of it over — not only to Criss and Frehley, but to the Rock Hall too — Simmons and Stanley will lose some grasp on the brand that they’ve worked so hard to maintain all these years.
This way — now that Kiss won’t be performing at one of their biggest nights ever — their finger remains on the trigger, ready to twist this latest bit of controversy into some noble bit of Kisstory for all to cherish forever. And in a way, we shouldn’t be too surprised.