KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley was asked recently by Cleveland's The Plain Dealer about the group's decision to replace original guitarist Ace Frehley with ex-BLACK N' BLUE axeman Tommy Thayer.

"Ace has been ambivalent for years about being in the band," Stanley said. "Accurate or not, he believed the band had sidetracked his solo career.

"We're in a better place for having Tommy. It looks like KISS. And it sounds like KISS at its best."

Frehley issued a statement last month saying that he was under the impression that the band was finished touring following the "Farewell" tour's 2001 Australian leg.

"Life is about having the option of changing your mind," Stanley said of the band's decision to resume touring. "After the farewell tour, I was feeling a bit nostalgic, thinking about how great it was being onstage with the band.

"Then someone came up to me at a car service center and said, 'I really loved the farewell tour. When are you doing the 30th anniversary tour?'

"A light went off in my head. I realized you can always go home. If it was OK with the fans, there was no one else I had to consult." [Read the entire The Plain Dealer article here]

In a separate interview with the Cleveland Free Times, Stanley insisted that each member of KISS is in good enough shape to still put on a rigorous show.

"Let's put it this way," Stanley said. "I can still take my shirt off and no one complains and tells me to put it back on. We get enough bras thrown up onstage that we could open up a bra store. We know how people feel about us. We can still deliver the goods."

When confronted with the fact that KISS are not exactly known for taking care of themselves, Stanley said, "If I was a mess day and night for all these years, fans would be surprised that I'm still able to do what I do," he says. "As far as all of the debauchery goes, I never wanted to live someone else's cartoonish vision of what being a rock star is all about. I never wanted to be that drugged-out caricature.

"If you are that, you will become pathetic and penniless," he continued. "If my lifestyle, which is far from out of hand, doesn't give me validity in the eyes of critics, well, damn the critics. I know so many critics love watching some poor sap walk on the edge of a building and hoping that he'll jump. I'm not up there and I'm not going up there. The view I have from where I'm at is just fine." [Read the entire Cleveland Free Times article here]

KISS' current chapter in the quest for legitimacy finds the band curiously waiting for an invite to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Considering their showman shenanigans (painted faces and outlandish outfits) and their pure Vaudevillian special effects (breathing fire on stage) provide fans with a memorable image to complement their special brand of hard rock, the discriminating recording industry institution has seemingly looked the other way concerning their induction.

"I can't vouch for the people who are in the Hall of Fame, (but) I think the intrinsic problem and flaw in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is that nobody seems to know who is deciding who is worthy," Stanley told the Mansfield News Journal.

"Because you certainly can't sell, whether it is 40, 50, 70 million, whatever millions of albums over a 30-year period, and not belong in whatever someone is calling the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With all respect to everyone who is in there, I've seen some names there that are clearly critics' darlings as opposed to real forces in the rock world." [Read the entire Mansfield News Journal article here]


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