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kiss-return Andy Greene of Rolling Stone spoke with KISS bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons about the band being inducted into RNRHOF, whether or not he will play with Ace and Peter and why he may or may not dislike Eddie Trunk/ Excerpts from the interview appear below.

RS: Tell me your first reaction to the big news.

GS: Pride. For me, it’s another tug of the shirt sleeve to remind me that the American dream is alive and well. I’m living proof of it. I came here as an immigrant, a legal one — that’s a distinction — and getting the Hollywood Walk of Fame and getting the keys to the cities of God knows how many cities and the wax museums and the thousands of licensed products we have and on and on. . .Still, no matter how much much noise we make about how only the fans matter, and it’s true they are the ones that put us here and without them we are nothing, there is something in the back of our collective consciousnesses that makes us want to be recognized by our peers.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame started out as a wonderful idea and ideal, and it’s a pride and privilege. Now, we’ve had ten different lineups. It’s important to list that the honor is not just ours. It’s Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, Eric Carr, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, Vinnie Vincent, Tommy Thayer. . .There’s been a lot of guys, and we continue to tour and fill up stadiums and it is a testament to the idea of Kiss.

A long time ago, four knuckleheads off the streets of New York decided to put together the band they never saw onstage. We were ballsy enough to throw down our own gauntlet. “You wanted the best? You got the best! The hottest band in the world. Kiss.” You’re God damn right.

RS: Did you start to think you’d never be inducted?

GS: Yeah. I think its political. As soon as the fans had their say, I’m told, we slaughtered everybody else. I think it’s a crime that Deep Purple is not in and Patti Smith is. What the fuck? There are disco artists and all kind of credible and important kinds of music that have nothing to do with rock & roll. But, hey, it’s not my thing. I think the best thing they did was to open it up to the fans. There is an American ideal: “By the people, for the people, of the people.” Hey, that’s a good idea.

RS: You’re definitely coming to the ceremony, right?

GS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We need to stand up there proudly for the fans.

RS: It’s nice to do it in Brooklyn since you guys started in New York.

GS: Yeah. It’s the coolest of the cool.

RS: People are very curious about what lineup of the band is going to play that night.

GS: Well, Kiss is Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. 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.” You can argue that point and we’ll figure everything out as time goes on. This one is for the fans. If the fans didn’t care, we wouldn’t be here. If it meant nothing to them, we wouldn’t be here.

RS: Bands often play with old members at the Hall of Fame. Are you open to the idea of playing with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley that night?

GS: Sure, why not?

RS: I’ve heard you say in the past you never wanted to play with them again.

GS: That was for a tour. But 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 important. Hey, “You have gave birth to this thing, Kiss, with Ace, Peter, Paul and Gene.”

RS: But there’s been some very public feuding and bad blood in the past few years.

GS: There’s never been bad blood. I love them as people. I just hate drugs and alcohol. I don’t care if you are Mötley [Crüe] or Springsteen. If you don’t have the balls to get on the stage straight, it’s an insult to the fans and the band members

RS: They say they are clean now though.

GS: I have no comment.

RS: People are curious to know why you don’t get on [with radio personality and] That Metal Show [host] with Eddie Trunk.

GS: Respectfully, I’m not very interested.

RS: Why?

GS: [Chuckles] Before there was metal, there was KISS. We don’t really consider ourselves metal. It’s just rock and roll and all the hand gestures that everybody does on that show, I invented that. Oh, and let me add the word “bitch.”

RS: So, it’s nothing personal against Eddie Trunk or anything?

GS: Oh, I don’t care. I wish everybody well. Everyone should have a happy life and succeed and stuff. Just because we don’t want to do a show doesn’t mean anything. I’m not really interested in Jon Stewart’s show either. That doesn’t mean we don’t wish him well. It’s just not my cup of tea. I don’t want to be a pinata while he’s going to throw jokes. But if he wants to play mono a mono, you gotta take it as well as give it.

RS: If they tell you they just want the original four guys to play, will you be cool with that?

GS: As long as they are willing to only bring their first girlfriend and their first wife. . .There’s no rules. I really haven’t thought about it.

RS: To just totally clarify once again, you’re willing to play with Ace and Peter that night?

GS: Oh, sure.

RS: That could be the last time ever then. When else could that happen?

GS: In January we are celebrating our 40th anniversary, and boy do I look good! And every time I say, “I’m never going to do this, I’m never going to do that. . .” For God’s sake, Ace and Peter were in the band three separate times. And they were let go three separate times. Every time it was about the same thing. How many times are you going to hear, “No, I’m healthy now. I’m fine.” It’s like the old, “I promise I’ll pull out.”

The only consideration has always been the military ideal: sound mind, sound body, respect for the fans. They are our bosses. We buckle our knees to the people who make our lives possible, and rightfully so. You and me and everyone else, we just work here. Everyone else that disrespects that maybe shouldn’t have the opportunities it provides. The stage is holy ground. It is electric church. Not everyone belongs there.

RS: So you think it’s possible there might be a 40th anniversary tour that involves Ace and Peter?

GS: I don’t want to do that. Nah. I’ve been through it before. Too many scars and too much, “I promise, I promise, I promise.” It’s like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. How many times can you cry the same thing? After a while, sorry Charley.

RS: They both wrote books and didn’t say very nice things about you. Did that bother you?

GS: I stand by everything they said! [Big laugh]. I’ll tell you a wonderful story. Ace, God bless him. . .You know, when he’s straight he’s a wonderful guy. He took me to the Beverly Hills Hotel and he told me a story. He said, “Look, I just want to show you a chapter I wrote in the book and just check with you and make sure it’s okay.”

I said, “Look, write whatever you want. I’m a happy guy.” He said, “I just want to check the accuracy of it.” I said, “Okay, what is it?” He goes, “Well, 19-seventy whatever it is. There’s a swimming pool and we’re all out there. There are girls and we’re lounging around and I get up on the diving board in my swimsuit and I’ve got champagne in my hand and I’m drunk and I’ve got a scarf on. You then say to me, ‘Ace, get off the diving board. You’re drunk you’re going to drown.’ I then say, ‘Fuck you. Don’t tell me what to do!'”

Then he jumps off the diving board and jumps in. Of course, he starts to drown. He says, “Of course, you dive in because you used to be a lifeguard. You fish me out, pump the water out of me, save my life.” And at breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel he says to me, “I want to thank you for saving my life. But how accurate was it?”

I say to him, “It was 95 percent accurate. Yes, there was a diving board. Yes, champagne in hand. Yes, laughing in my face. Yes, drowning in the pool. Yes, I dove in and rescued someone. But it wasn’t you. It was Peter Criss. You were flat out unconscious, surprise, on the side of the pool.

He just shrugged his shoulder. You can catch him in a lie or a figment of his imagination and he’ll just shrug his shoulders and go, “Oh well, what the fuck?” He’s a happy-go-lucky, I’m sorry. . .when we first got together it was magic. We loved those guys, all for one and one for all. Look, not all marriages stay together. What can I tell you? Cain and Abel didn’t get along very well either.

Read more at Rolling Stone.


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  1. Am I the only one who is sick and tired of his eternal crap about being a legal immigrant, Peter and Ace is this and that… Geeez, and that’s a 60+ year old man.. pffff … The same goes for Paul, they’re like old whining and grumpy (wo-)men..

    Do the RHOF, Do a one off 40th anniversary show – and pack it in. Loved KISS all of my life, but this would be a perfect way to end it. The induction and the 40th anniversary.

    Anyways, I say congrats to KISS (ALL members living and gone).

    1. As long as the media keeps asking him the questions, he’ll keep answering them. He has no filter, and I love that about him. So whose fault is it that he keeps talking about Peter and Ace? In a world of political correctness and standard benign answers, I love it when someone speaks honestly about how they feel, whether I agree with it or not – and I certainly don’t agree with everything Paul and Gene have done. But I’ll fight to the death their right to say what they want and do what they want.

      1. I too think he has the right to say whatever he wants to. I am just sick and tired of it being the same crap time and time again. He could find another way of answering the questions, instead of being an ass constantly.

        1. Blame the interviewer asking the questions. When’s the last time someone asked Gene to give a positive or reflective story about Ace/Peter? I’m sure he’s got a tonne of those stories. But it doesn’t sell. So we get this crap all the time. I hear ya Jimi.

  2. I thought Gene in the Kiss Extreme video release in the 90’s called Kiss – “The Heavy Metal Beatles” but he can’t go on That Metal Show. I think he needs to watch all his videos so he can remember what he has said over the years.

  3. Just read on Paul Stanley’s Facebook page that they have already contacted Peter Criss about joining them at the RRHOF ceremonies!!! Maybe this will all come together???

  4. Has anyone else noticed that Kiss got approx. 239,000 votes for the HOF but only sold about 160,000 copies of Monster? That tells me there’s a LOT of people like Eddie (and myself) who still love what they were, but have no interest in the tribute band they’ve become. The Farewell tour in 2000 never really ended, it just kind of stopped, so I really hope the original line-up plays together one last time at the HOF. Then Gene and Paul can continue doing whatever nonsense they want with the Kiss brand name – and we can ignore it, knowing we finally got a happy ending.

  5. He’s doing the Sammy Davis Jr. Mr. Bojangles tap dance better than Sammy at the Desert Inn in ’71. This guy is sick. He knows Kiss Army will revolt if Thayer & Singer paint on Ace & Peter and step into “Detroit Rock City” as Peter & Ace sit at their table going “Uh, we can do that”. He won’t do Trunk cause Eddie fires up the right questions like Chuck Connors and his rifle at the beginning of “The Rifleman”. Hey Gene, get the Jersey Boys promoters to get the Kiss Boys thing going soon. He’s right about Deep Purple….Patti Smith is a Rolling Stone darling, Kiss & Ritchie never were.

  6. Congrats Guys!!!! the original band will play and they also will tour.KISS never leaves money on the table. Singer goes back to Cooper and Thayer will be in charge of catering for the band.

  7. He invented or started everything; air, water, electricity, and especially unwarranted self-absorbed arrogance. Surprised a human body has enough room to be that full of himself, but proud to say was never a fan.

  8. Show a little respect here for a band that to most of us are heroes. I love kiss and this is the day we finally find out the dream has come true and some want to pop shots at gene?? Come on 40 years of being the consummate rock god and Paul too,,ace and peter..and everyone involved. He says ace and peter are every bit as important as he is…he said it…why hate on him now that our band is finally in…kiss does not have to want to do THAT METAL SHOW..its ok doesn’t make it bad…any ad far as the devil horns I think gene has a point..he did it since 1973 and its immortalaized on love gun cover painting. When was Dio supposed to have done it BEFORE Gene did in 1973?….at any rate that’s not what’s important it should be all KISS

  9. I really hope during the ceremony that Eric Carr receives the proper acknowledgement. In my opinion he was very important to KISS’ history and legacy, and I personally feel he was the best drummer in KISS……no disrepect to Peter and Eric Singer.

  10. Gene, I like your music, I respect your business sense, and you are a very smart guy. However….

    1. You didn’t invent the “metal sign” hand sign, Ronnie James Dio did and he got it from his grandmother (so technically he didn’t invent it either).
    2. Your tone has changed dramatically toward Ace and Peter here since they announced the induction. Just a few months ago, you said they would NEVER be onstage with you at the ceremony. Are you biting the bullet so you can get up there and get some more glory?
    3. You could learn something from Ace’s easy-going nature. Not everything is about dividing and conquering (something you have done a lot of with all those chicks, but that’s a different story).
    4. Instead of investing all of the money into more KISS crap, why not setup a children’s hospital, or a cancer center, or something else like that? “The Simmons Center for Cancer Prevention” – has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
    5. You need to just quit while you are ahead. In fact, you are FAR BEYOND being ahead. Just stop now. Really. No one will criticize you. Just accept the HOF award, STFU, and get off the stage. Spend time with your beautiful wife. We could retire on what you must be making on interest alone.

    1. Frank – I’m going to take you on point by point:
      1)Ronnie claims he made that sign with his hands, and Gene claims he made that sign with his hands. So two guys claimed to have invented the metal horns – whats your point? \ii/
      2)He’s giving the fans what they want instead of what he wants. Why are you bagging on him?
      3)Learn from Ace? Are you kidding me? What can he learn from Ace? How to: a)drive drunk? b)do drugs? c)have someone else come into the studio and do your solos for you and take credit for it?
      4)Are you aware that he sponsors more than 13,000 kids in Africa? Are you aware his family set up a women’s shelter in Vancouver? What have your heroes done with their money?
      5)He ain’t ever quitting. That’s what got him here.

      I get if you want to bang on him – Lord knows he’s a lightning rod. But can you at least be factual or know more about that guy before you spew the crap?

      1. Um … Someone else actually has taken over the bass duties from Gene on several occasions, Jean Beauvoir did it on a couple of songs on Animalize … just saying 🙂

  11. Who are Gene and Paul kidding anyway? If a promoter out there offered them a big enough payday for another tour with Ace and Peter you know they will do it for the money, case closed.

  12. all these rock stars that are past their prime are probably tired of questions about what used to be. nobody wants to talk about old girlfriends when they are banging someone new.

  13. Give me a minute…..I am still laughing at the “Thayer will be in charge of catering for the band” line…too funny. As yet another fan who grew up worshiping KISS…Hell, I had a brass KISS belt buckle,,,,had KISS posters…ran down to pick up a copy of of any magaizine that might finally show KISS without makeup…etc. I can only hope and pray that Gene will read all of these posts, shut the hell up and show up with Peter and Ace and perform at the ceremony. They could kick off with New York Groove….great idea!! BUT……before this, at the podium, Gene should apologize for being a douche to the Peter and Ace. I want tears. Just listen to the KISS Army Gene. I respect all that you have done, I respect your business acumen, I have great concert memories…..but, show some class and do what’s right.

    1. Should he show the same class that Ace used to show when he would show up to shows/interviews absolutely hammered? Or wearing a nazi uniform and knock on Gene’s hotel room door in it? Ace and Peter were so full of fucking class back in the day. Wake up and realize it takes 4 to tango in this relationship.

  14. I’m sure Irving Azoff has inked in 4 gig regional slots with the big 4 this summer. 2 weeks off, 4 more in another region like Philly/Brooklyn/The Garden/Jersey. High prices, little for Ace & Peter again. Gene & Paul can smell the loot. Singer & Thayer on call with the paint if Ace or Peter crash.

  15. As usual Gene is very articulate and makes some good points; whether or not anyone agrees/disagrees with them…we all know he doesn’t care. I do like what he said about Deep Purple not being in yet (which is beyond rediculous!). The only response that I take issue with is his stance on not appearing on TMS. He says KISS was “before” metal. No, sorry. Check your history Gene…metal was born with the sound of thunder and lightning that preceeds the first chord of the song “Black Sabbath” on the album of the same name, which came out in 1970, approx. 4 years before the first KISS album. This is NOT my opinion/or anyone else’s, it is absolute FACT!

    1. Right, but apparently they’ll still get in before Deep Purple. RRHOF is a strange thing, on the one hand I really don’t care because it’s obviously a mess, but on the other it drives me crazy because of omissions like Deep Purple. I was out of my mind when Rush wasn’t in, and now they are, and I still can’t reconcile my feelings about the place. Iron Maiden has been eligible for years and as far as I know haven’t even been nominated, but Guns N’ Roses is in the first year of eligibility. Judas Priest same thing I believe. No disrespect to GNR, but they’ve released what – like 5 full length studio albums in 25 years? But Deep Purple can’t get in and IM and JP don’t even merit nominations? Maiden and Priest had already conquered the world before Appetite for Destruction was released, but there’s still no acknowledgement for them. I just can’t take the HOF seriously, and it shouldn’t be named “Rock and Roll” anymore.

      1. KISS, Maiden, and Priest are my three favorites. Can’t choose between them and seen them all too many times to count. The fact that one of those bands just got in is testament to the RRHOF. I’ll give KISS and RRHOF credit for one thing though – its a very polarizing topic that seems to bring in record amounts of posts on Eddies website. So love it or hate it, at least we all get together and talk about it. And talking about Rock/Metal is not a bad thing to do.

  16. BS! In October, when SPECIFICALLY asked about the RRHOF, Gene said “No. How many chances in life do you get? When you stick your hand in fire, you get burned the first time. Fire and nature doesn’t care if you’re a good guy or a bad guy. Both of those guys had three chances to be in the band. Three times they f–ked it up. They were every bit as important as we were at the formation of the band and they would have been the ruin of the band if they had continued to be in the band. When you have a cancer in your system, it’s best to cut it out as fast as you can. It used to be a part of your body; it turned into cancer. You gotta cut it out.” Not one thing to do with a “tour.” Gene knows if they are going to play, it has to be with Ace and Peter.

  17. Gene’s story about Ace drowning was the most hilarious story I’ve heard in a while. I was laughing so hard I was crying. It has to be frustrating to get questions about Ace and Peter all the time.

  18. Haven’t been here to comment . This interview is getting old but : This is typical Gene spin with some of the dumbest “example stories” in R & R history .
    Remember the the one Paul said when asked why is he continuing the makup kiss after sayng ” its better to go out when people are saying why” then to wait until they say ” why dont you just retire ? ” and so when Gene and Paul hire the impersonators and are questioned about this Paul comes up with some lame ass story about being at the car wash and the employee asking” why are you quitting you guys are soo great ” . Its all bullshit but, the dummy’s out there gobble up whatever Gene & Paul say.

    Oh . And DR . Where were you on the 3 week debate : 10/29: MY TAKE ON KISS, THE HALL, ACE & PETER, AND MORE,
    when Eddie , me, and everyone else was bashing the hell out of Gene and his sheep w/ facts ?
    You didn’t dare enter the debate with all of Eddie’s knowlege of the facts did you ? Oh, let me guess, you were out of town….
    Now you come back and throw your little jabs with a” gray area ” interview with your hero and idol Gene $immons ? The fact of the matter is this ; without Ace and Peter Gene would be working at Walmart today . And he is a piece of shit !

  19. Hi Troll, been awhile – hope you’ve been well. I thought I did comment on that post. But if I didn’t I apologize to all the fans. Bigsled, I know you think I’m nothing but a Demon fan, which I am. But my comments are based on fact, and not emotion. I totally understand someone not liking GS. But the reasons are rather stupid most times and not very factual. If you want to bash him, bash him. But have facts on your side. And another important thing, you need to remember what collossal fuck ups Ace and Peter were back in the day. Nobody seems to remember that. Nobody seems to remember that without Gene and Paul, KISS would’ve never existed in the first place and probably would’ve imploded before ALIVE ever came out. Ace and Peter admit what fuck ups they were and have been. So why can’t you? I agree with Eddie on alot of things KISS, and probably don’t agree with other things KISS. But I think he and I agree on the past and what happened and what Gene and Paul did to keep it going. I like Gene because he speaks his mind, period. Don’t always agree with what he says. But I respect anyone who tells it like it is. We don’t get that a lot these days. So if I like that, I don’t care what you think. You just Gene bash with little facts. Which then makes me defend him with facts. But lets be clear on one thing – KISS is the original four for most of us. If you don’t like anything after that, I get it. But there is a generation of fans that are going to see this version of KISS and enjoying that. Whether us old farts like it or not, Gene doesn’t care. He’s just making money and I don’t blame him for that. Like I’ve said before – if you were in his shoes, tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing. And if you say you wouldn’t, I’ll say your a liar.

    1. Oh and one more thing Bigsled, did you really say that without Ace and Peter Gene would be working at Walmart today? If it weren’t for Gene and Paul, Ace and Peter wouldn’t even be able to get a job at Walmart today. This is another example of your emotions getting the better of you yet again and spewing hate that has no factual basis. But I love you man. You’re my troll and my troll only. And any debate on KISS is always fun. Keep rocking Bigsled. At least we’ll always have Coney Hatch together.

  20. Don’t forget that about one third of KISS’s existence was minus the make-up. Yes Ace and Peter were part of the original/legendary line-up, but there have been many musicians that have come and gone since. If they really want to celebrate 40 years of KISS, they should let by-gones be by-gones and give the chance to ALL past members of KISS to perform at the R.A.R.H.O.F. That is just my opinion. I have been a huge fan of KISS since ’75 until the current day, make-up or no make-up. I would appreciate any feedback from KISS fans out there!

  21. SOLUTION: As KISS is famous for stealing everything they do from other bands who proved successful in their own merits (make-up from Alice Cooper, NY Dolls, “Live” album from Peter Frampton, acoustic album from Rod Stewart, Telsa, Nirvana, etc.. reunion tour from you-name-it, farewell tours, etc.), here’s an idea in which they can steal from themselves. Remember their pathetic “Acoustic” show on MTV? They had Ace and Peter walk out and join the band for a few songs which triggered a reunion tour. Do the same thing with all the members at the RNRHOF. Play songs starting with original line-up, move to replacements and then finish with original. Shake hands and get on with your lives. NO MAKE-UP unless… KISS would like to be somewhat original and make Tommy and Eric develop new characters ala Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr, so there is no more comparisons to the Cat and Spaceman and fans will not look at them as their own tribute band! Again, they intoduce the new characters and move on. End one era, continue with another era. That is exactly what the fans want and NEED. What a fitting way to acknowledge the original musical KISS and the current touring band KISS all at the same time. Now that’s closure!

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