KISS400 Gary Graff of Billboard reports:

With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony looming closer, neither KISS nor the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation seem ready to relax the entrenched positions that led to the group’s decision not to perform April 10th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

KISS, according to frontman Paul Stanley, is upset that the Rock Hall plans to induct only the group’s founding lineup and tells Billboard that discussions about subsequent members “was shut down as a non-starter.”

Nevertheless, Stanley says KISS feels that honoring the other six musicians who have played in the band is “a very valid argument considering that there are people who played on multi-platinum albums and played for millions of people and were very important for the continuation of the band. And clearly when you’ve got a busload of Grateful Dead (members) who have been inducted and guys in the Chili Peppers who nobody knows who they are because they played on the very earliest albums are inducted…The list goes on and on of the inconsistencies. Now, I’m not pointing fingers at any of those people, but I’m certainly pointing a finger at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The only consistencies are inconsistencies and the rules clearly are there are no rules because the criteria for how and who gets in is purely based upon a personal like or dislike. And when I feel we’re being treated unfairly, I have issues with that.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation CEO Joel Peresman says that the decision about who to induct from any band is made by the Rock Hall’s nominating committee as well as an adjunct group of “scholars and historians” familiar with specific inductees and genres. “This isn’t chemistry or physics; it’s not an exact science,” Peresman acknowledges. “Sometimes there’s an entire body of work up until (the artists) are inducted, other times it’s a specific period of time that established the band as who they are. With KISS there wasn’t one person here who didn’t agree that the reason Kiss was nominated and is being inducted was because of what was established in the ’70s with Ace (Frehley), with Peter (Criss), with Paul and Gene (Simmons). That’s what put them on that map.”

Peresman adds that KISS “is a unique situation where you have artists who wear makeup as part of what the band’s about,” but the Rock Hall felt that the later members — including current guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, who are wearing Frehley and Criss’ makeup, respectively — “are fine musicians who…basically have the same makeup and are the same characters that Ace and Peter started. It’s not like they created these other characters with different makeup and playing different songs. They took the persona of characters that were created by Ace and Peter.” Persman notes that last year Heart was in a similar position, where the Rock Hall chose to induct the original ’70s sextet and not later musicians that played in the band.

But Stanley feels the situation with KISS is a bit more personal. “That it’s 14 years on (of eligibility) and we’re getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a clear indication that the people who hide behind that moniker don’t like us, but it reached a point where it was so absurd and ludicrous (to exclude Kiss) that they caved,” he says. “It’s like them swallowing a teaspoon of medicine they don’t want. It’s a bitter pill for them to swallow, so they’re making it as small as possible.”

Stanley says that the Rock Hall asked KISS to perform as the original quartet, in make-up, but he and Simmons — who have been playing with three-time KISS member Singer again since 2002 and Thayer since 2004 — were not confident the performance would be up to standard. “Honestly, I don’t want to roll the dice and possibly negatively impact on what I personally have been involved in building for 40 years,” he explains. “I have too much invested at this point. It really is a can of worms that I feel is better off left closed.” Peresman, meanwhile, says the Rock Hall has no plans for a performance stand-in for Kiss at the ceremony. “We have other artists, other inductees showing up and performing when they can,” Peresman says. “We’re very hopeful that Ace and Peter and Paul and Gene come and accept their award. We’re obviously honored to have them inducted.”

Read more at Billboard.


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  • John G on

    I see where the Hall is coming from with this stuff. The Grateful Dead was like a long running baseball team with different eras and different players that all contributed. Whether you like them or thought they sucked doesn’t matter – a lot of people loved them, and they would likely still be filling arenas if not stadiums if they were around. But they did great stuff with nearly all of their lineups.

    Heart was another band that made its mark in Rock ‘n Roll in the early days. Magic Man, Crazy On You, Barracuda are all rock classics with great riffs and tremendous vocals. They had a lot of other great songs too. Jefferson Airplane would be a similar situation – you put in the originals with Grace Slick/Balin/Kaukonen/Kanter et. al and do not put in the “Starship” lineup who, like mid-1980s era Heart did crass commercial music.

    The Hall is doing the right things with KISS. It doesn’t matter that the other members kept the band going – their best and classic material and impact was made with the original 4.

  • Rob on

    If they’re so concerned about other members being inducted, how come they’re not clamoring for Eric Carr, Bruce Kulick, Vinnie Vincent, or Mark St. John to be inducted?

    One solution would be for all of them to perform without makeup. Of course, Gene and Paul would never go for that.

    • Dave Esselburn on

      They’re on record wanting former members in.

    • George on

      They have been clamoring for ALL MEMBERS… THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT PLAYING…Do any of you morons pay any attention to what is going on over the last few months??

    • Bob Esssrin on

      Bravo George.

  • Heavymtl on

    Both sides are right about the other side being wrong – how bizarre is that?! Paul is right to be offended that it took the RRHOF this long to finally induct KISS – and clearly they did it grudgingly, when they simply couldn’t ignore the screams anymore – and so he has a chip on his shoulder about the whole thing. And as he said (and Eddie has said himself many times) the idea of a reunion will open up a can of worms that he’d rather keep closed. But the RRHOF is right to say that the original 4 characters are what made KISS who they are – THAT’S why they’re being inducted. Of course, that brings us right back to “well if it’s all about the original band, why didn’t you induct them when the original band was back together for the reunion tour?!” What a mess . . .

    • mellster on

      Here’s what I don’t get–it wasn’t just the original four characters that kept this band going. Part of the “fan base” consists of folks who weren’t around for the original heyday of the 1970s. Was their money not the same shade of green or something?

      I’d say both the band and the Hall are in the wrong here, though it does appear (if I’m reading this right) that Paul Stanley is willing to budge somewhat, at least on the record. But the Hall can go pack sand with their “defense”, IMO. Stanley is absolutely right about that much–they’ve invited “all” members of bands in the past, even if there was no notable catalog or band history at the time of induction (see: Josh Klinghoffer, RHCP; Gary Cherone, Van Halen). Where I differ with Stanley is whether it should be done, ever–he says it’s done arbitrarily and it shouldn’t be done at all. I say it’s done arbitrarily, and it should always be done, every single time. The Hall inserting themselves in the subsequent imbroglio, claiming they have a Policy now that differs from the past is kind of dumb. The Hall should continue inviting all current and past members, and let the bands sort out the performance themselves. Let the bands take the flack for dissing former members or not.

      Bottom line, though: this particular situation is doing the whole Van Halen spectacle all over again, except in this instance, it’s an even bigger slap in the face to the fans. These KISS fans, for decades, have been raising he*l, trying to get this band honored at all. The Rock Hall of Fame is just compounding the stupid of the original information put out by Simmons and Stanley, by digging in and insisting “it has to be the original members”. No, it does not. The people representing the Hall know full well that rock stars are, at heart, a bunch of egotistical babies who happen to be really talented. There’s no need for the Hall to emulate the same behavior.

  • spike on

    Consider it a blessing Kiss not performing. It doesn’t matter which lineup, all they can play is Rock & Roll All Nite for the millionth time.

    • mako99 on

      Right on!

    • Josh on

      Wouldn’t it be funny to see the original 4 perform Shock Me and Beth instead hahahaha.

    • DR on

      The original four should play Charisma, Dirty Livin, The Oath, and Torpedo Girl. Then I’m in.

  • Erik on

    I hate the HALL OF SHAME…but I at least agree that Singer and Thayer don’t deserve to be inducted for anything they’ve done in the last ten years. They’ve copied the antics of two other players and little else…and that is not worthy of any sort of induction. That would be like inducting Ian Astbury with THE DOORS (for copying Jim Morrison).

    That said, Singer is a fine drummer who played with the band during one of their better later periods (early-mid-90s). Thayer? Go to hell.

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