Almost as soon as Kiss were named as inductees for the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the drama began. Although original guitarist Ace Frehley told Rolling Stone he didn't see any bad blood between his ex-bandmates, the group's current original members – Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons – decided that no lineup of Kiss would perform. In the end, the four original members reunited peacefully onstage and were humbled by the award. After their acceptance speeches, Rolling Stone caught up with Frehley – who is working on his first solo album in five years, Space Invader – to find out just how things really went down onstage.
How did it feel to finally get up there?
It felt great, you know? Look at the company I'm with. The room is full of celebrities and rock stars. It's like another milestone in my career. But the body of work that I've created over the years has stood the test of time. It's a very special time for me.
After all the controversies leading up to the induction, how did it feel to be onstage with everybody again?
It felt like I just saw those guys yesterday. We're brothers in rock & roll. The press seems to amplify the fact that we hate each other, and we really don't. We've had our differences over the years, but every rock & roll band does. Tonight, it felt like I had just left those guys the other day, and they were very gracious considering what we've been creating over the last 40 years.
When you look back at those 40 years, what are you proudest of?
I think we're probably gonna go down in history as the greatest theatrical rock group in the world. I think that's probably gonna be an undisputable fact. And now that we're part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that just cements our place in history even better. And the cover on the Rolling Stone [Laughs]!
How long have you wanted this?
We could have been inducted 15 years ago. We were eligible. So they took a while. They made us sweat. But tonight's the night. I'm the kind of person, I'm very optimistic. I don't want to think about negativity. The past is the past. We're in. We're here. We're gonna have a great time.
You mentioned that you have been sober seven years in your speech and that you think people should be educated on addiction. What should happen?
It needs to be decriminalized. People who are addicts and alcoholics shouldn't be thrown in jail for a year because they were born with a disease that they can't help. Governor [Peter] Shumlin in Vermont is doing a great job. In fact there’s an article in the new Rolling Stone about it. Everybody should follow in his steps decriminalizing addiction.
I'm an addict. I've been an alcoholic my whole life. But I've been sober seven and half years. Only by the grace of God am I sitting here today. I just spoke to Ron Delsener, New York's biggest [concert] promoter and he's going, "Hey, so I thought you would be dead!" I said, "Nope, I'm here, I'm alive and I'm kicking." And I have a beautiful fiancée, Rachael Gordon. She cowrote two songs with me on the new record, and life couldn't be better. So one day at a time, I'm getting through.
What have you not done yet that you want to?
I'd like to score a sci-fi film. That would be fun. Or maybe make another movie. God, what's his name? John Belushi, God rest his soul, a dear friend of mine, before he passed away, he told me he was putting me in his next movie because I was one of the few people that could make him crack up. And unfortunately we know what happened.
You started doing press right after you got offstage. How did you leave off with Gene and Paul?
They were congratulating me on the stage. But I had gotten calls from them a couple months ago when this first went down. We created something that no one can take away from any of us, and it withstood the test of time.