By Brian Ives
For the past few weeks, KISS fans have wondered what the band’s performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony would look like. Would they all be in makeup? Would perennial members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley perform with the other two members being inducted, the founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss? Would current members and non-inductees Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer be there?
Yesterday, Simmons and Stanley addressed the issue at the band’s official website. They were responding to a post from Peter Criss to the fans on his website which said, “Ace and I have been denied a performance with Gene and Paul for our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Tickets go on sale on Monday, Feb. 24th and I wanted to make sure that fans understood that no original performance, in or out of makeup, has been offered to us before they purchased their tickets. This is disgraceful and I feel bad for the fans who were looking forward to the four of us being inducted together.”
In recent interviews, Frehley has accused Stanley and Simmons of deciding not to perform with their former bandmates.
Stanley and Simmons’ retort, in full, reads:
“To All Our Fans In Regards To The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Out of respect, Ace and Peter’s recent statements demand a quick response to you, our fans.
Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of KISS and give credit to all members including long time present members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, and additionally Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr all who have made this band what it is, regardless of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s point of view.
Although KISS has moved forward far longer without them, Ace and Peter are at the very foundation of what we have built and this would all be impossible had they not been a part of it in the beginning.
It is over 13 years since the original lineup has played together in make-up and we believe the memory of those times would not be enhanced. Contrary to claims made through the media we have never refused to play with Ace and Peter.
We have spent 40 years dedicated to building KISS without quitting or wavering as the band has moved forward with huge tours and platinum albums through different important lineups for forty years, to this day.
KISS has always been a band unlike any other. That is why we started KISS. That is why we continue KISS. Being unlike other bands also means making choices and decisions unlike other bands.
This is understandably an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone.
To bring this to a quick end, we have decided not to play in any line-up and we will focus our attention on celebrating our induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
We are excited and are looking forward to seeing you all on the KISS 40th Anniversary worldwide tour.”
This isn’t the first time a band has decided to appear at the ceremony but declined the opportunity to perform. In 2006, Black Sabbath was inducted, and, like KISS, only the original lineup was included – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. The four bandmates attended, and Metallica performed a two song Sabbath set in their honor.
The KISS announcements come at a potentially uncomfortable time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: as Criss alluded to, pre-sales for the induction ceremony begin today. For years, the induction ceremony had been something of a private event, open to music industry high rollers and past and present inductees; many of them were held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. Two years ago, however, the Rock Hall opened the ceremony up to the public at Cleveland’s Public Hall.
That ceremony may have offered something of a warning for future events: while Guns N Roses, the Faces and the Beastie Boys were all being inducted, fans buying tickets hoping to see performances by those band’s classic lineups would be disappointed: Former Gunners Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler and Matt Sorum were accompanied by Slash’s Snakepit singer Myles Kennedy when Axl Rose declined to attend. The Faces were scheduled to perform with singer Rod Stewart for the first time in U.S. in decades… until Stewart bowed out of the performance with less than 24 hours to go (Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, who had been singing for the band at European shows, hopped on a plane and performed). And tragically, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch was too ill to travel to the ceremony; he passed away a few weeks later.
But the tribute performance to the Beastie Boys, featuring Travie McCoy of the Gym Class Heroes, Kid Rock and Roots MC Black Thought along with Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike, might provide a clue to how the Rock Hall will celebrate KISS this year: with an all-star band performing the band’s songs. (It might look something like this tribute that VH1 staged to the band a few years back). Indeed, the Rock Hall is also probably figuring out how to represent Nirvana at the ceremony, and it’s likely that they’ll either ask an existing band to play some songs, a la the Metallica/Sabbath tribute, or create an ad hoc supergroup.
Regardless of how KISS and Nirvana are dealt with, the show still seems like it will be a good one: it looks likely that inductees Daryl Hall & John Oates, Cat Stevens, Peter Gabriel and the E Street Band (with their frontman Bruce Springsteen) will be there and will perform. It all goes down April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.