(For The Fans)
Now, you would think this would make the guys in the band giddy as school girls, but it only highlighted the even deeper cracks keeping these four icons apart, forcing fans to settle with “KISS light” (two other guys wearing the makeup of founding members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley) on tour this summer.
Being a KISS fan since the mid 70’s I credit the band with the reason why my cousin and I started our first band. Back in those days, KISS seemed more “into” what their fans wanted, than anything else – and that, was inspirational!
Back then, the other black kids were playing super funky grooves or the latest single by P-Funk, but not me. I must have been the only black kid (that I knew of anyway), playing Shout it Out Loud by KISS on the jukebox. This was not well received well at first, but in time, the other kids were singing the chorus with me.
So like me, other longtime KISS fans feel really invested in what the band serves up to us. And KISS fan or not, you can probably imagine the sense of validation fans everywhere felt, when we heard the band had finally been acknowledged by the industry, after decades of being ignored.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, original and still performing members of KISS, were less than thrilled when the RHF (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) declared their intention to only recognize the original version of KISS – and not the other “line-up’s” (including today’s) that have performed over the years. This didn’t bother Peter Criss and Ace Frehley a bit though. The other half of the original dynamic, who are no longer in the band, Peter and Ace were delighted by this decision as were most KISS fans in the US and abroad.
Both Gene and Paul speak out anywhere they can gain an ear, explaining why it’s wrong to snub the hard work of today’s KISS members who kept KISS going, while founding members Ace and Peter didn’t appreciate what they had, instead giving it away. There was even talk of letting Ace and Peter play a song or two without their makeup after the current guys jammed in full makeup, but Ace and Peter put the brakes on that.
Finally Gene and Paul put an end to the fans’ hopes that there might be a reunion performance with the original members. Even rock legend and fellow RHF inductee Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac said “They should play” but, to no avail. The band that inspired me and millions of others is no longer the same band we have today, where the bottom line is no longer fan demand but settling old scores and holding on to grudges.
As the four original members came out and accepted their induction, it was finally clear that there would be no KISS and make up this time and no repeat of the now famous reunion tour of 1996 that broke all kinds of tour records. And while the guys were courteous to one another during the ceremony, it’s the current version of KISS that appeared on The Tonight Show, striking the proverbial last nail into the coffin of reunion hopes.
As if to flip off The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee and everyone that didn’t want to see the current line-up over the original, the current line-up performed on The Tonight Show showing the world that KISS is now just what Gene and Paul want.
As a fan, that’s not the happy ending I expected from the “will of the fans” focused band that inspired a generation.