The bitterness between the current and former members who founded Kiss will not be quelled anytime soon. It’s been a little over a week since the group announced that it would not perform “in any lineup” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, following Ace Frehley’s comment that he would not perform with current guitarist Tommy Thayer wearing Frehley’s sometime makeup. Now, in a new interview with Guitar World, vocalist-guitarist Paul Stanley has derided Frehley’s talent.
“What we had at the beginning was magical. . . Ace and I played great together,” Stanley said. “But in my mind it’s a crime what Ace did: He threw away incredible potential and talent. The Ace I played with when the band first started out was a comet – and not [Frehley’s late-Eighties band] ‘Frehley’s Comet!’ But he was burning bright and really had the ability – and this would rub him the wrong way – to be a real contender. But he stopped practicing. He got involved with a whole lot of things that really diluted and diminished his craft. I saw that comet grow dim.”
Stanley also said that after Kiss ousted drummer Peter Criss in 1980, he decided the band needed to reinvent itself, and that’s why they removed their makeup in 1983. It’s a decision he now feels hurt the band. “Rather than saying, ‘We’ve built these iconic figures together and we’re going to continue on with what we built,’ we bought into the idea of, ‘We have to have a new character,'” he said. “That watered it down. Some people may argue with me, but I feel that Batman is Batman whether he’s played by George Clooney, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer and on and on.”
Kiss’ decision not to play with their former members at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an about face from what bassist-vocalist and founding member Gene Simmons told Rolling Stone in December. At the time, he said he would be willing to play with Frehley and Criss. “It’s like, if you introduced me to your wife and I go, ‘Wait, where are all the other wives?’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I was married to them and now I’m here,'” he said. “They were equally important in the formation of the band. When you have kids with your first wife, you give kudos. The fact you got remarried doesn’t delete or minimize the importance. Hey, ‘You gave birth to this thing, Kiss, with Ace, Peter, Paul and Gene.'”