RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Tom Morello inducted KISS into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame earlier tonight (Thursday, April 10) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The guitarist told the crowd, "You can kiss my KISS-loving ass because KISS wasn't a critics' band. It's the people's band." He added: "Tonight proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the high school bullies and critics were wrong. KISS fans were right. Impact, influence and awesomeness — KISS have all three in spades." He concluded by saying: "Tonight, this isn't the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It's the Rock And Roll All Nite And Party Every Day Hall Of Fame."
After that, the four members of the original KISS lineup took turns in addressing the crowd.
Gene Simmons: "We are humbled — all of us — to stand up on this stage and do what we love doing.
"This is a profound moment for all of us.
"We are humbled that the fans gave us the chance to do what we love doing. And so I'm here just to say a few kind words about the four knuckleheads who, 40 years ago, got together and decided to put together the band that you see on stage, critics be damned.
"To Ace Frehley: his iconic guitar playing has been imitated, but never duplicated, by generations of guitar players around the world.
"To Peter Criss, whose drumming and singing... Well, there's not a guy out there who beats the sticks who sounds just like Peter. Nobody's got that swing and that style.
"Something happened, 40 years ago: I met the partner and the brother I never knew I had — Paul Stanley. You couldn't ask for someone more awesome to be on the same team. I am humbled.
"I was going to say a few kind words about Eric Carr, rest in peace. Mark St. John, rest in peace. Vinnie Vincent, the great Bruce Kulick, and of course, here we are 40 years later with the great Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, and we continue on.
"However, we wouldn't be here today without the initial Fantastic Four.
"God bless you all.
"May I introduce the powerful and attractive — Peter Criss!"
Peter Criss: "I want to say it's great to be home in Brooklyn.
"I'd like to thank the Hall Of Fame for this honor; I never thought this could happen in my life. Thank you.
"I'd like to thank everybody that had to do something with my career and the band's career. For 50 years, I've been doing it; 40 years, we've been doing it. Jesus — from the grips, to the truck drivers, to the great producers, to the great managers, to the great people who were just all there for us through all the years and the hard times. God bless you and thank you so much.
"I definitely want to thank our first manager, Bill Aucoin. We would not be here if it wasn't for Bill. Sean Delaney, the great Joyce Bogart, and the great Neil Bogart — who with Casablanca Records... Those were the great days, and I thank them all.
"I'd like to congratulate the band, of course — Mr. Stanley, Mr. Simmons, and the one and only Spaceman, Ace Frehley.
"I'd also like to say I'm now seven years male breast cancer-free. Thank you — I'm very proud that I have... [I would like to thank] my doctor, who saved my life in the first place. Thank you so much.
"I would like to thank my family — my sister Donna who I know is out there. All my friends who have come...and God, I'd be here all night. I'd like to thank my lovely wife Gigi, who makes my life really, really a lot easier. Lemme tell ya: walking through life with her is a blessing. I love you, baby.
"I got my first lesson from my best friend, Jerry Nolan of the NEW YORK DOLLS. And boy, that's what started it all off.
"I want to say that, even out of makeup, I'll always be the Catman.
"God bless each and every one of you — I will remember this the rest of my life. Thank you so much.
Ace Frehley: "I have a speech here, but these [glasses] aren't prescription, so I can't work it out. [laughs]
"It's so great to be here with all these celebrities and other musicians.
"I want to thank Paul, Gene and Peter.
"Thank you so much, Tom, for that beautiful introduction.
"I want to thank the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for inducting us; thank you very much.
"When I was 13 years old, I picked up my first guitar, and I always sensed that I was going to be in for something big. Little did I know, a few years later, there it was. I experienced the Summer of Love. [Laughs] Alright. That was before I met these clowns. Several years later, we got together — you know the story, it's all KISS-tory.
"A few quick names — Bill Aucoin, Joyce Biawitz — who used to manage us in conjunction with Bill, then ended up marrying Neil Bogart. We wouldn't be here without Neil Bogart and Casablanca Records. Everyone at Casablanca Records, everyone at ATI, Jeff, and Wally. Everyone at the press office; Carol and Al Ross; Carol Kaye; just to name a few. If I named everyone who helped us through our career, I'd be here for another half an hour. It's great to be here.
"I wanted to touch on the fact that I've been sober now for seven and a half years. We still need to educate the people in this country about sobriety because some people think it has to do with willpower. But unfortunately, most addicts are born that way and people need to be educated about that.
"My sponsor, he used to have a good saying, to try and explain what it's like to be an addict: when people would say to use willpower, he'd say, 'Try using willpower when you're having diarrhea.'
"So, only by the grace of God I'm here. I want to thank my first wife Jeanette, my daughter, my current fiancée Rachael Gordon.
"Life's been good to me; hopefully I've got 10 or 20 more years to go. Thank you very much."
Paul Stanley: "I can make this short and sweet because everybody said everything and has been much funnier than I'll ever be.
"So, I got to thank Tom, who's championed us shamelessly and unapologetically. Took a lot of balls, and God bless you.
"For us, this is a special night, but it's really a special night for all of our fans — this is vindication. We couldn't have done this without you.
"To Peter, Ace, Gene — we are the original four, so we could not have done this if we didn't start this together.
"Everything we've done is built on the past.
"We've got a great, great legacy. We've got Bruce here, we've got Tommy, we've got Eric...
"When I first started listening to music, I was lucky: I saw a lot of people I loved. When I was a kid, I saw Solomon Burke, I saw Otis Redding, I got to see THE YARDBIRDS. I got to see LED ZEPPELIN; Jimi Hendrix; SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE; the list goes on and on. What I loved about all these musicians is that they had the spirit of rock and roll.
"I believe that the spirit of rock and roll means you follow your own path regardless of critics, and regardless of your peers. I think we've done that for forty years.
"Here we are tonight, basically inducted for the same things that we were kept out for.
"The people, I believe, are speaking to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and what they're saying is, 'We want more.' They deserve more. They want to be a part of the induction. They want to be a part of the nomination. They don't want to be spoon-fed by a handful of people. Choices. The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate do not. Let's not forget that these are the people that make it all possible. We just benefit from it.
"So, I look out here and I see all these people. I see faces that over the years inspired me. People who made me what I am. So I am here tonight because of the people who inspired me, but I'm also here because of the people I inspired. So God bless you all; it's been a wonderful night."
Morello told Rolling Stone before the ceremony that he first saw KISS play when he was 12 and attended their shows religiously during his formative years. "I've known Gene and Paul for some time and I'm a huge fan of the band and have been an advocate — a noisy, fist-pounding advocate for years for KISS to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame," he said. "One of the all-time great bands is being rightly enshrined.
"When those records were released, focus was shifted because it was a band in makeup or because it was band with explosions," he added. "But those are great anthemic songs with badass riffs. There's a reason why KISS sold 100 million records around the world. There was no one spitting blood in your living room when you were listening to them. I was rocking out hard to them."
The 29th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony was taped and will air on May 31 on HBO.