Prior to his April 27 appearance at New Jersey's Chiller Expo, former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent spoke with Backstage Axxess. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On how the response has been to his return from exile:
Vinnie: "This is not something I've ever known. I'm so honored, and I thank everybody. This has been the greatest time of my life, and it's great to be alive, it's great to be with everyone. It's very deeply moving. It's overwhelming, the love and support. I didn't expect it all. I remember when the promoter said to me in Atlanta — he worked about eight months to get me to come — and I said to my lawyer, 'Why would he want me? No one's going to show up. No one's going to care.' He said, 'I don't believe that. I think you're going to be surprised,' and I was. It was truly a miracle coming back. It's still a miracle being here above ground. A lot has happened, but Vinnie is back and I've got my double-V warmed up in the garage. The engine's purring, and soon, we'll take it for a ride."
On when fans can expect to hear him perform again:
Vinnie: "I've been talking to promoters, and they want to get Vinnie on the shred circuit again. We're looking at hopefully January, February, March. It's taking a while, but we're getting everything in order and ready to rock. I'm looking forward to it."
On whether he's attempted to break into country music songwriting while living in Nashville:
Vinnie: "I would love to. I grew up with country music, and my young years were filled with that. I write those kinds of songs, and I'd love to work a lot of country artists. No one's asked me, but I'm really not out there, but I'd love to be out there with them. Before I disappeared, Chet Atkins was always my hero when I was growing up. I called Chet and I said, 'This is Vinnie Vincent. I just love you.' I was a fan foaming at the mouth for him. Chet picks up the phone and says, 'Vinnie! This is Chet Atkins.' I said, 'No way!' He says, 'Are you doing anything?' Before I could say no, I was there in, like, three seconds. He told me where he lived — 'Come on up; we're jamming' — and we became friends shortly, for a little bit. It was great. That was my moment in the sun."
On joining Gene Simmons at his Nashville promotional stop in support of his "Vault" box set, and what might happen next:
Vinnie: "Had a great time seeing my old friend again. It was like yesterday – well, not yesterday, but a couple yesterdays ago. We never talk about that stuff. It'll just happen. I'll get a phone call — 'Vinnie, what are you doing?' If they ask me, I'll be there. They're still my buds, my friends, and [there's] a lot of love left. A lot of magic left."
Vincent — who was a member of KISS when the band publicly "unmasked" in 1983 — has made several public appearances this year after spending the past two decades out of the public eye. He recently addressed rumors about his gender identity but declined to answer the question directly, explaining that he wanted to keep a mystique about the subject.
Vincent, who gave his his first public interview in more than 20 years in January at the Atlanta KISS Expo 2018, hopes to complete his autobiography "within a year."
Vinnie joined KISS in 1982, replacing Ace Frehley. As the "Ankh Warrior," he toured with the group in support of "Creatures Of The Night", on which he played lead guitar on six songs prior to becoming an official member of the band.