For the past few days, I have been fascinated by the music group, Kiss.
Last year they had some controversy about their 2014 induction
to the Rock and Roll of Fame. The group's two founders , bassist Gene
Simmons, and rhythm guitarist, Paul Stanley complained about the Hall
not inducting any of the group's non-original members, some of whom had
been with the band for years. The Hall are only inducting the group's
original four members, Simmons, Stanley, drummer Peter Criss, and lead
guitarist Ace Frehley. This is standard practice for the Hall, usually they don't induct
replacement members of a group if they were not around for a group's most important work.
For example-Bob Welch and many other members were not inducted with Fleetwood Mac, and Bruce Johnston and other replacement Beach Boys were not inducted with the Beach Boys.
Stanley and Simon told the Hall of Fame that they would not perform without two current replacement members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.
It turns out that Simmons and Stanley do not get along well with Criss and Frehley. Criss and Frehley, were both drug users and /or alcoholics during the 1970's and Frehley continued to have problems with substance abuse till about seven years ago. Remarkably, neither Simmons or Stanley drank or did drugs regularly (quite unusual for Rock stars of 1970's ). But Simmons had a problem with sex addiction and both Simmons and Stanley seem excessively controlling and greedy. The result of this is that Simmons and Stanley are continuously bad mouthing Criss and Frehley in the press, even when there seems no earthly reason to do so. Makes for controversy and that in itself keeps the group in the news, and helps sells concert tickets.
The video above from 1995 (Unplugged ) has all four original members as well as two of the replacements. Yes, and their not wearing their classic makeup. As you can see they are actually surprisingly engaging performers without the makeup and their stage persona's .
The first lead singer on this performance, is replacement drummer Eric Singer, and the second lead is done by former drummer, Peter Criss, the singer who sang on the band's biggest hit, Beth. At this point in time, He and Ace Frehley are simply putting in a guest appearance with the group.They both left the band in the early 1980's and in the late 1990's and early 2000's would come back for various reunion tours. By 2004, they were both out of the band again, and the replacements were back.
This is the same song with makeup sung in 1974 in this appearance on Dick Clark. In this version, the song writer, Gene Simmons performs the first lead and Peter Criss does the second lead.
Kiss, were actually quite popular with teenagers and tweens in the mid 1970's , though I never took much interest in them. All those teenagers grew up and now have big wallets, so Kiss's reunions tours of late 1990's and early 2000's and the subsequent shows with replacement members in the past decade, have been quite lucrative.
Their reunion tour a show in Brooklyn, NY doing their anthem, "Rock and Roll All Night".
The performance is exciting, though you can't get away from how inane the actual lyric is.
I think that after reexamining their oeuvre I find that my original opinion stands, that they were not among the great musicals acts of their age, but they were better than I thought, and I must say their stage show and that makeup were and still are pretty cool.