Gene Simmons has once again ruled out the possibility of a KISS reunion featuring the band’s entire original lineup.
Rumors about guitarist Ace Frehley‘s return to KISS gained strength last year after he teamed up with KISS lead singer Paul Stanley on a cover of FREE‘s “Fire And Water”, marking their first collaboration since 1998’s “Psycho Circus”.
More recently, Ace collaborated with Gene on two songs for the former KISS guitarist’s next solo album. And then last month the Space Ace and and the Demon shared a stage for the first time in sixteen years at a benefit concert in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Asked about the chances of KISS ever playing one special show, or even just one song, again with Frehley and other former KISS members Peter Criss (drums) and Bruce Kulick (guitar), Simmons told “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon” (hear audio below): “Oh, I mean, if you’re gonna do a one-off, anything is possible. In fact, Bruce Kulick and Bob Kulick [who auditioned for KISS in 1973 and was the ghost guitarist for Frehley back in the late ’70s and early ’80s] are gonna be on the Kiss Kruise. We have a wonderful lineup and we have an awful lot of fun. So there are no rules. It’s just that if you’re on a team, you want consistency; you wanna be able to have a guy you can count on when you pass the ball, because the whole team depends on that, right? And so if the guy you pass the ball to is on drugs or alcohol, the whole team goes down. You’re depending on each other — all for one, one for all.”
He continued: “Our original members, Ace and Peter, the best things that ever happened to us, it couldn’t have happened without them. But if you succumb even to the cliché of clichés, the bus leaves without you. That’s life. You don’t get to determine who and what everybody does based on your timeline. Or, ‘You know what? I wanna take a year off and do nothing.’ ‘Ehhh… No!’ Or, ‘I’m not healthy enough to be onstage.'”
“I think both Peter and Ace are in a great frame of mind, finally cleaned up, and that’s great, ’cause we love ’em and support ’em,” Simmons added. “But three times in and out of the band, that’s enough.”
Simmons went on to defend bands who have undergone major lineup changes, especially when the odds are definitely against this working in the long run.
“People think in terms of finite ideas. ‘AC/DC can’t exist without Bon Scott.’ Actually, they can,” he said. “And, ‘They can’t exist without Brian [Johnson].’ No, actually they can; Axl [Rose] did a fine job. And ‘VAN HALEN‘ — who I discovered — ‘can’t exist without David Lee Roth.’ Actually, they got bigger with Sammy Hagar. So all these rules mean very little. And the fans will continue to argue with themselves, with each other — ‘I like this,’ ‘You like black, I like red.’ Well, that’s nice. But a band is a dynamic thing; it breathes, it’s alive, and it’s only as good as the people in it. Like any relationship, whether it’s marriage or friendship or a football game or a band, it’s only as good as the team involved.”
Gene‘s comments echo those made by Stanley, who told Billboard earlier this year that he had no interest in a reunion of KISS‘s original lineup. “That’s not coming from any place of animosity,” he explained. “I sang on Ace‘s most recent album and did a video with him. I have the connection and the reconnection and to celebrate the good things we’ve done together is terrific. The band as it is — I’ve played with [current KISS drummer] Eric Singer for, I think, twenty-five years and Tommy‘s [Thayer, guitar] been in the band probably fifteen years at this point. I have no thoughts of revisiting the past. With that said, I am happy to enhance or do whatever I can for anyone who has helped put me where I am, but that doesn’t include getting hitched again to somebody I unhitched from.”
Frehley said a few months ago that he hadn’t been contacted about re-teaming with KISS for one last run of shows before the band calls it quits. But, he added, “I’m not ruling it out. It’s a possibility, I guess. But the ball’s in Paul and Gene‘s court. If that’s something that they would like to do to end off the career of KISS, I think it could be… if it was handled correctly, it could be great. But those guys pretty much run the show these days. And I’m doing my thing, and they’re doing their thing. And if it happens, it’d be great, and if it doesn’t, I’ll be fine and they’ll be fine.”