KISS’ PAUL STANLEY ON VINNY VINCENT AND ERIC CARR’S MAKEUP/NEW CHARACTERS: “PEOPLE DIDN’T BUY IT,” PLUS 18 OTHER TIDBITS ABOUT THE BAND

kiss-return Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone reports:

1. KISS may have gotten the idea for their makeup from two other acts. “We loved the New York Dolls,” says Peter Criss, who grew up with the Dolls’ drummer, Jerry Nolan. “But when we tried that, we looked like four old drag queens. Then we saw Alice Cooper one night at the Garden, and thought, wow, he’s the only guy up there wearin’ somethin’ – what would it be like if four guys wore it?”

2. The current and former members disagree over the definition of “rock & roll.” Ace and I were wilder, we were rock & rollers,” says Criss. “We wanted to be at the parties, we wanted a lot of girls, we wanted to cause trouble, we wanted to wreck rooms like Keith Moon. It’s not a science – maybe the chord’s off a little, or maybe you speed up a little, or you maybe you slow down.”

Retorts Paul Stanley, “Once Ace was playing guitar in the studio with rings and a bracelet on that were just hitting the guitar. And I said, ‘Ace, you’ve gotta take that stuff off, it sounds terrible.’ He goes, ‘That’s rock & roll.’ I go, ‘No, there’s rock & roll and then there’s awful.’ You can’t use rock & roll as an excuse for doing something that’s sub-standard or not good or out of tune, or not showing up on time. That’s not rock & roll, that’s just fucking up.”

3. Ace Frehley, who quit the band in the early Eighties, doesn’t like to be lumped in with Peter Criss, who was fired a couple years earlier. “They talk about me as if it’s the same as what happened with Peter,” says Frehley. “I get a bad rap. So a lot of times I’d rather distance myself. I love Peter to death, but, you know, I’m a different guy with a completely different story.”

4. When Gene Simmons was 12 years old, his hero was Jiminy Cricket (he covered When You Wish Upon A Star on his debut solo album): “I saw this little bug singing, ‘Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Me?’ It was a religious experience. Jiminy Cricket was my Christ. This kind of dawning of consciousness of, ‘I can be great.'”

5. Frehley always knew he would be famous. “By age 16, I knew I was going to be a professional musician and be successful,” he says. “If I wouldn’t have been successful with Kiss, I would’ve been successful with somebody else. Because I just had the drive. I used to go see the Who and Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and there was always a voice in my head saying, ‘You can get up there and do that.’ I used to tell people in my family, I used to tell my friends. And they used to say, ‘What are you, crazy?'”

6. KISS’ founders see the band’s fans as proud outsiders. “I always looked at our fans as the big heavy kids in the back of the room bein’ made fun of,” says Criss. “Or the kid who had long hair in the neighborhood when no one had it. And those are the kids who really needed a hero.”

7. The British band Slade (who recorded Cum on Feel the Noize years before Quiet Riot covered it) are often cited as a major influence on KISS, but Stanley feels that’s exaggerated. “That gets kind of taken out of proportion,” says Stanley. “I loved Slade because of the sing-along directness of their songs. I loved Noddy Holder as a front man. My mirrored guitar came from seeing him with a mirrored top hat. But I don’t believe they were part of the blueprint.”

8. Frehley believes he had a Keith Richards-like ability to function under the influence. “No matter how crazy or fucked up I was, I could still deliver,” he says. “I knew I could get drunk in the afternoon and snort a couple lines of coke and then I’d be fine for the show. It wasn’t the healthiest thing to do, but I didn’t want to let down the fans!”

9. But now Frehley is proud to be an example of sobriety. “My greatest days are when I’m doing an autograph session and a guy walks up to me and he says, ‘Hey, I got six months sober because of you.’ Because I used to get fan letters from kids, and they’d say, ‘We heard you smashed up your car. I smashed my car up last week, Ace! What do you think of that?'”

10. Criss had to re-learn the band’s catalog from scratch when KISS reunited in 1996 ­­– but he says anyone would’ve had to do the same. “I really forgot all the songs after 17 years,” he says. “I was so frustrated at needing to relearn Peter Criss. Like, why did I put that intricate part in there? And now I’ve got to redo that part! I would go home, I kid you not, and watch old shows from the Seventies like a football player.”

11. Simmons has little sympathy for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. “I don’t think it’s sad at all,” he says. “He was white in this racist world. He was fuckin’ rich. And he was a movie star. If you wanna take your life, good luck to you. You know what’s sad? A loving husband or mother who crosses the street and gets run over by a truck. That’s sad. Because you didn’t have anything to do with it.”

12. For all their hard living, both Frehley and Criss are in good health. “I just got the cleanest bill of health I’ve had in 10 years,” says Frehley, 62. “I don’t have any damage to my internal organs. I’m the luckiest guy. As long as I stay sober, I’m good for easily another 20, 25 years.”

Adds Criss, 68, “I’ve never been in better shape. I take no blood pressure medicine. I don’t have diabetes, thank you, Jesus. I don’t have cancer anymore. Recently, I had a hernia finally taken out after 15 years ’cause it was like an alien, you know the movie Alien?”

13. Stanley has long had a gift in mind for Simmons: “My joke used to be that for a birthday present, I was going to have a device made for him that was headphones with a mirror and a microphone so that he could watch himself talk all the time.”

14. The band thought their infamous mess of a concept album, Music From The Elder ­was a masterpiece – until they started playing it for people. “We were so off course that we really thought we were creating genius,” says Stanley. “The record company heard it, and it was like a scene from The Producers. We might as well have been singing Springtime for Hitler, you know? So we were delusional. And we spent the better part of a decade saying ‘We’re sorry’ to the fans. And they don’t forgive you that easily.”

15. Stanley thinks it was a mistake to try to introduce new characters in the band – in a short-lived Eighties incarnation of KISS, guitarist Vinnie Vincent was the Ankh Warrior, and the late drummer Eric Carr was the Fox. “People didn’t buy it,” he says. “And that was another reason that the fan base started to dissipate. It lost its believability. It became a menagerie – we could have had Snail Man. And we saw a decline that started gradually, but quickly we fell off the edge of the cliff. To go from doing multiple nights in an arena to, next tour, not being able to sell out a theater, is stark.”

16. Stanley loved taking off the makeup in 1983. “I wanted that recognition,” he says. “It was a big disappointment in the Seventies when I realized that going without makeup meant we couldn’t go to, like, awards shows. It was like I was living this dual life, and just sitting on my sofa at home.”

17. During one of the band’s reunion tours, Ace Frehley punched the band’s then-road manager, Tommy Thayer, who would go on to take Frehley’s place as Kiss’ guitarist (and wear his Spaceman makeup). “In his book he says he decked me or knocked me out or something, which is far from the truth, really,” says Thayer, who had chastised Frehley for breaking band rules by having his girlfriend in the band’s dressing room after a gig. “Ace said ‘fuck you,’ and under my breath I said something like ‘you’re an asshole,’ and I turned around and started walking away. He came up and just, like, hit me in the back of the head, just took a cheap shot, and I kind of lost my balance a little bit. And from then on, things really took a turn for the worse.”

18. With some help from Rob Zombie’s guitarist, John 5, Peter Criss has resumed work on a solo album he put aside in 2008 after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. “It’s heavier than anything I’ve ever touched,” he says. “My music always owed more to R&B because I grew up on Motown. But this is different. I really went for what they’ve been wantin’ from me forever, with a heavier approach, big guitars. And they’ll still hate it, and then they’ll go, “Why don’t you go back and do the pop?” [Laughs] Trust me, I’ve got the craziest fans on the planet earth!”

source: rollingstone.com

Comments

  1. 8). This was considered part of the job description. Aucoin, their label, Ezrin, Paul and Gene are the exceptions here. 11). That is, flat out, the stupidest thing I have ever read. Success, whether from race or what have you, can close oneself off from their true self, the success becomes an evasion. Look at Ace and Peter. And Hoffman was an actor! The racist subtext of his comment is way out of line. 12). Great news. 17). Very uncool of Ace, but Thayer was not a passive participant either, his behavior was a catalyst. 18). Maybe Ace and Peter, with their new albums will really re-establish their credibility, say what you want, both have an authenticity that really connects to music fans.

    • Glad that Ace and Peter are very healthy, despite their past drug and alcohol uses. On number 18, you pinpointed the very reason why Ace and Peter have a connection with fans that Paul and Gene lacked.

  2. Ace & Peter: same brand, Jack, different people.

  3. Richman says:

    LONG LIVE THE ANKH WARRIOR. COME BACK VINNY!

    • Vinnie was to good of a musician for them. Supposedly started toying with gene and Paul on stage. Id love to get my hands on some of that video… Come back soon Vinnie!!

    • Hell no,Vinnie’s whiny s–t was driving me nuts,he has no character or style just jumbled up fast garbage similar to Kulick. Ace is the best. Even Tommy the copier doesn’t sound as good as Ace even on his worse day.

  4. StreetHustla says:

    It’s pretty clear that these Kiss articles being posted on Rolling Stone.com are generating an enormous amount of web hits for the magazine. They keep coming and coming. I can imagine the ad executives at the magazine directing the editorial staff to keep posting more Kiss articles to pump up their “click count” and generate more online ad revenue. Love it.

  5. Haha tommy making excuses for why he got his a$$ knocked out! “I lost my balance a little bit” lol get of here with these lame excuses!

  6. Peters new record sounds like it gonna be really special. Zombies guitar player kicks major ass!!! This should be interesting. Peter to me has always been more suited for hard rock. He has a killer voice. Great screams. I hope it’s way harder than Sonic Bust and Monster. It would be great to have Aces and Peters out in 2014. I know Aces will be in June. Wish Peter could get his out real soon. Im curious tho. Did Peter start over with this record? Aces old bud Richie Scarlett like 2 yrs. ago played on some tracks in the studio for Peter and said its a real string hard rock album. But if Peters got Zombies guy laying down tracks now that tells me he’s starting over mabe.

    • wagdaddy says:

      Have you ever listened to a Peter Criss album….ever?…Gees its THE most godawful thing ever recorded. Go look up his last solo album-go to Amazon read the reviews-go to iTunes and preview it….Peter was/is/will always be a no-talent bum who got lucky and has ridden the coat tails of a legendary band he was a part of for a few years until he became a liability. He can’t sing, has always been an horrible drummer and can’t write a sentence-much less music. He didn’t write Beth-Stan Penridge did…Peter took it, changed a couple of words and took credit for something he never did. He is an asshole, a jerk and deserves EVERYTHING G & P dish on him.

      • …this is funny…when people come at someone with ” hey, im here to inform you that although some of you think this guy is really good…well he’s really not in anyway at all whatsoever”. its such a funny tack to take…it makes the reader go for a second “hey is this person right?;they sound very convinced of what they are saying,they must be right” but then you sit back and go “nah” …because what you’re saying here is completely and utterly ludicrous…go watch Shock Me ’77 on the youtube for example,and tell me with a straight face that Peter Criss can’t rock the house and the whole band down when he is on…you can’t…when he was/is on he’s one of the greatest EVER…if the drummer isn’t good the band isn’t good. period. so when they went multi platinum for the first time with Alive and Alive II,you had a live kickass drummer.no weak links.these are the facts.people like to get really funny on the internet, playing fast and loose with the truth…cause they are mad at the person themselves maybe or have some other unknown axe to grind…

      • you obviously no nothing about music if you think Peter can’t sing or play. I’d put him right up there with Neil Peart if you know who that is and I have to say along with millions of fans that many of Kiss’s songs sound better with Peter singing them. So, you might want to get that hearing problem taken care of or put your Justin Bieber CD back in.

  7. Jeff Koger says:

    Paul can say what he wants, the reason other characters were created for Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent is because Kiss didn’t own the rights to Ace and Peter’s makeup AT THAT TIME. Once they bought the rights, and the reunion tour/farewell tours had ended, they decide to put Tommy and Eric Singer in the “characters”. And by the way Gene and Paul, the “character” was Space Ace, NOT Spaceman.

    • I wish Paul would stop blaming Eric & Vinnies makeup for the decline.

      • What else could it be?
        Creatures of the night fucking rocked

      • I agree, It wasn’t the make up Pauly it was the music that caused the decline. The fact that Eric’s make-up was on Creatures was the reason I bought it. I thought it was the coolest thing. The fact you didn’t have Vinnie in make -up on that cover surely doesn’t help Paul’s explanation ! The fans couldn’t’ / didn’t have a chance to act on any new members in make up.

        • Regan Green says:

          Paul is delusional. They were losing fans because they changed their sound with Dynasty and Unmasked. Their popularity was washing up because of it and the true rockers out there were seeing young kids filling the seats.. It was becoming a Saturday morning cartoon. The Elder didn’t help either (even though I personally think there is some good stuff there, just different). By the time Creatures came out, their fan base had literally moved on because of the direction Paul and Gene were taking Kiss on their three previous releases. The were no longer the dark and dangerous band.

  8. I am tired of Paul and Gene!
    Just Go away like your music in 2001
    I can’t stand the drama,

    Long Live Ace, Peter, Vinnie & Bruce!

  9. So your saying the music is not what sells , it the make up? Lame. I thought Vinnie and Eric’s make up was great! Oh we’ll talk enough shit and you start believing yourself I guess…

  10. They could have given Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent’s personas a chance to catch on. What’s done is done and that is both Eric C and Vinnie had their own personas and styles that distinguishes them apart from Ace and Peter. They also saved KISS musically with Vinnie doing it twice with Revenge.

  11. Luijan Ranbel says:

    I wonder sometimes what would happen if they sold T-shirts of Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent with makeup on like the solo albums. The great artwork of David E. Wilkinson can be the starting point for such an idea.
    The fact is that those shirts would sell like hot cakes and for Paul Stanley not to a least give some kudos to the fans that love the characters is ridiculous.
    I’m sure that back in 1980/81 before MTV changed the world of music, people were just tired of a Kiss band that played pop and disco for the most part, but Creatures of the Night changed everything and all it took was time.
    If Kiss would have stuck with the makeup for one more album, say Lick It Up, it’s possible Vinnie Vincent’s Ankh Warrior and Eric Carr’s fox makeup would have become a huge attraction/merchandise money maker.
    If after a while they would have wanted to take a break or just plain show themselves, that’s fine, but in the end, they put it all back on and now we are without new characters or old ones that were awesome…

    • Couldn’t disagree more. While Creatures is one of their best albums and concerts, KISS in make up was deader than dead. It was already dying when Unmasked came out with the original four still on the album cover years earlier. Lick it Up was a business move that gave them some notoriety back for awhile. I loved the COTN era of KISS. But more fans walked away than stuck around during that time.

      • Luijan Ranbel says:

        Kiss was not dying due to the makeup.
        Kiss was dying because they turned the music towards kids as they did with the merchandise.
        Even the whole Unmasked album cover, the concept album (Music from The Elder), the shorter hair, the pics on 16 Magazine, etc.
        I agree the makeup was getting old, but with the new characters, it was like starting from scratch.
        They could have waited a bit because that Creatures album was awesome!
        And they still had the makeup on.
        I saw that concert live and it was great although they were playing for 400 people at best…
        All I’m saying is that who knows what would have happened with the Ankh Warrior and Fox characters had they kept it going for a bit longer and what may have been the immediate future with Mark St. John/Bruce Kulick in makeup.
        I know for a fact that there is a lot of money going towards the black market that sell Ankh Warrior and Fox stuff online…
        The question is why and how come Gene Simmons enterprises is not getting a chunk?

        • We can disagree on potential fortunes. But we’ll agree on COTN. Especially the tour. Of the 40 plus times I’ve seen the band, the Creatures tour was the best show musically I ever saw from them. I saw them twice that year and they were fierce. I was a huge Ace guy growing up and was bummed when he left. Vinnie played with attitude and didn’t try to be Ace. He was his own guy and they blew me away twice on that tour. Too bad hardly anyone else saw them during that era.

      • You’re right DR. KISS was old hat by 1980. Nobody cared what they did at that time. I was 15/16 years old then. They had nothing whatsoever to offer me. I know one person that went to the Creatures tour. They had to use a curtain in our local hockey rink to divide it in half, so people wouldn’t see how empty the place was. Put it this way, they used the curtain for Van Halen in 1978 there! Nobody talked about the KISS concert the next day in school. Nobody cared!

        I was discovering Black Sabbath, Rush, Ozzy, Triumph, UFO and other hard rock bands. Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Scorpions – all those bands were gaining momentum. Then we still had Led Zeppelin, the Stones, the Who, Pink Floyd and a bunch of the old bands releasing their last halfway decent works. Hardcore KISS fans are completely delusional and younger fans have no idea re: how unpopular KISS was in 1980 – 83.

  12. pete lytel says:

    Thats BS. Kiss lost popularity because they were the bieber of the era, people got sick of them and the kids moved on. But Erics and Vinnies makeup was accepted BIG time. Especially Erics. I really take offense to Paul saying that about Eric. Shows how disconnected Paul truly is.

  13. Brandon says:

    3. Yep, that has merit. Ace had been putting up with material on albums that grated against his preferences from Dynasty through Elder, and had finally had enough.
    8. So, you did coke to not let down the fans??? Sorry, that’s just rationalization and BS.
    14. I don’t believe Ace and Eric ever considered Elder a masterpiece. Ace reportedly threw a copy against the wall after hearing it, considering it junk. I’m one of those weirdoes that actually like that album, though.
    15. I really don’t think the makeup was a problem – that’s like blaming a football team’s losses on the uniform. Plus, Eric’s persona was cool. They went discoish/popish, released a wildly unpopular concept album and ultimately wound up chasing an audience that was leaning toward punk and the NWOBHM. The real problem was making too many musical missteps and bad business decisions in a row – losing two founding members within a few years hurt badly also.
    18. John 5 is a beast. I honestly don’t know if Peter has the chops to keep with him, but if he does, this could be something very worthwhile. Much needed also, because All for One was just flat out bad.

    • Peters album “All for one” was, in Peters own words while recording it, an album that he made for himself – and not for the fans. So it’s Peter Criss doing what he really felt like doing.

      Just had to get that info into the mix :-)

  14. Lamont Sanford says:

    Look what gene has to say about someone who died no heart no soul.gene could have died from aids from all the hoes he’s slept with ,but in his narrow brain it’s ok what a joke this clown is.you think he cares about his fans ?

  15. Joe Pensanti says:

    Lately Paul and Gene have been bagging on Mark St. John’s playing. I do agree that the man sounded like a soulless, angry bee. But if you knew that at the time, why in the world did you allow him to play on the record? The reason why Creatures didn’t do well as a tour and album was because Ace was not involved. Not to mention The Elder was like wtf is this at the time. That record was promised to be a return to the hard rock sound. They alienated many fans during ’81 and ’82.

    • Ace was involved in Unmasked and didn’t help that album. Hell at that point they only place they could tour was out of the US.

    • Ace was on the cover of Creatures and was in the first video. Not buying the concept that Ace was the reason for the failure of Creatures.

    • schocoman says:

      I guess Mark St John sounded and played like a whole lot of typical hair metal players at the time, so maybe, as Kiss was trying to fit into this pop-metals 80s scene and make money and maybe stay on top, they chose him because he sounded like that, and of course it is typical of our two liars that again they now bash someone for sth that they themselves decided on when they thought it would give them an advantage. This also goes by the name of hypocracy. they will just never give someone who helped the band in any way their due respect if that would mean to have the the spotlightput away from them for a single second. Despite all the money they have, they still seem so vulnerable that nobody will ever acknowledge them for their musical skills … so they must try to look great in different ways. We should rather pity them.

      • DR, glad we got over that rough patch. But Ace leaving Kiss cast a huge shadow over Creatures, and when I bought it, last time I got Kiss’s new record at 10am, the minute the store opened, the day of its release, I thought Ace played on it. Then I played it for this guy at school, a great guitar player, and he goes, “that’s not Ace, Ace would never play that.” LOL, I go “no, he’s on the cover.” Talk about naive. That was my first Kiss show, I had tickets to Dynasty in Portland, OR but the Fire Marshall shut it down so I had to wait. I think the press covering Kiss played a big role in dividing the original, they always had to say who they thought was the most musically talented, and for some reason they always said Ace was, or even Peter. There was a Creem article in ’77 where the guy said Peter was the only one who had any musical talent. So Gene and Paul probably weren’t too happy, and Ace and Peter actually bought into their own hype. So, my point is that when Creatures came out, Ace was still very popular with the fans, his songs were the only songs on Dynasty and Unmasked that the fans liked. That disco song was popular in spite of Kiss’s fans, not because. That’s how I remember it. Paul and Gene never got their due respect for being great songwriters and musicians like they should have in Kiss’s heyday. It didn’t make ANY sense to me growing up.

  16. Now they have alienated every last one of there fans!

  17. Joe Pensanti says:

    Off topic, but would love to hear what the fans think of this idea I have for the last ever KISS concert:

    Citi Field, NY. Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter take the stage in full makeup and show. Set list:
    I Stole Your Love
    King Of The Night Time World
    Deuce
    (Greeting to crowd)
    Let Me Go Rock And Roll
    Cold Gin
    Strutter
    Do You Love Me (with memories montage on screen)
    Firehouse
    Shock Me (Ace solo)
    I Want You
    Calling Dr. Love
    Love Gun (Paul flies)
    God Of Thunder (blood, flying)
    100,000 Years (Peter solo, Paul classic rap)
    Nothin’ To Lose (“Sing it for Petey, New Yawk!”)
    Got To Choose
    Dtroit Rock City

    ENCORE 1:
    Beth
    ENCORE 2:
    WITH ALL SURVIVING MEMBERS OF KISS 1973 TO TODAY:
    God Gave Rock And Roll To You 2
    Rock And Roll All Nite
    ENCORE 3:
    (wait 5 whole minutes as crowd chants “we want Kiss”…all 4 original members only appear, do the classic bow.)
    Black Diamond (totally epic way to go out…drums in air, bombs going off, We Love You Goodnight!)

    What do you think?

    • Joe Pensanti says:

      I forgot about Shout it out loud…put that before Detroit Rock City

    • schocoman says:

      How did you come to know my dream? Yet, some dreams are too good to make them a reality that would then fall short of it.

    • Astroman says:

      Nice thought, Joe. But Gene Simmons will become a born-again Christian before a scenario like you described ever plays out. Anything that takes the spotlight off of him and Paul is unacceptable to them. And featuring all the surviving members on one stage (Ace, Peter, Vinnie, Bruce, Eric Singer, Tommy) would put too much of the KISS limelight on someone else. I like the setlist, although I would add one of my personal favorites, “Christine Sixteen.”

  18. I don’t exactly agree with “how” Paul is saying what he is about the makeup of Vinnie and Eric but I agree with the premise. He’s correct…the moment they added Eric in makeup, they started to become a caricature of themselves. As a Kiss fan I loved it but I was a diehard…it did nothing to grow the band. The fact is the band was played out in the US by that time. Original members or makeup…didn’t matter they were done in the US. Kiss was at the same turning point many bands get to in their careers…change or die. The bands that change and evolve are generally the ones that stick around. From a musical standpoint, from a musician standpoint…the COTN era was arguably the high point of the bands career and yet nobody cared. Me personally being a fan dating back to 75, it was my favorite era live. They sounded incredible on that tour, played with a fury live like they did on those early tours. Didn’t matter. The makeup…new characters, old characters was played out. Kiss needed to reinvent themselves and they did just that with Lick It Up.

    • schocoman says:

      AC/DC, on the other hand, did never change and THUS did never die. I rather think they should have stuck to their guns, the classic sound, and not have tried to advance the new sounds of thee ra, because they could only sound like a copy, of disco pop or whatever (later it was grunge, cf. Carnival of Souls). So for the non make-up era they were trying to be one of those typical hair metal pop bands, and in that they were just one of very many trying to have their share of the pie. Had they stuck to the original concept, they might have lost half of their followers and played smaller venues (which they did, nevertheless), but they would have stayed true to themselves and so they never would have lost the fans of the early era because they, like the fans of AC/DC, would have carried on loving them for exactly that. If you adapt too often, you become some meaningless copy of sth , and soon enough people will realize that.

      • If you read the book that their old accountant wrote, you’ll read that they were looking at the Bon Jovi model and trying to capitalize on that. There was more ‘Paul’ and less ‘Gene’ which personally I didn’t like. They kept that model till Revenge which IMO is still their best non-make up album (ironically Vinnie helped with some songwriting). The 80’s and the MTV era were a strange time for the 70’s rock bands. Not many came into the 80’s the same way the left the 70’s. Hindsight being 20/20, you’re probably right. But they were pop rock in the 70’s and too big to stay that big, and they needed a change.

        • schocoman says:

          I remember “Video killed the radio star” which, ironically, was a starter for that MTV era as well as a first criticism of it. The lyrics about say it all. The bands from the 70s did not look real in the 80s trying to adapt to rock music now pressed into a 3 minute glamour video format. Rock’ roll does not really fit to spandex trousers in pink and yellow with blond stripes in your backcombed hair. Bon Jovi at that time was maybe the best example of what that kind of band would look like. But that was the sign of the times, nothing looked real in a music video, shallowness took over. Gene, indeed, would rather stand for the mysterious, frrighteneing images in the band, Paul more or less would be the good-looking frontman for the girls. I have always tended to Gene, if one of these two. Then they shifted back to straight no-nonsense rock with Revenge (I agree, the best album besides the classic period), then again towards grunge with Carnival. Seems like they were trying to maintain an audience or create a new one to keep the band alive, which I understand, but did not like. Still, what impresses me most is a band that will consistently do their own thing against all odds and despit any changes in the so-called popular music. There are quite a lot of examples of bands like this that can still make a good living out of that.

  19. The Elder was their “Wall” and it stunk. Creatures Of The Night if recorded by a sober Ace & Peter added would have been killer and a great tour. Jack Daniels laid out Ace & Peter.

    • Still would’ve preferred The Fox on COTN. Pete couldn’t pound like Eric did on that record. I agree on Ace, but can’t deny the work Vinnie did on that album.

  20. I think that Paul and Gene are being extremely delusional and so far off, in everything do lately, that I think they should just stop.

    Back then I never heard anyone, who were against Eric Carrs make up or Vinnies for that matter. Quite the opposite.

    Finally, Paul and Gene, the more you talk, the more fans you guys lose…..

    • Joe Pensanti says:

      Absolutely. I cannot be more fed up with Gene and Paul than I am now. I used to think their forays into disco and The Elder were bad. I even got punched in middle school over it. This makes those times look great. The worst thing is, Gene and especially Paul now look like they are trying to squeeze every last gasp out of Kiss. It’s disgusting, pitiful, shameful and downright insulting to especially longtime fans like myself. Enough already. Kiss now is like the person who won’t leave the party, and the host is taking a shower and getting ready for bed. They can’t see this, and it’s beyond bothersome. It’s disappointing.

  21. Mr Make Believe says:

    Wonder whether the acquisition of the make up rights also came with a right to re-write history? Got to wonder what goes through their heads at times. Some of us were actually around during that time and know what happened. How does that song go…mr make believe…

    • schocoman says:

      Unfortunately history has always been written by the winners, not the losers. Every historian knows that. Even though I hate to say so, from a certain point of view Ace and Peter are on the losing side, so G and P ARE rewriting the history of the band (just wait for the movie to come this year!) because, well because they CAN. And, of course, because it is a fine way to please their egos.

  22. As a KISS fan from ’76 through early ’78 here are my thoughts on the band. I enjoy reading the passionate fans’ comments, but I think I can offer more objective opinions.

    1.) All four original members were nearly equally responsible for the band’s success. Paul being the frontman was the face of the band and contributed a lot of material. Gene was really the show in a lot of ways with the firebreathing and blood. He was a lot of the visual appeal and my favorite member as a 12 year old kid in 1977. Ace gave the band rock ‘n roll credentials. That’s who the older fans liked most. Peter gave the band the big chart success with Beth.

    2.) All four original members are equally delusional and contributed to the decline of the band. Paul thinks KISS was a “rule breaking band.” He states in the Alive in the Studio special that KISS was the first band to release a “double live album.” Not true at all. They weren’t even the first HARD ROCK band to do it. Deep Purple did “Made in Japan” around ’72 or ’73. There were tons of other live rekkids out. And hippie band the Grateful Dead did a 3 record live set. Paul has so many delusions about the band, I could fill the whole page with them. But that’s just one of them. The songwriting remained as immature as could be. That didn’t help them. And the great songs just weren’t there after awhile.

    Gene hurt the band with the non-stop marketing that instantly made KISS uncool amongst older fans. No 16 or 17 year old dude wants to go see the same band that some 10 year old kid has on his lunchbox. Sorry.

    Peter thinks he’s one of the only rock “jazz influenced drummers.” I’ve never heard anyone other than him mention his name in the same sentence with Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell.

    Ace thinks that because he won Circus’s best guitarist poll, that he was a top player. I got news for you Ace, you are talented and you did a great job in KISS with your writing, showmanship and playing, but sorry, the average kid filling out that poll was about 11 years old and had no idea who Steve Howe or Jimmy Page was. None. I know, because I still had a Circus Poll that I filled out at age 12 but never sent in. My favorite bass player was Gene. Case closed! Circus did a story on KISS nearly every issue.

    3. Lastly KISS became unpopular for many reasons, and it wasn’t the new “characters.”

    The songs weren’t there in the late 1970s. Hard core KISS fans will disagree, but rock fans know it’s true.

    The band lost all credibility with the crazy marketing and dumb movie KISS Meets The Phantom. Ask the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton how a dumb movie can crush your career.

    KISS didn’t hit the smaller markets in their heyday. That might’ve made them more fans, but their stage show became too big.

    Other bands had caught up with KISS’s show. Every rock band had to up their game, from Blue Oyster Cult, to Rush and Triumph and more. Also, there were new bands and sounds that were very appealing to rock fans. Bands like Van Halen. KISS had worn out its welcome and were old news by 1979.

    I never remember saying “I no longer like KISS.” I just moved on. I wasn’t into “Dynasty” and couldn’t care less about the “Elder” – didn’t even listen to either of them. I was checking out Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, Van Halen and others. KISS just kind of faded away for me with no big fanfare. As quick as I’d become a fan, I lost interest.

  23. Justin Fendelet says:

    Loved eric carrs make up he would be back in his fox make up after pete left or contract was not renewed….and people woulda been happy with that but its just over for kiss monster and sonic boom arnt for me so I just listen to the staple records now desroyer, creatues, kiss Ace solo, revenge you Kiss fa s know…just wish they would shut it down now …oh ya MOTLEY press conference they wouldnt use the word KISS outa respect but they meant KiSS is past there prime…

  24. Jimmy Apple (@jimmyapple5) says:

    I have a lot of fondness for Eric Carr. I think his avatar were as well received as they could be, and I think looking back people do appreciate his own distinct personality and appearance. I actually wish they would use that make-up scheme in their mechandising empire as a cancer awareness and fundraising initiative.

    Vinnie Vincent was just a whole other thing. People never say it, but he just looked weird, and looked even weirder in make-up. He wouldn’t have fit in in any paint scheme.

  25. flashrockinman says:

    I hope Peter finishes his solo album. I really like the one he did before the reunion tour, Cat #1. He should go for a KISS sound though. That’s what people want to hear.

    • I’m looking forward to Peter’s new album too and I wonder if it’s in the same vein as Cat #1 prior to the reunion tour. That was his best solo album.

  26. Cold Gin says:

    17. Funny how half the story was posted. In reading Ace’s book, Ace enlightened Thayer with some chin music was because Gene and Paul constantly broke the same rule, yet Thayer said or did nothing. Ace brings a woman backstage and Thayer is pounding on the door.

  27. good for tommy , . if i recall gene and paul were bringing in their wives and girlfriends, whats the big deal with ace ..tommy is a fool and got what he deserved.. i would have done the same thing… tommy the loser bozo the clown sucks

  28. Pounder says:

    I personally truly believe the decline in the early 80’s was the release of The Elder, and not the different make up/characters as Paul thinks. I grew up during this whole period and I thought the Ahnk Warrior and Fox suited those guys perfectly and were cool back then and even today. I agree that snailman, birdman or turtle man would have never worked as even the thought of those characters are cheesy and silly. I think if Creatures Of the Night was done and released in 1981 instead of the Elder, Kiss would have had a better chance of regaining their Rock & Roll credibility back.

  29. It’s amazing how you all know so much more about being in Kiss than Paul Stanley does.

  30. I guess Paul has a short term memory loss??? The decline in KISS’ popularity had more to do with Dynasty, Unmasked and the nail in the coffin Music from the Elder than the new characters. Paul is really become a tool!

  31. The only reason Kiss survived that dip in their popularity in the U.S. from 1980-1983-4, is because of fans like me , and others on this page who continued to support them, who suspended our disbelief enough to accept these new characters, who would’ve followed Gene and Paul to the ends of the earth if they would just stop making disco records and rock again. We kept them afloat just long enough for them to regroup, take the makeup off, and become cool again. Cool, meaning cute high school girls started liking them again, and guys wouldn’t snicker at you if you said you were a Kiss fan..platinum success followed. But, if they didn’t have our grass roots support to get them over this hump, they wouldn’t have survived, it would have been over.

  32. So, no new member of Kiss saved Kiss. Vinnie did not save Kiss, if it wasn’t for Paul and Gene no one would’ve given two shits about that guy. Does anybody know who Mitch Weissman is? He co-wrote the title track for Creatures, and some other songs for Kiss. If Mitch would’ve been chosen instead of Vinne, people would be saying the same stuff about Mitch..”he saved Kiss, etc.” What I’m saying is if it wasn’t for the fans…the fans: me and others like me, WE saved Kiss just long enough for them to get their act together again.

  33. Allen C. says:

    No one bought into Eric Carr’s or Vinnie’s make up? How come fans showed up wearing it at Concerts? They started to loose fans back when they were putting out Pop Rock songs on Dynasty and Unmasked, then the Elder made it worse. Not even the 78 Solo albums helped sales as there were tons of those albums that never sold or ended up in bargain bins at Record stores. Paul Stanley always forgets there’s still a fan base for these guys as there is for Ace and Peter, even fans still love Bruce Kulick! New make up on new members did not hurt the band, loosing Original Members and their signature sound for Pop Crap is what hurt KISS in the early 80s! Get a clue, Stanley!

  34. Niggy J says:

    Eric Carr was the best drummer kiss ever was lucky enough to have…
    PERIOD!

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