Home > The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod > The Freedom of Music: The Kiss Circus

The Freedom of Music: The Kiss Circus

April 27th, 2014


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

A couple of weeks ago I went digging through some old boxes and emerged with my 1976 Kiss Army package: five 8×10 colour glossy pictures; Kiss Army sticker; Kiss Army iron on t-shirt transfer; Kiss tattoos; Kiss Bicentennial drum and fife poster. A years worth of quarterly newsletters, invariably designed to sell you product, were also in the envelope. This is to say, when Kiss first created a fan club called the Kiss Army, and I was in. When Kiss re-released their first three albums as The Originals, I bought my first box set. When Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over came out, I was a release day buyer and I saw them on the Destroyer tour. I was, in short, a big Kiss fan.

sidebar-2 I still listen to them once in a while, Alive, mostly, simply because it’s heads and shoulders above everything else they’ve done. They’re live DVD set, Kissology Volume 1 (1974-1977) sits in my home gym, getting the occasional play while I’m working out. Of the time, Kiss is a hungry, hard working band with some decent, pop oriented rock songs, performed by a group of serviceable musicians. they were, in short, a decent band. But a Hall of Fame band?

The Rock and Roll Hall of fame rules allow a group or artist to be inducted 25-years after the release of their first record. Kiss was then eligible in 1999. Fans of the band spent the next 15-years complaining that if anybody belonged in, Kiss did. Based on some of the selections that were made, they had a point. But the nominating committee was unmoved. “Kiss is a circus, not a top tier rock and roll act,” was the attitude. “Call us when your the latter.” This year, fans became eligible to vote and the Kiss Army got out the vote. Kiss then spent the time leading up to the induction proving the Rock-Hall right: they were a circus.

The vote for Kiss was so much higher than the next artist, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had no choice but to induct them. However, they caveated, original members only. “If that blogger from Hespeler doesn’t have an album with you on it in his basement,” Hall President Terry Stewart might have told Kiss’ publicity department, “you’re not in.” A quick check of my records and congratulation Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The rest of you? Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John and Bruce Kulick? so sorry; Eric Carr? A tragedy, but no. Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer? The band won’t let you go onstage as yourselves, so why should we? No, said the Hall, new rule: original members only.

Paul Stanley then spent the next month putting to rest any reputation he might have had as a nice guy. He would, to paraphrase an old George Carlin joke, play with guys who look like Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, but he would not be seen on stage with them. He detonated a devastating blow to irony meters around the world, complaining the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is some private, capitalist organization run by private individuals. (Kiss, on the other hand, apparently is all about their altruism and artistic integrity.)

And so, two weeks ago, The Originals stood on stage, thanked Bill Acoin, the other members, Neil Bogart and various others who helped Kiss through the years. Then they walked off stage, not a note of music to be played by any member of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band. By the time the E-Street Band had finished thanking half the population of the continental United States, and went onstage to play, the circus had left town.

The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod ,

  1. Bryan Senka
    April 27th, 2014 at 20:05 | #1

    Have you read Paul’s book? I just finished it, and I really wish I had not bothered. He really comes across as a bitter old man who blames everyone else for everything. He threw everyone under the bus, including Gene, Bill Aucoin, and Glickman/Marks. Everyone was out to get him, and he did everything himself.

    It’s really pathetic that he couldn’t have put all that crap aside for 10 minutes to play a couple of songs for the fans who supported them long enough to GET the HoF nomination.

  2. April 28th, 2014 at 15:38 | #2


    I haven’t read his book yet. The only one I’ve actually read is Ace’s, plus I read Nothin’ To Lose. That’s probably good enough for me, although I may get to Paul’s book eventually. It’s not high on my list right now though, and based on what you say of it, it may never get high on my list.

    Quick story for you though. I was in New York a couple of years ago and on my last day there I past a Barnes and Nobel’s on 5th avenue. Peter Criss was doing a book signing the next afternoon. I seriously thought about staying an extra day jet to meet Criss, but time didn’t really allow it. And actually, now that I think on it, Criss’ book is higher on my list than Stanley’s.

Comments are closed.