Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Gene Simmons of KISS continues to defend the band’s reuse of original makeup by non-original members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.
Thayer dresses in lead guitarist Ace Frehley’s makeup and stage outfits while Singer does the same with drummer Peter Criss’ gear, while each perform songs by their original counterparts.
The issue – which makes headlines every few years – recently surfaced again as the New York group marked the 40th anniversary of its 1976 album “Destroyer.”
"Why wouldn't we use the classic makeup? We own it,” Simmons tells Rolling Stone. "The saddest thing of all is here we are, top of Mt. Olympus with all this cool stuff happening, really enjoying ourselves, the fans are thrilled, and nobody ever holds up a sign, ‘Where's Ace and Peter?'"
After early fans of KISS struggled to accept guitarist Vinnie Vincent as the Ankh Warrior and drummer Eric Carr as the Fox in the 80s, the group revived its then-sagging fortunes by unmasking entirely.
Following reunion and farewell tours with Frehley and Criss, Simmons and co-founder Paul Stanley took ownership of the designs and passed them on for use by Thayer and Singer.
"In retrospect, it was the right decision," Simmons adds. "There's always going to be five percent or 10 percent of people who were there at the beginning who will complain about anything. And listen, I think that's valid from their point of view. But people get onto a train at different times.
"If you go to see the Stones live today and poke the guy next to you and say, 'Ron Wood, he's not Brian Jones,' the guy says, 'Who is that?' He wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about. He came into the Stones 10, 20, 30 years after you did."
Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider slammed KISS over the issue in 2015, telling Eddie Trunk: “I don’t see how people could accept this. Tommy Thayer? I’m sorry. It’s insulting. Not only did he play with a tribute band of Kiss, he’s imitating Ace in his entire act!”
Last fall, Stanley lashed out at Snider in a personal attack during an appearance with Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, saying “Well, let me put it in the simplest terms. In this case, this guy is a wannabe, has always been a wannabe and desperately wants attention and to be taken seriously, and that will never happen because he's obviously clueless to the fact that he and his whole band are a bunch of buffoons."
“I’ve always had nothing but respect for your band, and you as a performer,” replied Snider, “but it really comes as no surprise that the feeling isn’t mutual. For some reason you are oddly threatened by me.
“This said, your recent comments about my band and I on Chris Jericho’s podcast was a typical diversionary tactic used in an attempt to change the subject, rather than answer the actual accusation or question. It’s the oldest interviewing trick in the book.”
KISS are taking time away from a busy schedule opening restaurants and overseeing a professional arena football team by bringing footage of their 2014 Las Vegas residency show, “KISS Rocks Vegas”, to cinemas worldwide on May 25.
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Search KISS at hennemusic