kiss-return The co-producer behind the first two KISS records insists guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss were never anything more than hired hands.

Richie Wise, who fronted New York metal outfit Dust between 1969 and 1972, assisted behind the desk when Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and co recorded their 1974 debut record and its follow-up, Hotter Than Hell, the same year.

He tells KissFAQ, “Ace and Peter had no focus. They were hired hands as far as I was concerned. I knew they auditioned for the band-and the band was Gene and Paul, period.

Ace, I understood exactly what he was doing. He listened to Page and Clapton and all those guitarists that I listened to, so I understood him well.

Peter was, at best, a poppy adequate drummer. But he was solid; he really didn’t get in the way and laid down the proper fundamental beat.”

And Wise believes the musical abilities of Simmons and Stanley have been overlooked throughout the band’s career.

“Gene wasn’t a traditional bass player, playing with his fingers,” says the producer. “He was more of a guitar player bass player. But he played with a lot of melodic sense, like McCartney in a way. Paul was excellent behind the mic. They had, right out of the box, good technique. They worked well together. I worked well with them.

The first album was six days, and then some mixing, I think a total of 13 days. It went very well. And I think it was very organic and real.”

Criss recently suggested there was less musical integrity to the current KISS lineup, featuring guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer. He told our own Eddie Trunk, “Although Gene and Paul are the major members in the band, Eric and Tommy, to them, it’s a job.

He’s playing Ace Frehley licks to a tee; Eric’s playing my drum licks to a tee. They’re still playing the same songs that we made famous.

There’s a whole new generation of kids that are clueless about what KISS is all about. They go to see them now, and they think, ‘That’s KISS.’”

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  • AlteredBob on

    This ‘producer’ can KISS my ass. He’s a frustrated ex-band member who never made it-period. This is nothing but a publicity stunt and smear campaign initiated by Gene and Paul. They are feeling the backlash from diehard Kiss fans (like myself) who are SICK and tired of this bullshit character rip-off of a band they call ‘Kiss’…it’s like Gene and Paul are in a KISS tribute band! The current Kiss is a joke now (and shame on you Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer for even going with it-no matter how much you are paid-you’ll never replace the ICONS Ace and Peter are)! Those greedy bastards Stanley and Simmons will one day REPLACE THEMSELVES just to keep making cash! Gene is full of himself and disgusts me now. And to think I idolized this guy when I was a kid? The guy is a total jerkoff. I wonder how much they paid this ‘producer’clown to say this-he was probably just an engineer anyway. Ace Frehley has been CONSISTENTLY putting out solo efforts that ‘out-Kiss’ KISS themselves. God Bless Ace & Peter!!! \m/


    I have been a kiss fan as long as I can remember . I saw the band in 78 when I was 10 years old and no disrespect to Gene and Paul, my favorite band members were Peter and Ace, and once they left the band it was never the same. There’s such a thing called LOYALTY. I think Gene and Paul think to much of themselves. No one member is bigger than the band. Get off your high horse boys.

  • barry mckissack on

    You could love which ever member you wanted before you knew them. Now, I know, Paul is the man, Gene is Gene, and Ace and Peter are doing a lot better today than they would have been otherwise. Everything else is water under the bridge.

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