It's official: The original lineup of KISS will not perform at the band's upcoming induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, scheduled for this April at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
The news of the legendary group's non-reunion at the event was broken by former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley during an appearance on last night's edition of "Eddie Trunk Rocks" (formerly "Friday Night Rocks") radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM (hear audio below).
"I don't think KISS fans are gonna be too excited and happy about the news, 'cause at this juncture, [KISS leaders] Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons] have decided to perform with [current KISS members] Tommy [Thayer, guitar] and Eric [Singer, drums], and it looks like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is going along with it," Frehley said.
Ace, who said that he was informed "in the last 24 to 48 hours" of Stanley's and Simmons' decision to perform with the current incarnation of KISS rather than the original lineup, continued: "The last time I was on [this radio show], it was a very exciting and happy call. And the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was very excited about having the four original members who are being inducted to perform at the ceremony. And that was shot down by Paul and Gene. And now it's kind of, like, if I'm not gonna put on the makeup and do a three-song reunion for the fans, then what am I gonna do? And right now I'm not even sure if I'm gonna show up for that, you know?!"
According to Frehley, Stanley and Simmons "shot down doing any type of reunion with [original KISS drummer Peter Criss and me] — with makeup, without makeup," while Frehley himself ruled out performing alongside KISS' current lineup, saying, "I'm not gonna get on the stage with Tommy wearing my makeup. That's absurd."
He added: "It's a shame. I know [the original lineup reunion is] what the fans wanted. I know it's what the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame wanted. [But] it's not gonna happen."
Asked if he had any idea why Stanley and Simmons are so opposed to the idea of performing with the original KISS lineup at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Frehley said: "I don't know, and at this point, I really don't give a shit. [Laughs] I really don't care. It's, like, enough already.
"You don't wanna do something for the fans after 40 years of them supporting you?
"It's something the fans wanted, it's something the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame asked of all four of us. They shot it down.
"It is what it is. I don't completely understand it, but those guys do a lot of things that don't make sense to me. It's unfortunate for the fans.
"We're being inducted because of the fans. And I feel like the fans are being let down. And I'm upset about it; I've gotta be honest with you. But I'm trying not to let it get to me because, like I said, I've gotta finish [my new solo] record and I've gotta think positive. And I wanna move forward. But it's upsetting.
"I'm working on my second book. I've got [my] new [solo] record [coming out]. What will be in the future will be. No matter what happens, I'm fine. And I'm having fun. And I'm creating great music. My life's great. And I can't let any negativity… I've gotta just let it roll off my back and continue doing what I've been doing — making great music.
"I'm at the tail end of [making my new solo] record… and this has just been a thorn in my side, because every day there's a different story: 'Yeah, maybe you can come and get up and do 'New York Groove'. And if you don't do it with KISS, you can do it with a celebrity lineup.' And that was shot down. It's very frustrating. It's also distracting my attention from the most important thing right now that I'm doing, [which] is working on music and creating. So it's very frustrating and a little disheartening."
Frehley also revealed the main reason he wanted to spread the message that he wasn't going to perform at the Rock Hall induction.
"It was very important that I let the fans know that because the tickets are going on sale on Monday, and I didn't want people buying tickets thinking that they were gonna see a KISS reunion, and then be disappointed," he explained.
[Note: American Express card members can purchase tickets to this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony before the general public beginning Monday, February 24 at 9 a.m. EST through Friday, February 28 at 10 p.m. EST. Tickets will be available to the public at Ticketmaster.com beginning Saturday, March 1 at 10:00 a.m. EST.]
Simmons last year said he had no interest in playing with Frehley and Criss again. Simmons explained that both co-founders have repeatedly blown their shot to share the stage with him and Paul Stanley, telling Radio.com: "How many chances in life do you get? When you stick your hand in the fire, you get burned the first time. Fire and nature doesn't care if you're a good guy or a bad guy. Both of these guys had three chances to be in the band and three times they fucked it up. They were every bit as important as we were at the formation of the band and they would have been the ruin of the band had they continued in it… When you have a cancer in your system, it's best to cut it out as fast as you can. It used to be a part of your body, then it turned into cancer, so you gotta cut it out."
Simmons went on to say: "I believe that both Ace and Peter are happier now. They are healthier, they look fine. When they were in the band, they were both on junk, or crack, or alcohol. Clearly not a healthy place for them. They belong doing autograph shows in clubs — they're happier."
This past December, Simmons told Rolling Stone: "KISS is Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. It's like, if you introduced me to your wife and I go, 'Wait, where are all the other wives?' It's like, 'Yeah, I was married to them and now I'm here.'"
He went on to say that he was open to performing with Criss and Frehley at the Rock Hall ceremony, stating, "They were equally important in the formation of the band. When you have kids with your first wife, you give kudos. The fact you got remarried doesn't delete or minimize the important. Hey, 'You have gave birth to this thing, KISS, with Ace, Peter, Paul and Gene.'"
Frehley left KISS after the band's 2002 "Farewell" dates, saying afterwards that he took the word "farewell" seriously.
Criss claimed that his contract with KISS wasn't renewed in March 2004.
Both charges have been disputed by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
Frehley and Criss have opted out of appearing in what's being billed as the definitive KISS documentary, "You Wanted The Best You Got The Best". Classic Rock magazine spoke to director Alan G. Parker, who's behind the officially sanctioned film, and he shed light on why the two co-founders are staying away from anything having to do with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, explaining, "Gene and Paul were shocked at first, but now they don't seem to be. There's been so much bitchiness down the years, and so much said about and done to Ace and Peter that they interpreted the request to be in the movie as a favor to Gene and Paul. Because of that they won't go anywhere near it. The negotiations were interesting, to say the least."
KISS, which has been passed over by the Hall since 1998, is taking its long-overdue induction with a grain of salt, with Stanley telling Classic Rock magazine that it feels like a case of a little too little and a little too late to mean anything for him, explaining, "It was done begrudgingly and because it had become absolutely ludicrous that they were choosing to ignore us. At the end of the day most people don't realize that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was a privately created establishment and that it has a self-appointed board. It's a perfect case of perception becoming reality. People heard 'Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame' and gave it credibility."
Stanley added: "So whether it deserves the title has to be weighed against who it inducts.
"So was it an honor to be nominated? No. It means a lot to the fans, and I understand it, because it's validation for them. So for that reason, I accept graciously and accept on their behalf."
The 29th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 10 at Barclays Center.
The television broadcast will premiere on HBO on May 31.