Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have not ruled out the involvement of past members on KISS‘s “End Of The Road” farewell tour, but only in a guesting capacity.
In the months after KISS announced the trek, fans wondered openly if Ace Frehley and Peter Criss would be involved in the tour, especially considering the apparent current goodwill between Paul and Gene and Ace. Frehley‘s new album “Spaceman” — a title suggested by Simmons himself — features two songs the pair wrote together, and the duo recently completed a joint tour of Australia, after which Frehley fired his solo backing band and hired Simmons‘s. Stanley, meanwhile, appeared on Frehley‘s previous studio album, 2016 covers set “Origins, Vol. 1”.
In a new interview with Guitar World, Simmons said that appearances by Frehley and Criss have not been taken off the table.
“Ace and Peter have gotten three chances,” he said. “They were in and out of the band — fired — three times. For drugs, alcohol, bad behavior, being unprofessional … they weren’t carrying their load. … So the short answer to your question is we’d love to have Ace and Peter join us here and there. And if they don’t, it’s not going to be because of us. But they’re never going to be in KISS again.”
He added: “Three times is the charm; ‘I promise I’ll pull out’ doesn’t work. It’s the boy who cried wolf: ‘Oh, I’ve been straight for a million years.’ Terrific! Have a good life! … Would we welcome Ace or Peter to jump up onstage for a song or two? Of course. Could we depend on either Ace or Peter to do a full set night after night? Not on your fucking life.”
Stanley said that “it’s really not up to” him whether former KISS members join the band onstage for a guest appearance on the upcoming tour. “But I’ll say that this is a celebration of this band and its accomplishments and its history,” he said. “So anybody who was shortsighted enough to think this should be a reunion is missing the point. That being said, I would love to see everybody at one point or another be onstage. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s their choice, not mine.”
Both Simmons and Stanley spoke in glowing terms about former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick. “We love Bruce,” Simmons said. “He was always professional and showed up on time. … So I can never say anything bad about Bruce.” “Bruce is somebody who shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated as far as his role in the band,” Stanley added.
Stanley and Simmons were far less enthusiastic about the possibility of an onstage collaboration with Vinnie Vincent. “Now Vinnie, that’s one exception, and for so many reasons,” Stanley said. “I would say that’s not someone who I want to celebrate.”
Simmons also chimed in, explaining that “it’s worth stating that Vinnie has sued the band and lost 14 times. I’m not here to cast any aspersions. He’s a talented guy. That’s why he was in the band. But would I depend on him to get up on stage and do anything? Never. … Can he come to the shows? Of course! Anybody can. But onstage? Never.”
The first North American leg of “End Of The Road” will launch January 31 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at Rogers Arena and will hit an additional 43 cities.
The touring lineup features the current version of the band — Stanley, Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons, and Eric Singer.
Kulick said during a recent interview with Rock Titan that he’d “love to be there” if given the chance to participate in KISS‘s farewell tour. “Obviously, if there’s ever an opportunity where they did want to pay a little tribute to any of the other eras, they know I’d be there,” he said. Vinnie Vincent also voiced similar sentiments during an interview with BackstageAxxess last year. “If they ask me, I’ll be there,” he said. “They’re still my buds, my friends, and [there’s] a lot of love left. A lot of magic left.”
Frehley rejoined his former bandmates last October during the 2018 “Kiss Kruise” to perform an acoustic set of KISS classics. Also appearing with them was Kulick.
“End Of The Road” is expected to continue for more than two years.