Why do I care about this story? Because when I was 11, KISS was the hottest band in the world. Okay, in retrospect some of their songs are a pretty schlocky but there was definitely a moment there in the late 70s when they were rock superstars who were as colorful as superheroes and transgressive of all that adults held dear. That seemed pretty exciting to a lot of kids my age at the time.
As you grow up the interest in such things seems to wane and eventually you find out that Gene Simmons sort of grew up (eventually) and got married. He has a family. He’s not actually a madman, he’s more of a clever businessman selling a brand. With that in mind, is this part of a marketing gimmick or are these guys about to go to war?
Co-founder and ex-guitarist of Kiss, Ace Frehley, slammed bassist Gene Simmons in a seething Facebook post on Tuesday, accusing the rocker of groping his wife.
Frehley’s fury came after Simmons told Guitar World (via Blabbermouth) that he wasn’t sure Frehley, a founding member of the glam rock outfit, and Peter Criss, would ever be part of the band officially ever again.
“Ace and Peter have gotten three chances. They were in and out of the band — fired — three times. For drugs, alcohol, bad behavior, being unprofessional,” Simmons alleged. “They weren’t carrying their load … We’d love to have Ace and Peter join us here and there. And if they don’t, it’s not going to be because of us. But they’re never going to be in KISS again.”
There’s another fact to consider here. Last September KISS announced their final tour. This isn’t the first time KISS has announced they were retiring from the stage but they are getting up there (Gene Simmons is 69 now) so it seems increasingly likely they’re nearing the end of the road for the band. So this could be a clever way to build interest in the band for one last hurrah. But if so, it seems like a fairly brutal way to go about it. Here’s a bit of Frehley’s Facebook post [I’ve starred out a few colorful words]:
I’ve tried to be nice and friendly by inviting you and Paul to perform on my past albums for eOne Music, give each of you guys one of my prized Gibson Les Paul 59’ models, but today’s comments have made me realize you’re just an a**hole and a sex addict who’s being sued by multiple Women, and you’re just trying to sweep it all under the carpet!
…The icing on the cake was when you groped my wife and propositioned her in Los Angeles at the Capitol Records building behind my back, when I was trying to help you out at one of your “Vault Experiences” which I only found out about several weeks later…she was planning on pursuing a suit against you, but I told her to call it off!!!
…Well now the gloves are off after your terrible comments today and I’m thinking that this really may be “The End Of The Road Tour” for you guys!!!
….Without a complete and heartfelt apology, an offer to give me my old job back, and removing Tommy from the Throne that I created… THE S**T WILL HIT THE FAN AND THEY’LL BE NO STOPPING IT-IT’S ON!!!
He sounds genuinely mad to me. Throwing Gene Simmons under the #MeToo bus seems like exactly the punch you’d throw if you really wanted to hit him where it hurts. Simmons is (or was) a notorious womanizer. The only false note is that Frehley is asking for a heartfelt apology and his old job back. Would you really want to go on tour with guys you can’t stand, one of whom groped your wife? I think I’d be more likely to say something like ‘I wouldn’t rejoin you if hell were freezing over and you had the only ice skates!’
But I guess there’s a fair amount of money to be made in a final tour, especially if the band were to return to the original lineup. Maybe you’d put up with a groper for a million dollars and six months of applause and plaudits. I don’t pretend to know how rock star’s think. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that even the guys who seem really out there often aren’t that different from everybody else. They just have an unusual job.
Finally, that’s a recent photo of the band. The guy in the middle is wearing Frehley’s makeup and outfit (or a version of it) but he’s somebody else hired to fill Frehley’s shoes. That’s one of the things Frehley seems upset about. The band is touring with him in the lineup even though he’s not there.