KISS frontman Paul Stanley spoke with Ultimate Classic Rock about the lack of involvement of original band members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in the band’s new A&E documentary Biography: KISStory, which will air the two-night event on June 27th and June 28th from 9 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET. The singer says that Frehley’s and Criss’ sound bites come from archival interviews because both wanted to be paid and have “final editing rights” in order to be part of the project. In addition, Criss would not grant permission for the documentary makers to use the song Beth — which he co-wrote — in the film.

“It’s sad, but that kind of fits into the whole dynamic,” Stanley said. “We did the best we could. We tried numerous times in all different ways to have them be part of it, but this idea of final editing and money and this and that. … It was like, ‘No, your involvement doesn’t warrant that.’ And who ultimately loses out in a situation like this? They do.”

“I don’t really want to trash those guys,” Stanley continued, “because we wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t been in the band, and we wouldn’t be here today if they still were.”

Last September, Frehley confirmed during an appearance on SiriusXM‘s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk that he had been approached by the band’s documentary producers about participating in the film. “They offered me a small fee to be involved with it, and I turned them down,” he said. “I thought the fee was embarrassing, because I know how much money they’re gonna make on it. So, either share the wealth, or c’est la vie. So, I decided not be involved. But they have plenty of old footage of me, and they’ll probably use that and get by. But it won’t be the same as if they get current footage. Unfortunately, I decided the money that they offered me wasn’t anywhere near what I felt I deserved, so I turned it down. The footage you’re gonna see of me in this documentary is only gonna be old footage.”

To read more details about Biography: KISStory, and to view a trailer, please go here.

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  • Rattlehead on

    D.J.H., I agree with your “…real deal” comment. “You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best….” applies only to the real KI$$. I, too, wouldn’t pay a s*** ton of money to see the current imposter band, no matter how spectacle the stage show would be. Some people may not care who’s in the band and who performs the songs, and that’s their opinion and right. But I do care, and my opinion matters the most to me on this matter, even if it is contrary to the opinion of others…..

    Bro Doug R. has perfectly commented about not accepting anybody other than Vincent Furnier as Alice Cooper…..of course we wouldn’t! So why is the KI$$ situation any different? IMO, it’s exactly the same…..and I will not accept imposters in my KI$$

    • Doug R. on

      Exactly, bro! As I have said a million times, if Thayer and Singer were allowed to be themselves from the beginning, I’d have NO problem with them being in KI⚡⚡ whatsoever! 1 Alice Cooper – Vincent Furnier, 1 Demon – Gene Simmons, 1 Starchild – Paul Stanley, 1 Spaceman – Ace Frehley, 1 Catman – Peter Criss, 1 Fox – Eric Carr, 1 Ankh Warrior – Vinnie Vincent! There will never be another Alice Cooper, and there will never be another Demon, Starchild, Spaceman, Catman, Fox, or Ankh Warrior, PERIOD! End of story.

    • Doug R. on

      There would be no Singer/Thayer without Criss/Frehley, Ace & Peter MADE Eric & Tommy, literally!

  • robert davenport on

    Eric Singer is a very well known drummer in the music industry has been for years , he has not only played for Alice cooper ,and badlands , he has done numerous uncredited sessions ,and filled in for practically everyone ,-he is a monster drummer and can play any style- now as far as I know Tommy Thayer played in a decent band black n blue that never broke through , and played in a great 70s era tribute band cold gin , so kiss definitely gave tommy his career , but by all accounts he is very well respected well liked , and a hard and dedicated worker, I’m not going to ever insult these guys they took well paying gigs playing music for very good living they would be idiots not to take the jobs in kiss ~

    • Doug R. on

      Robert, I know all about Singer and Thayer, and if you’ve read any of my posts over the last 7 years, you should know by now I’m not insulting their credentials as musicians, never have, never will, and when I say Ace and Peter MADE Eric and Tommy, what I mean is that Ace and Peter made Eric and Tommy rich & famous! Over the last 20 years, Singer and Thayer have lived off of Ace and Peter’s legacy, and that’s just a fact. My criticism of them portraying Ace and Peter has nothing to do with their ability as musicians, I would feel the same way about ANYBODY pretending to be the Catman and or the Spaceman in KI⚡⚡, I supported every single member of the KI⚡⚡ family from the beginning, and I always will, with 2 exceptions – Singer and Thayer, not because of their musicianship, but because of their involvement in the biggest charade in the music industry since Milli Vanilli! Do you think Eric Singer would’ve played in Alice Cooper’s band if someone else was impersonating Alice? Well, maybe he would. In my opinion, it wouldn’t make someone an idiot for turning down the impersonating jobs in KI⚡⚡, what makes them idiots is accepting them. Singer and Thayer will always be known as the imposters, way more so than for their musicianship, and that was their choice. Sure, they’re set for life, and always will be, but are they respected for living off of Ace and Peter’s legacy? No.

    • Doug R. on

      Oh and by the way, just FYI, I actually did support Singer for many years as a musician/performer and as a member of KI⚡⚡ for many years, that was until the first time I saw him impersonating Peter. Choices have consequences, and it really doesn’t matter if Eric and Tommy are better musicians (Peter, maybe, Ace? no) the point is that they ARE NOT Ace and Peter, and they never will be. Question – when Alice Cooper/Vincent Furnier retires, and if for some reason Furnier sold his rights to his Alice character, would it make someone a genius or an idiot for trying to be Alice Cooper again? Exactly, because no matter what, there is only 1 Alice Cooper, and everybody knows who he is! Same goes for the 4 original members of KI⚡⚡!

    • robert davenport on

      I wanted to follow up with , I also wish they would have been their own character, I dont like them in Ace and Pete’s make up – it really doesn’t matter anymore kiss the real band has been dead and gone for many years , IMO what they are doing now is more like a theatrical musical running vocal and music tracks they are just acting- its like kiss the musical just with bombs and fire ~

  • Jodie Ryan on

    This is a hard pass for me. I don’t need to hear the same stories over and over again along with Gene’s dumb jokes and cliches. As far as Peter and Ace go, I don’t blame them one bit. Why would one subject themselves to getting bashed and anything they say even remotely critical about Gene/Paul will no doubt hit the cutting room floor.

    As far as money goes I have no idea who would be more at fault. If Gene/Paul make a million each and offer Ace/Peter 10k I would likely pass too. However if the cut was more equal they would be foolish to pass up a nice paycheck. Somehow I would bet my life on it being peanuts as always for Ace/Peter.

    Another insult will be Paul marginalizing contributions by those who helped them reach superstardom. Without Bill Aucoin, Sean Delaney, Neil Bogart, and countless others they would have never gotten out of New York City. Yes the only reason the made it was due to Gene/Paul. Look no further then how they often refuse to even call Ace/Peter co-founders. There was a LOT of people who made the KISS machine a juggernaut and contrary to Gene/Paul there were many contributors in making them a success. They have quite a revisionist history in their minds.

    I expect the same old stories. Every success was due to Paul/Gene and every failure was due to others. Even Paul tried to dodge blame in his book when they hired VV. I believe he said “I am going to go on the record this is a mistake.” Gee Paul everyone was gone by that time except for you and Gene so who’s fault was that and I’m sure the disgraceful way they treated Eric Carr in his final days will be covered extensively. Maybe he can blame that on Ace/Peter too.

    Eddie said they gloss over quite a few albums in the late 70’s during their heyday. That doesn’t surprise me one bit considering they do everything to promote the current lineup with a whopping 2 studio albums in over 20 years and a setlist of mostly 70’s material. Care to wager how many questions Paul gets regarding his horrible vocal performances the last few tours. I’ll place the odds at zero.

    • D.J.H on

      “Applause for Jodie!”

      Well said and put….

  • robert davenport on

    Doug , I get what your saying everyone has an opinion and is respectfully entitled to it , I was making a point when I said idiots , I should have said it would be idiotic to turn down paul and gene – the music business is cut throat , it’s a one in a million chance to become a member in a big time rock band , let alone make a decent iving in this industry no matter how good you are it’s easy sometimes to disparage someone and judge , but to say they should turn down a life changing job …I dont know … that is not very realistic to expect – many kiss fans from the beginning hate seeing someone other than ace and peter in their iconic make up ME INCLUDED- paul and gene in their ” infinite” wisdom chose to make a business decision to use ace and Pete’s makeup design to keep the brand alive , at this point I dont know if it was wise or not ,the decided to use tracks to cover Paul’s aging and damaged voice , I personally think it fraud and I gave up on kiss long ago – but they are still putting thousands of butts in seats , I guess people like to see stuff getting blown up … and dont care about who’s make up is being used or if paul is lip syncing , my point is for Eric and tommy they got their dream job it pays their Bill’s and provides for their families, as fans we dont always grasp the bigger picture – ace and pete are gone paul and gene decided how they were going to move forward , eric and tommy were good friends loyal employees and great musicians they could rely on and trust – why would they say no to this opportunity?

    • Doug R. on

      To save face, literally, and figuratively. Gene and Paul (especially Gene) have always been about the brand before the band, but by doing what that did, you know the old saying – “actions speak louder than words” they admitted to the whole world that they have no creativity left, they took the lazy way out! Not lazy as far as performing goes, but lazy as far as using their imagination and creativity goes to figure out a way on how to combine their 2 characters with 2 new ones and make it work, like they did with Eric Carr (The Fox) and Vinnie Vincent (The Ankh Warrior) albeit short-lived. I had no problem whatsoever with the Creatures Of The Night era, I actually thought it was excellent! And I also didn’t mind at all when they took the makeup off, like I said, I supported everything KI⚡⚡ ever did, except for turning Singer and Thayer into clones! In my opinion, I think KI⚡⚡ might have been even more successful and even more profitable if they had just either went back to no makeup (after 2001) or created new characters for Singer and Thayer, but I guess obviously we’ll never know. Fans like myself, and I’m sure Trunk himself would’ve continued to support KI⚡⚡ by continuing to go to the shows and by buying new merchandise, I guess Gene and Paul never thought about that. Eh, whatever, what’s done is done, again what has gone on after 2001 will never change my love for KI⚡⚡ from 1974 to 2001, KI⚡⚡ inspired me to Rock And Roll All Nite and party every day! And I always will, for as long as I can! 😉

    • Rattlehead on

      Gene and Paul continued to use the Spaceman and Catman characters created by Ace and Peter cuz, at that stage in the band’s career, it was too late to establish a legacy for two new characters. The band was already on the decline. The Spaceman and Catman are iconic characters of the KI$$ brand. New characters would hurt the branding, particularly when it’s iconic.

      That alone demonstrates the importance of Ace and Peter to KI$$, as their legacy remains with the band in their created characters, even if they themselves are no longer in the band.

    • Doug R. on

      That’s true, bro, but in my opinion Gene and Paul tarnished the legacy (all eras) by watering down the original band/brand of KI⚡⚡. Of course they care more about money than respect, obviously, as does Singer and Thayer, but what they forgot or just didn’t realize (or care about) was that the majority of their fans cared more about the original band than the watered down version they became in 2001. Like I said, Gene and Paul always talk about evolving, well, after 2001 they completely and totally stopped evolving. I don’t hate Singer or Thayer at all, I just hate what they have done over the last 20 years, and I hate the fact that Gene and Paul underestimated their fans (most of us) by thinking cloning Singer and Thayer would be ok and accepted by us, wrong! But again, nothing will change my love for KI⚡⚡ and all of the magical memories from 1974 to 2001!

  • robert davenport on

    I couldnt agree more ! I still listen to kiss mostly 70s era, and will always be a fan ~

    • Doug R. on

      Ditto! ’70s/’80s KI⚡⚡ FOREVER! ’90s were pretty good as well, except for “Carnival Of Souls” (eye roll)

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