Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation
When the original line-up of KISS is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10th in Brooklyn, New York, they made need to put on the make-up to hide the bitter feelings they have towards one another. In their first-ever Rolling Stone cover story, on newsstands today (Friday), Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley do nothing but cut each other down while Gene Simmons, for the most part, remains neutral. Here are a few excerpts:
Paul Stanley on the Hall of Fame wanting the band to perform in their make-up and costumes: "We said, 'That's not going to happen.' That band is long gone. I question what Ace and Peter would look like in those outfits. We've spent 40 years building something, and to dissipate what we've done, or confuse it by sending mixed messages? What we offered was to play with [current hired hands] Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer and then bring out Ace and Peter to play with us."
Peter Criss on who is in charge of KISS: "Pauly's the one you've got to watch for. He'll leave this building, and then you'll go, 'Holy [crap], he cut my throat.' He really is the leader of Kiss. He's the guy who pulls the strings -- trust me."
Paul Stanley on Ace and Peter not being his biggest fans: "I know two people who demonize me. It's funny, because I don't know anyone else who does. I can't possibly be responsible for those guys' situations or failures. Any more than I can make someone else responsible for mine."
Paul Stanley on refusing to appear on Gene Simmons' reality show, Family Jewels, outside of the wedding episode: "It wasn't reality. To create a life that isn't accurate and for me to be a part of it, or to help you promote something that I think is questionable . . . and, quite honestly, waste my time? You're missing out on living a real life if you're filming a fake one."
Ace Frehley on his sex life in the band's heyday: "When you're high, you'll do anything. So what? It means nothing. I've always been heterosexual. I've lived 10 times as much as people live in one lifetime. . . . I've done every drug, I've done the ménage à trois and everything else in between. I've tried being bisexual. It's stupid! It's not for me!"
Ace on the current KISS line-up: "A supergroup has one of the most dynamic, greatest lead guitarists in the world leave the band, and who did they hire to play lead guitar? Their road manager, who used to be in a KISS cover band. How insane is that? You can't make this stuff up." He goes on to say that Stanley's "voice is shot."
Paul Stanley on Peter writing the band's only number-one song, "Beth": "Peter can't write a song, because Peter doesn't play an instrument... Peter had nothing to do with it. Because if you write one hit song, you should be able to write two. That's the reality. Devastating? It's the truth. It was a lifeline that Peter hung on to validate himself, but it wasn't based on reality."
And Peter's reaction: "God forbid you get that credit. Paul is so full of [crap] 'cause as a lead singer of the band he never got to write the hit. That's his problem. They hated the fact that I wrote a hit record and won a People's Choice Award."
Peter Criss on selling the rights to his Catman character: "I'm pissed at myself that my make-up slipped through my hands. That's my cross that I bear." And what also bothers him is that Singer sings "Beth" in concert. "How much more can you slap me?" asks Criss. "How hard do you want to hit me? It's my baby -- no one sings it like me. And I said to my wife, Gigi, 'You know what, it's like the Lone Ranger: You can take his mask off and put it on another guy, but it'll never be Clayton Moore.'"
But in the end, Criss wishes they could put aside their differences and perform at the Rock Hall ceremony: "I just wish there wasn't so much bad blood. I said to the Hall of Fame, 'Look, I don't own the make-up anymore, but if they would lend it to me, I would be happy to put it on.'"