In the infancy of my rock nerd-dom, there was a moment where I could name every musician who had ever played in Kiss: Bruce Kulick! Eric Carr! Vinnie Vincent! But everyone who gives even a tiny bit of a shit knows that there’s a classic lineup of the band: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss. That’s the makeup-era lineup, the one that started in 1973, ended when Criss left the band in 1979 and Frehley returned a couple of years later, and then reunited for a late-’90s/early-’00s run. This spring, after years of fans howling in protest at their omission, Kiss is finally on its way into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but that lineup won’t play at the induction ceremony. No other lineup will play, either.
As Billboard reports, Kiss (which still includes Stanley and Simmons) have issued a statement on their website claiming that they simply can’t settle on a lineup that honors the band’s entire run: “Our intention was to celebrate the entire history of Kiss and give credit to all members, including longtime 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.”
Here’s the thing: The reason Kiss is important enough for the Hall Of Fame has nothing to do with Thayer and Singer, though both have played with the band for many years. Nobody wants to see a latter-day version of Kiss at a Hall Of Fame induction ceremony. Frehley and Criss are both understandably pissed at this not happening; Criss calls it “disgraceful,” and Frehley calls it “frustrating.” Read more about it at Billboard, and if you’re looking for another item on your (already very long) “why Gene Simmons is an asshole” list, there you go.