Gene Simmons spoke to the Los Angeles Times about KISS's first farewell tour, which took place nearly two decades ago. The trek, which was the last to feature both guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, played 142 shows over five legs, covering North America, Japan, and Australia. But while on the road, Simmons and guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley changed their minds and promoted guitar tech and band assistant Tommy Thayer to the role of full-fledged lead guitarist, and brought back drummer Eric Singer, who first played with the band following the death of Eric Carr in 1991 through the 1996 reunion tour of original members.
"It had to do with our two original members who yet again had come to the end of their rope, as they say," the bassist/vocalist explained. "Each had been in and out of the band three different times. And we love them as human beings, but not everybody is [meant for the long run].
"We [had] made a judgment that without Ace and Peter, KISS couldn't continue," Simmons said. "But the fans kept asking, 'Why not?'
"We saw other bands had very healthy lives and continued on," he added. "So many of those rules are self-imposed, and at the end of the day, our knees buckle to our bosses, which is the fans."
Last week, KISS kicked off its second farewell tour, dubbed "End Of The Road", which could last three years. The first leg of the global trek wraps April 13 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Stanley recently revealed that KISS's iconic "Spaceman" and "Catman" characters created by Frehley and Criss were actually sold back to him and Simmons. Over the years, since Thayer and Singer took to donning the legendary costumes, fans have been split feeling that the show must go on, or that it's sacrilege for anyone other than Frehley or Criss to wear the iconic greasepaint.
Stanley explained that the four personas of KISS all legally belong to the band. "Years ago, the original guys basically sold it off for not a whole lot, because they didn’t think it was worth anything," he said. "Quite honestly, I've always thought that our image and what we represented is, is priceless. So, that it didn't matter to some other people, it certainly matters to me."