Paul Stanley has once again said that he believes KISS can carry on without any original members.
More than two years ago, the legendary rockers launched their second farewell tour, dubbed "End Of The Road", which is now scheduled to end sometime in 2022. Joining founding members Stanley and Gene Simmons in the band's current lineup are Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums. Thayer and Singer are replacements for original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, respectively.
Asked by Germany's Radio Bob! whether he thinks a KISS 2.0 version of the band could continue touring and recording once he and Simmons have officially called it quits, Stanley said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think that recasting KISS or KISS 2.0 is not what we have ever talked about. Can KISS continue and can it evolve without us in it? Well, yeah, because it's already 50 percent there. In other words, there was a time where people said, 'Well, it can only be the original four.' [And then] it was, 'Well, it can only be the original three.' Well, things move on and circumstances change.
"Could I see KISS evolving with different personnel? Yeah," he reiterated. "As big a fan as I am of what I do — and I think I'm damn good — there's other people around who could pick up the torch and bring something to the philosophy and to the live show and to the music. It would be KISS. It wouldn't be KISS 2.0. If it were to happen, yeah, it would be really just a continuation of the philosophy that we've always had, and that's that KISS is bigger than any member."
It was back in 2005 that KISS manager Doc McGhee first told the New York Times that the group had "been toying with the idea of recruiting an entire band to don the band's famous makeup." McGhee said: "KISS is more like Doritos or Pepsi, as far as a brand name is concerned. They're more characters than the individual person. I think [new members] have a legitimate chance to carry the franchise."
Five years ago, Stanley spoke about how he would go about finding someone to replace him in KISS. He said: "Honestly, I think all the KISS tribute bands are great, but none of them have a good 'Paul.' So I'd like to see somebody who incorporates what I've done with a lot of the things that inspired me. And it's not a matter of a puppet being me; it's somebody who comes in and contributes and adds something new to it while still following the template that's been set."
Frehley said in 2016 that the idea that KISS could continue without any original members was "the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard [Stanley and Simmons] make." He added: "I think the only reason they make those statements at this juncture is to try to validate the fact that they have two other guys in the band that aren't the original members. So they're trying to rationalize to the fans, 'Well, you know, we replaced Peter and we replaced Ace, and eventually we're gonna replace ourselves. That's like Mick Jagger saying, 'Yeah, after me and Keith [Richards, THE ROLLINGS STONES guitarist] die, THE STONES will continue on with two other guys.' I mean, it's a joke."